Cartoons are a unique combination of words and pictures. Comic historian R.C. Harvey uses the term "visual-verbal blending" to describe how this works and often judges the success of a strip on how effective it is done.
On rare ocassion we come up with an idea than can be done without any text at all. This is very difficult to do and cartoonists often feel a sense of pride when they accomplish it. There are, of course, what are called "pantomime strips" which almost never use words. Otto Soglow's Little King, Carl Anderson's Henry and Mark Tatulli's Lio are examples of this genre.
The Sunday page above has no dialogue. The idea was to contrast the look of the living room after Lois finishes cleaning it with how it looks after the kids have messed it up. The other panels set up and provide transitions between these two scenes. Chance did a great job drawing the lamps and blinds askew and adding clutter to the final panel.
Here is a classic daily strip from the 1960s that is also wordless.
The Sunday page below has no dialogue in the bottom two tiers. On the top row are "drop panels" which newspapers have the option to eliminate.
We hope you enjoyed seeing these wordless panels from our archives.
– Brian Walker