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Leith on language: Whaam! Bam! Thanks Batman!

"Here, I thought, is a whole subcategory of vocabulary"

By Sam Leith   May 2017

It occurred to me the other day—being, as I am, a semi-retired comic book nerd of a certain age and a nostalgic bent—to wonder about cartoon strip sound effects. Here, I thought, is a whole subcategory of vocabulary that lives on the page in this isolated little world, but that has quietly insinuated itself into the wider culture. The locus classicus for it, I suppose, is Roy Lichtenstein’s Whaam!. In that painting you can see the moment that the comic book sound effect—with its…

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