Over at comic-cum-manga blog, Sunday Comics Debt, is a fascinating essay that deals with the differences between thought bubbles in comics and manga. The author theorizes that manga series tend to be more experimentive, and perhaps, more immersive, due to the way editors approach thought bubbles in the medium.
Here’s an excerpt:
One other thing that separates Manga from Western comics is their willingness to be experimentive with their word balloons. It’s not unusual for a word balloon to take up half a panel, only, rather than take the room above, they move it to the side so that the character’s cool hair isn’t obscured. Another popular option is to make the balloon partly transparent so that there’s a faint outline of a balloon within the character’s body. With Western comics, the preferred usage is having the balloon over the character’s head. (Newspaper comics might be to blame for this)
The entire piece, along with its equally interesting predecessor, makes for some insightful and fun weekend reading, so be sure to give it a read if you like drawing comparisons between different kinds of print media