Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Comic Book Exclamations

Writing a Facebook note the other day I searched my memory for an exclamation to express excitement and came up with Yoicks! The word came to me out of nowhere, unannounced. I couldn't recall ever using it nor when we might first have made each other's acquaintance. I thought I'd possibly seen it in comic books of my youth but a couple of Google searches drew a blank in that area (as it turns out this was partly because I used Yoiks instead of Yoicks). Then today I saw the word in a long scene within the first of the Palliser novels, which is my current recreational read. In it Trollope is describing a fox hunt and he has a character bellow "Yoicks, tally; gone away!" at an inopertune moment. It's an inopertune moment only because offensive to the imperious master of hounds, who responds "Do you suppose I don't know where the fox is?" This turns out to be a major put down. The DNB says the word isn't much older than the end of the 18th-c. ("The bold Fox-hunter, just come up to town, From ‘Yoicks, hark forward’, loves to seem a clown.") Altogether, except for the humor Trollope puts into it, the word and its context are unpleasantly John Bull bombastic: fox hunting is not an Austinesque country pursuit.

So, instead of Yoicks! I choose to write about comic curses and exclamations.

First Captain Haddock, so politically incorrect that his utterances have been deleted from Wikipedia:

Wikipedia aside, the internet provides lots of reveling in the excesses of Haddockian utterance. For example:
- Favorite Curses of Captain Haddock
- Favorite Curses, Visitor Contributions
- Speaking of curses and insults, watch out! Here comes Captain Haddock
- Captain Haddock's Curses
- Exclamations used by Tintin's Captain Haddock
- Captain Haddock's Insults
- Insultes à français

Not curses, but infuriating to the man, were Bianca Castafiore's many manglings of his name: Castafiore Can't Say Haddock!


After Yoicks! and before coming upon the delicious exploration of Haddock-exuberance, I found these other things:
- Archaic Exclamations
- Oddest Comic Book Exclamations! and
- The Comicraft Glossary of Lettering Terms

The latter of which contains some nice examples:

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