Thursday, September 13, 2007

Italics Part 2

A spirited side discussion has sprouted over the italicizing (or not, as I remember!) of newspaper comic-strip names. Italicizing Peanuts or Garfield or Prince Valiant or Mary Worth makes sense—these are like the titles of television shows, unfolding episode by episode, or (more to the point) comic book series—X-Men, Richie Rich, and of course Spider-Man. (What to do about Spider-Man/Spider-Man? Should the newspaper comic be rom, the bound comic be ital'd?)

Counterargument: The names of columns—like my S.F. column Astral Weeks—are generally not italicized (nor are they set in quotes). "Did you read this week's Ethicist?" (While it wouldn't look bad to set "Ethicist" in quotes, I don't think anyone would suggest setting it in itals.) (The roman, no quotes style extends to names of newspaper sections—"Could you pass me the Sunday Styles?")

So—I would say that comics are at least as similar to columns as they are to television shows.

A friend disagrees: "One involves characters and plots (even if the plots are a rudimentary three-panel gag), which makes it a narrative format, which columns generally are not, but which novels and TV sitcoms and dramas are."

This is certainly true. (And I'll consider one-panel gags to have characters/plot, though this is a bit trickier perhaps with something like The Far Side, which had no continuing characters.)

But what do you do with something like Slylock Fox or that science-oriented feature whose name escapes me, which appear on the comics page but are more like a bunch of facts, quizzes, games? Ital or roman?

If you ital Slylock Fox, do you then ital the Wonderword word-find puzzle, or Jumble? (Or Let's Sew, the sewing-pattern featurette? Maybe no papers carry this anymore...but remember, I was born in 1882.) It's a slippery slope.

* * *

Which brings us to: What's the style for games?

5 Comments:

Blogger Levi said...

One of my smart and capable colleagues cites the Chicago Manual of Style, section 8.207, in support of italicizing the names of comic strips.

As for games, hoo boy. Video games definitely. Board games, no?

5:14 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Games: Video games, yes. Board games and traditional games, no (like go, chess, mumblety-peg, etc.). However--I recently wrote something for a video game magazine and the editors decided to italicize Monopoly...so maybe there isn't a standard?

6:01 PM  
Blogger Carol Baldwin said...

found your blog as I was trying to figure this issue out. What did you decide. Italicize Clue and Pick Up Sticks, or not?

3:17 PM  
Blogger Ed Park said...

I side with Ed (the Other Ed) as to board & traditional games. And I've seen videogames italicized frequently, e.g., in Tom Bissell's book EXTRA LIVES. (And there I did a book title in all caps because I don't know how to do itals in comments!)

5:39 PM  
Blogger Carol Baldwin said...

thanks. this should be simpler!

8:46 PM  

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