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What do you call the pointy parts of a text bubble that's not the tail? Here, in the image, we see three pointy things protruding out of the text bubble on the four "sides" of some of the text bubbles, is there a particular name for them? I know the other pointy part is called the tail, but I am wondering what the three pointy things on all four "sides" are called.

  • 3
    FWIW the terms "speech bubble"/"thought bubble" are pretty standard ("text bubble" seems fine, too), but I don't think there's much agreement among laypeople about what to call any subpart of them. Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 18:11
  • 1
    Not sure what they're called, but the obvious implication is that someone is talking over a radio connection (or equivalent). The 2nd panel in particular is unusual as there's one spikey bubble without a tail and one with, since we're seeing the ship from the outside, and that the pilot in panels 1 and 3 is the one talking over a radio in that instance, while the ones without a tail are from someone "off-screen" as it were. Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 13:40
  • (for subtitles) "What is used to indicate a voice over? Simply use parentheses next to the character name and write “(V.O.)”" or, I've seen just brackets - but it's a comic with unlimited font potential, so you can use a VO bubble, the kind with pointy things, w/e you call them doesn't matter; important part is what it indicates : "voices not directly connected to the people seen on the screen".
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 21:42
  • IIRC, the extra bits are in general typographically classified as "decoration". Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 11:32

3 Answers 3


I would use the word "spike". (And in this particular case triple spike.)

Here are some links:

Metal speech bubble with spikes

Wooden speech bubble with spikes

Google Images search result

  • 2
    +1 because the edit history shows you were the first to mention spike and triple spike in their answer, and I'm upvoting that.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 24, 2022 at 17:06

It represents the radio transmission of someone talking to the character using spikes, in this case a triple spike. Usually it is for announcements or sound effects. I don't think there is an official name for the one you have shown, but it is close to other examples.

enter image description here



As a direct description of their appearance I agree with @PPH, however as @DialFrost points out, there are other levels of understanding.

An artist is likely to refer to any changes (and just the changes) to the standard speech bubble as "Decorations", and any consistent set of decorations as a "Style".

The writer might additionally refer to individual styles as "Indicators" or "Modes", but it's more common for the artist to simply read "character X yells help" and apply the yell style, which consists of the three spikes decoration, with the text help, with the tail pointing to character x.

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