tagHow ToComic Captions

Comic Captions

byCal Y. Pygia©

One of the fun features of a competitor's website which shall remain nameless is its provision of photographs of beautiful women (supposedly transwomen) about which readers provide apt, but humorous, captions. (Alternatively, the figures in the photographs may be merely cross dressing.)

It's a fun exercise for readers and writers alike, and I have contributed several captions myself, which qualifies me, as much as anything, if not anyone, perhaps, to offer my recommendations to those who might want to pen some of their own captions to such pictures.

First, start with the basic situation. As I mentioned, for the feature about which I am writing, the basic situation, or premise, if you prefer, is that a man has been transformed into a beautiful woman and is now, therefore, a transwoman (or, alternatively, is a cross dresser). The transformed "woman" may be glad, sad, or mad about having undergone this change. (In some cases, the transformation has been effected by a magic potion, object, location, or invention.) Therefore, the caption must be appropriate to whichever premise applies.

Second, make sure that the caption fits the specific context of the individual photograph for which you are writing the caption. Consider the model. What is she doing? Think about any props that might be shown with her. Why are they present? Is she doing anything with them? If so, what and why? Are other models in the picture? If so, whom? Why are they present? Are they interacting with the transwoman? Are they reacting to her? Making a suggestion to her? Is one of them the "straight man" to her comedienne's role? What about the setting? Why was it selected? What does it suggest about the model or models and the situation that she or they are in? What (besides the model) stands out the most in the picture? What is most distinctive about the model? About the setting? About the props?

You might also ask the questions that journalists typically ask: Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?

Third, keep the captions short and snappy. (The website imposes a limit of three lines of text for each caption.)

Fourth, remember to be funny. Comic writers know and use a variety of techniques to make audiences or readers laugh. With practice, these same methods should work for you, too. Common devices include absurd situations, exaggeration, irony (dramatic, situational, and verbal), understatement, malapropisms, running gags, and sarcasm. There are many others. Learn them, practice them, and experiment with them.

Probably the best way to explain how to write comic captions is to give examples. Since I am writing about captions I've written for photographs on another website, obviously I can't reproduce the photographs in this essay except as verbal descriptions, so I will first describe the picture, that you may imagine it as best you can, and then I will provide the caption that I wrote for the picture (or, in this case, the description of the photograph). (Parenthetical comments after the captions are not themselves captions, but observations concerning the captions.)

Ready?

Here goes, then.

* * *

Description: An attractive young transwoman stands against the curtained window of a blank wall, near a bed; dressing, she has donned her bra, a panty girdle, and stockings, and she holds another garment in her hands, the one that she is about to put on.

Caption: I'm not sure why, but since my sex-change operation last year, it seems all I get for Christmas presents is lingerie, Tim thought. (This caption, although funny in itself, doesn't really relate to the setting, so it's not as good a fit as it could, and should, be. If the photo contained props, such as empty boxes and discarded gift-wrapping paper and bows, the caption would have been right on target.)

Description: An attractive redhead wearing glasses, a black blouse, and a beige corduroy skirt leans well forward over a desktop, a swivel receptionist's-style chair behind her. She types at a keyboard while looking up, toward the viewer.

Caption: This skirt looks better on me, now that I've completed my transition, than it looks on my wife! James thought. (again, the caption itself is humorous, but it doesn't relate specifically to the setting or the model's behavior, so the caption isn't as effective as it could, and should, be.)

Description: A man, kissing a transwoman, reaches his right arm down the front of her dress.

Caption: If he reaches any lower, my secret's not a secret anymore, James thought. (This caption is not only humorous, but it also relates specifically to the behavior of the male model and is, therefore, rhetorically effective as well.)

Description: A mature, petite redhead, standing in profile, lifts her blouse to show a rounded, protruding tummy.

Caption: "See?" Sam demanded. "I am pregnant, and I've started to show it!" (This caption is appropriate and, given the fact that, as a transwoman, the model is unable to conceive, to say nothing of bear, children, it is humorous as well.)

Description: A nubile brunette kneels on a couch, leaning over the back of the sofa. She is attired in a black corset and black fishnet stockings. Her attitude calls attention to her (covered) bottom, most of her thighs, and one of her red high heeled shoes.

Caption: "What do you think, Darrin?" Steve asked. "Does this outfit make me look fat?" (Building upon a comedy cliché wherein it is dangerous for a man to answer such a question as the one that this model poses, this caption effectively makes a jump between the familiar and the unusual, but it also works because, in feasting his eyes upon a feminine rear end and naked thighs, no man is going to be considering whether such brief attire as a corset, panties, and stockings makes a woman--or transwoman--"look fat.")

Description: A redhead wearing a lacy top peers down her front, which is out of frame from the waist down. A portion of her right thigh, raised, is visible, showing that she is wearing white stockings.

Caption: Now, except for a few details, I look like a proper lady, Danny thought. (The "details" are, of course, her male genitals, a joke inspired by Dil's reference to her own penis and testicles, in The Crying Game, as "details.")

Description: A beautiful bride, wearing only a veil (pulled back and away from her face), a white corset, white panties, and white stockings, is seated upon a huge bed fitted with golden sheets.

Caption: So THAT's why they played "Here Comes the Bride" at my wedding, Tim thought. (This caption's reference may seem a bit of a reach for some readers; for others, it may be unintelligible. Although amusing, it should probably be discarded in favor of another, more directly related caption.)

Description: A bikini-clad damsel peers over the open hood of a sleek, powerful sports car, presumably at its driver.

Caption: Oh! Horsepower! I thought you said "whorepower." (She is probably a prostitute who'd intended to proposition the car's driver who, she mistakenly believes, is interested in the company of a woman of her calling--but will most of the magazine's audience know or suspect this? If not, the caption should be rejected and a better one be used. If sdo, the caption is good as it is written)

Description: A tall, slender young woman stands next to a shorter, but equally slender and attractive, young transwoman; both are sipping canned beverages.

Caption: "Don't worry! Drinking Femme-ennizer won't turn you into a girl," Ben told Dan. "It's just a soda, so drink up!" (The humor results from the characters' unawareness of the drink's effect or their vain attempt to deny the effect.)

Description: Same as above: A tall, slender young woman stands next to a shorter, but equally slender and attractive, young transwoman; both are sipping canned beverages.

Caption: "I'd say the Femme Fatale hormone drinks are working just fine, wouldn't you, Dave?" Tom asked. (This alternative caption seems to be more directly related to the model's behavior, and it is still amusing, so it should be chosen over the alternative caption.)

Description: A close-up of an attractive brunette in a blue bikini top, the palm, of her raised left hand against the top of her skull.

Caption: The first time I turned a boy's head with my bikini, it went to my head, but it happens all the time now that I've changed my sex.

Description: Same as the one above: A close-up of an attractive brunette in a blue bikini top, the palm, of her raised left hand against the top of her skull.

Caption: I never should have worn my sister's bikini; now, I'm a chick with a dick!" (The connection between the bikini and the model's newly acquired transgender status might be too vague if the feature weren't, in part and at times, based upon the premise that certain persons, places, and things have the magical power or the technological capability of transforming men into women; since the feature is predicated upon this possibility, this caption works.)

Description: Two brunettes wearing white bikini tops which they are about to unhook stand chest to chest in a pool, the water at chest level.

Caption: "You show me yours and I'll show you mine" had sounded good, Bill thought, before he and Evelyn had stepped into Lake Tranny. (Obviously, this caption implies a preference for heterosexuality over lesbianism. However, the couple's preference is inconsequential, given Bill's transgender status. The caption, funny in this context, may be a sly dig at homophobia.)

Description: A buxom blonde with lifted sweater points to the enormous cleavage barely contained within the bra she's revealed.

Caption: "What's the point of changing my sex? This is the point!"

Description: A slender young mom bottle-feeds her newborn son, whom she cradles in her arm.

Caption: " I looked just like you, too, Willy, when I was born, but that was before I was old enough to change my sex, so don't worry; there's hope for you, too!" (At approximately 30 words, this is about the maximum length that the website allows for a caption. The caption is perfect for the situation that is depicted in the photograph.)

Description: A blonde in a full, frilly white dress reaches behind her back to fasten its clasp.

Caption: Maybe if I had cleavage here, too, my boyfriend would help me fasten this gown, Bob thought, trying on his new dress.

* * *

Want to try your hand (or wits) at writing a few comic captions of your own? If so, here are descriptions of other pictures that were featured among those I've already described. Feel free to caption them:

Description: A slender, attractive woman wearing a French maid's uniform stands in the doorway of a lavish mansion, her wrists bound behind her and a gag in her mouth.

Caption:

Description: A mature, but sexy, brunette, seated sideways in the back of a posh limousine, shows a lot of leg as she addresses her companion, who is not shown except for a portion of her left thigh and forearm--enough to suggest that she is similarly attired.

Caption:

Description: A blonde in a white blouse sits behind a desk, the forefinger of her right hand pointing to something on a sheet of paper before her; there is a white telephone on the desktop, too, and a landscape painting on the wall, suggesting an office environment. Across from her, on the other side of the desk, a man in dress slacks and a sports coat is seated with one knee crossed over the other, casual, as if he is consulting the blonde about a business matter of some kind. She looks attentive and professional.

Caption:

Description: A brunette, invisible but for her head and shoulders holds up a pink bra or bikini top, smiling shyly. A field of tall grass conceals the rest of her from view.

Caption:

Description: A brunette peeks above a wall or what could be the side of a boat. Her long hair is wet, and she looks uncertain.

Caption:

* * *

For any who might be curious, here are my own captions to these photographs, in the same order in which the pictures were described, above:

Description: A slender, attractive woman wearing a French maid's uniform stands in the doorway of a lavish mansion, her wrists bound behind her and a gag in her mouth.

Caption: The lady of the house didn't mention bondage--or cross dressing--as part of my duties when she hired me to be her maid! Tim thought.

Description: A mature, but sexy, brunette, seated sideways in the back of a posh limousine, shows a lot of leg as she addresses her companion, who is not shown except for a portion of her left thigh and forearm--enough to suggest that she is similarly attired.

Caption: I could get used to being a beautiful woman, if this is what it's like, Johnny thought, after he tried cross dressing.

Description: A blonde in a white blouse sits behind a desk, the forefinger of her right hand pointing to something on a sheet of paper before her; there is a white telephone on the desktop, too, and a landscape painting on the wall, suggesting an office environment. Across from her, on the other side of the desk, a man in dress slacks and a sports coat is seated with one knee crossed over the other, casual, as if he is consulting the blonde about a business matter of some kind. She looks attentive and professional.

Caption: "Yes, sir, your insurance covers breast implants. When do you want to schedule the procedure?"

Description: A brunette, invisible but for her head and shoulders holds up a pink bra or bikini top, smiling shyly. A field of tall grass conceals the rest of her from view.

Caption: "Thanks for loaning me the bikini," Bruce said. "I didn't need a top before I came to Transformation Beach!"

Description: A brunette peeks above a wall or what could be the side of a boat. Her long hair is wet, and she looks uncertain.

Caption: "Come out, come out, wherever you are" is easy for my brother to say, Tim thought; he wasn't turned into a girl like I was! (This caption relies on the reader's acquaintance with the game of hide-and-seek, but it also turns upon a play on words, or a pun, with "come out" an allusion to "coming out," or openly identifying oneself as being a homosexual--in this case, a lesbian. For readers who "get it," this caption is, thus, doubly amusing.)

How well or poorly did I (or you) do in devising comic captions for these situations? That's for the reader to decide, but it's fun, in any case, to try one's hand (and wits) at writing appropriate, but amusing comic captions.

Give it a try!

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byCal Y. Pygia© 0 comments/ 18342 views/ 1 favorites

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