The sound of fat guys breaking windows

When a lithe, muscular, bald-pated outer-space super-powered individual goes through a pane of glass, it sounds like this:


But when a fat guy goes through an almost identical pane of glass in the very same comic, it sounds like this:


I am sure some fancy-pants acoustic engineer will saunter in here and make some mathematical arguments about sound waves and refractions through different cell types and whatnot, but at the end of the day I think we can all agree that what we need to settle this controversy once and for all is to throw more guys through windows.

5 Responses to The sound of fat guys breaking windows

  1. Avatar EnderX says:

    I’m not sure you need all of the mathematics, just a bit of logic and common sense.

    The physical condition of the first guy is, surprisingly, not necessarily relevant to the discussion. From the given pose alone, I can think of about five different ways he could be hitting the glass. (Having not seen the comic this is drawn from, I cannot vouch for which of these options, if any, it is.) In each of these hypothetical situations, only a smallish portion of the individual’s body is making contact with the pane – the glass is allowed to vibrate wildly at every point (other than the actual point of contact) up to the edge of the frame holding it. Hence, the sound gets a chance to build during the instant before the impact crosses the ‘shatter’ threshold. As this finally happens, and all edges begin to vibrate as well, the full-fledged ‘CRASH’ sound occurs.

    The second guy, on the other hand, appears to have hit the glass with a much larger portion of his body – at the very least, the full shoulder. His body tone and physical condition are important, as they directly affect the available surface area for the moment of contact.* Due to this increased surface area (which, hitting a solid object, will briefly attempt to spread out before reaching the critical threshold), a larger portion of the window is damped by contact; there is less of it free to vibrate, thus producing the ‘KREESH’ sound effect (a somewhat muted version of the other effect).

    Please note that this is based on logic. I have no guarantee that the mathematics you were expecting will verify my speculations.

    *Also, it should be noted, because his jacket is not closed, it is possible it acted as a dampening surface in addition to the simple ‘general surface area’ option. The material appears to be bunched up somewhat around the shoulder, thus permitting an area where even non-contacting surfaces can be damped down before the pressure waves can flow across the surface.

  2. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    You had me at “logic”.

  3. Avatar DJ says:

    I do believe my head just exploded. A tad bit.

  4. Avatar John says:

    from a draftsmanship perspective, there are so many things that are wrong with that fat guy panel, it boggles the mind. Perhaps the fat guy makes a different sound because the penciler chose to draw him a reality completely unrelated to the laws of physics and perspective that govern our world.

    Or, maybe the penciler just sucks. The simpler answer is usually better…!

  5. Avatar Frankie says:

    The fat guy doesn’t look american, maybe his sound effects have an accent.