The cartoon fight cloud, externally, may serve as a useful tool for masking fantasy violence from the viewers of a cartoon or comic. However, internally, it is far more. Let's take a look inside the fascinating physics and behavior of the fight cloud...
The fight cloud, Cumulus Altercatus, is formed when the energy released in the form of sound waves and air movements around a vigorous cartoon fight cause minute particulates in the atmosphere to diffuse light, making the participants in the fight mostly invisible. It seems that if an extremely large amount of energy is being released within, a set of lines which vaguely resemble the rings of Saturn or the paths of orbiting electrons around an atom may be superimposed over the cloud matter. The exact causes of this phenomenon are not yet known.
is completely opaque
when viewed from outside. However, limited visibility
of the outside world is offered through the boundaries of the cloud's microclimate
Inhalation of the precipitate which forms the cloud causes an immediate hostile mood to wash over the mind of anyone trapped inside the fight cloud. If there is only one person remaining in the fight cloud and the fight has not yet completed, they will apparently fight with themselves, continuing to supply the activation energy needed to keep the cloud from dispersing.
Unusual Physical Properties
The fight cloud is capable of behaving both as a solid and a fluid. When the fight cloud is behaving as a fluid, the heads, arms, and feet of the fight's participants will occasionally protrude. A fist can sometimes be seen punching out of, and then back into, the cloud. However, the cloud can also behave as an impenetrable chamber, trapping its inhabitants in combat until the usually silly end.
If a fighter chooses to leave while the fight is still progressing, they may attempt to leave through the wall of the cloud, provided that it is still behaving as a fluid. To the casual viewer, the cloud appears completely opaque. However, from inside, any other fighter can detect their escape, reach out, and pull them back in. Once someone's escape has been foiled this way, the cloud usually turns into its solid state. It can change shape or size, but will not allow anyone to escape until the fight is complete.
Fight clouds are also equipped with a zipper, much like that on a tent's flap. If this is opened, any character inside can easily offer commentary to the viewer, or bring additional characters into the fight. Upon the closing of this zipper, though, the cloud usually switches to its solid state.
Quite possibly the greatest place to observe the Cumulus Altercatus is in nearly any episode of the Heathcliff cartoon series, however, you won't have to look far to spot a fight cloud in most other common cartoons.