I have been through brief periods when I experimented with dialog not within a “balloon,” as in today’s classic strip. Garry Trudeau pioneered this technique with Doonesbury, and many cartoonists followed suit, most noticeably Berkeley Breathed with Bloom County. I guess I’m a traditionalist, though, or obsessive/compulsive. I feel most comfortable enclosing most of the dialog in Arlo and Janis in old-fashion balloons, although they can be a pain to draw. Those of you with your own OCD issues may have noticed that I still do leave off the balloon if I’m drawing a “talking-head” panel, a close-up of one of the characters speaking. A balloon just seems superfluous in that situation.