B.C. portmanteau

From Victor Steinbok, this B.C. cartoon (from 4/16/13) by Johnny Hart:

This is intended to be a portmanteau both verbally and visually. Verbally, Mercedes-Benz overlapping with benzene. Visually, a combination of the symbol for the Mercedes-Benz company and a simplified version of the carbon ring structure for benzene.

The two symbols:

From the first, the cartoon takes the three-pointed star; from the second, a simplified version of the carbon hexagon in the ring structure.

On the company:

Mercedes-Benz … is a multinational division of the German manufacturer Daimler AG, and the brand is used for luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is headquartered in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz but traces its origins to Daimler’s 1901 Mercedes and to Karl Benz’s 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first automobile. (link)

On Kekulé’s carbon ring for benzene, see this Wikipedia entry, which gives both the more complex version above and the extremely simplified version used in the cartoon.

(I’m not sure what the alcohol diagram is doing in the cartoon.)

On the comic strip:

B.C. is a daily American comic strip created by cartoonist Johnny Hart. Set in prehistoric times, it features a group of cavemen and anthropomorphic animals from various geologic eras. B.C. made its newspaper debut on February 17, 1958, and was among the longest-running strips still written and drawn by its original creator when Hart died at his drawing board in Nineveh, New York on April 7, 2007.

Now, the strip is produced by Hart’s grandsons Mason Mastroianni (head writer and cartoonist) and Mick Mastroianni (writer for both B.C. and Hart’s other creation, The Wizard of Id), and Hart’s daughter Perri (letterer and colorist). (link)


One Response to “B.C. portmanteau”

  1. Chris Says:

    the visual pun is much stronger with the delocalised Kekule structure – bottom of these three – which is what the cartoonist has drawn. The Kekule structure (there are actually two, the other having the double and single bonds in the ring reversed) does not obviously give the delocalised ring to non-chemist readers.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Benzene_resonance_structures.png (Kekule structures top, delocalised benzene at bottom)

    The alcohol drawn is furfuryl alcohol (an alcohol based on furan, the five-membered ring). I suspect it’s there to set up the conventional joke structure of three – two similar, third also similar, but with a comic twist.

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