Liz Climo

In snail mail from Chris Ambidge on Thursday, a print of this cartoon by Liz Climo:


To get this cartoon, you need to know a good bit about the children’s book Charlotte’s Web — and then to appreciate how that sweet story is subverted by the taboo word asshole.

Climo — who says on her website, ”I can draw, sort of”, and works by day as a storyboarder on The Simpsons — specializes in cute animals, drawn affectionately, but in absurd or pointed situations; there’s always some zing.

Taboo vocabulary is one kind of zing; the mildly rude crap and damn are common, but stronger stuff happens too: asshole, as above, and shit, as here —


(Many of her strips are two-panel numbers, like this one.)

Then there’s one with a pun on bitch:


Puns come up fairly often. A straightforward one on chillin’ (chilling), understood as literal, having to do with temperature, or as slang — with a penguin!


A straightforward pun involving the idiom on the lam and the animal name lamb:


And a subtler one involving the interpretation of the possessive:


That’s in sheep’s clothing ‘dressed as a sheep’ or ‘wearing clothing belonging to a sheep’. As for Ed Hardy:

Don Ed Hardy is an American artist raised in Southern California. Hardy is best known for his tattoo work and his eponymous apparel and accessories brand Ed Hardy. (link)

Two recurrent Climo themes that are not particularly language-related: parent-child relations and absurd costumes and disguises. Anteaters in the first category:


A panda killer whale (panda-orca, or pandorca) and a beaver-platypus in the second category:



Panda ears can do wonders for an orca.


I suppose this is a coming-out cartoon. (I would have captioned it, “There’s something I have to tell you” or possibly “There’s something you should know”.)


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