Balloon dogs and Mr. Met

Two cartoons not really about language, but mostly about cartoon conventions (a Bizarro) and art (a Zippy):

The Bizarro is a wordless cartoon (though it has one sound effect) featuring a clown and his pet balloon dog:


The clown has found his own way of cleaning up after his dog. (You probably weren’t expecting a poop joke on the funny pages.)

(Earlier: a Sam Gross wordless gag cartoon (of 1/28/10) with a clown and his balloon dog.)

On to Zippy, a cartoon that indulges in art criticism every so often. Here’s Zippy contending with the character Mr. Met, who asks Zippy the bizarre question which is Zippy’s favorite, Vermeer or Picasso?


(Mr. Met is essentially a walking baseball — who’s seriously into art. Well, representational art; no Kandinsky, Pollock, etc. He’s a cross between the Mets baseball team and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; this gives us the title of the cartoon: “Painting [art] the plate [home plate — baseball]”.)

In any case, Vermeer and Picasso are so different in both subject matter and style that it’s preposterous to imagine comparing them directly (though you might that find one or the other especially appeals to you, on their own; my grand-daughter is fond of Vermeer, for instance).

In the final panel, a third representational artist (very different from the other two) appears: Reginald Marsh, whose name has come up on this blog several times. (I hope to post soon on a fourth, very different again in both subject and style: Peter Paul Rubens.) From Wikipedia:

Reginald Marsh (March 14, 1898 – July 3, 1954) was an American painter, born in Paris, most notable for his depictions of life in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. Crowded Coney Island beach scenes, popular entertainments such as vaudeville and burlesque, women, and jobless men on the Bowery are subjects that reappear throughout his work. He painted in egg tempera and in oils, and produced many watercolors, ink and ink wash drawings, and prints.

(I’m particularly taken by Marsh’s line drawings illustrating the three volumes of John Dos Passos’s novel U.S.A.)

A Marsh, The Battery, ca. 1926:


As usual for a Zippy, there are other bits of play in the strip: in panel 1, nervous breakdance / nervous breakdown; and in panel 3, Yogi Bear (the cartoon character) / Yogi Berra (the famously misspoken baseball player who lent his name to the cartoon character).

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