Autumn, Halloween, and Death

Offered to me recently, from different sources, two cartoons on the season and death (or Death, the Grim Reaper). Two cartoonists new to this blog, as well.

Passed on by Juan Gomez, the 10/15 Take It From The Tinkersons, by Bill Bettwy:


And from several Facebook posters, this direct confrontation with the Reaper in a Jim Benton cartoon:


Bettwy. From the Tinkersons site:

Bill Bettwy’s Take It From The Tinkersons is a timely comic strip about the hopes and dreams of a modern family, working together to keep their heads above today’s choppy economic waters. Ted and Tiff Tinkerson are a happily married couple with two children: A charmingly naive son, Tillman, and a moody tween daughter, Tweetie. And you can’t leave out Tubby, their overweight but lovable dog.

Nothing comes easily in life, especially for the Tinkersons. Despite Tiff’s financial concerns, Ted’s unrealized ambitions, Tillman’s aversion to school work and Tweetie’s hourly mood swings, the Tinkersons know in their hearts what truly matters: in the rat race of life, family comes first.

It’s a sweet strip, focused on relationships. The example in #1 has more of an edge to it than most of Bettwy’s work. Autumn is upon us; Halloween (All Saints’ Eve), along with the Day of the Dead, is coming; then comes the dying of the year.

On the Day of the Dead, from Wikipedia:

Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and acknowledged around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.

… It is particularly celebrated in Mexico where the day is a public holiday. Prior to Spanish colonization in the 16th century, the celebration took place at the beginning of summer. It was moved to October 31, November 1 and November 2 to coincide with the Roman Catholic triduum festival of Allhallowtide: All Saints’ Eve [Halloween], All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day.

Figures of the occasion:


La Catrina: In Mexican folk culture, the Catarina, popularized by José Guadalupe Posada, is the skeleton of a high society woman and one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. (The height of these Catrinas is about 15 in.) (Picture at the Museo de la Ciudad, Leon, Guanajuato.)

About the cartoonist Bettwy: According to the Altoona (PA) Mirror (“Local cartoonist to debut strip” by Kelly Cernetich on 3/31/13), Bettwy moved (On April Fool’s Day of 2013) to syndication by King Features.

Benton. The cartoon in #2 came to me originally in a cropped version with the cartoonist’s name excised, but I tracked the thing down. Jim Benton has been a prolific cartoonist for some time. There’s the 1993 book of cartoons Dealing with the Idiots in Your Life, and more recently, a 2014 book of webcomics Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. The publisher’s laudatory blurb (on for that book:

Bestselling cartoonist Jim Benton of It’s Happy Bunny and Dear Dumb Diary fame [also Franny K. Stein and So Totally True] has also been posting whimsical, dry-humored, and at-times nasty cartoons on, where more than a third of the top-100 cartoons on the “Cartoons” subreddit are his. Now, for the first time, these cartoons have been gathered into a single book. From wry observations about the absurdities of life and acerbic comments to poetic musings, from cats and dogs to humans, and from one style to another, this compendium will astound readers as it exposes them to the breadth of Benton’s seemingly inexhaustible talent for humor.

His work can be definitely hard-edged at times.

He has his own website (for J.K. Benton Design Studio and Benton Arts), and his work is now carried by GoComics.

An extra. Mark Parisi has published a cartoon similar in spirit to #2. I can’t show it to you, because I’m not willing to pay for material posted on this blog (which Parisi’s lawyers insist on). But I can quote the text, in which the Grim Reaper says to a homeowner expecting trick-or-treaters, “I’ve come for your soul! There is nothing you can … Ooo, is that chocolate?”

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