A fantasy exercise in cartoon understanding

In the latest (11/26/18) New Yorker, this Ali Solomon cartoon presents a test in cartoon understanding:

(#1) “Oh yes. Definitely a forgery. Hope it didn’t cost you much.”

If you recognize the loin-clothed hunkering figure with the big eyes, you’ll understand what’s happening in the cartoon and why it’s funny. Otherwise, it’s just baffling.

The shop sign says WE BUY GOLD, and we see an assayer examining a ring — and declaring it to be a forgery. So what?

If you recognize the hunkerer, you know that it’s a really big deal for him. He believed he had the One Ring:

(#1) The One Ring

(#2) The Ring verse

The hunkerer is Gollum — in fact, not just any portrayal of Gollum, but the specific one from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films:

(#3 ) The Andy Serkis Gollum

Gollum is a fictional character from J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium. He was introduced in the 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, and became an important supporting character in its sequel, The Lord of the Rings. Gollum was a Stoor Hobbit of the River-folk, who lived near the Gladden Fields. Originally known as Sméagol, he was corrupted by the One Ring and later named Gollum after his habit of making “a horrible swallowing noise in his throat”

… In Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Gollum is a CGI character voiced and performed by actor Andy Serkis. He is smaller than both Frodo and Sam. Barely glimpsed in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), he becomes a central character in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The CGI character was built around Serkis’ facial features, voice, and acting choices. Serkis based the iconic “gollum” throat noise on the sound of his cat coughing up hairballs. Using a digital puppet …, animators created Gollum’s performance using a mixture of motion capture data recorded from Serkis and the traditional animation process …, along with the laborious process of digitally rotoscoping Serkis’ image and replacing it with the digital Gollum’s … As in the animated depictions of the character, Gollum is shown as virtually naked save for a loincloth in the trilogy. (Wikipedia link)

And now about the artist. From the HuffPo site:

Ali Solomon: Cartoonist-to-the-Stars … is an art teacher and cartoonist who lives in NYC with her husband and two wee daughters. She illustrates for Harper Collins, NickMom, and numerous parenting sites. You can read more of her nonsense on http://wiggleroomblog.com/and @AliCoaster.

From Michael Maslin’s Ink Spill column on 11/19:

Also of note in the issue: the debut appearance of Ali Solomon. Ms. Soloman is the 10th new cartoonist introduced this year, and the 22nd new cartoonist introduced since Emma Allen became the New Yorker‘s cartoon editor in the Spring of 2017.

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