A composite, please, doctor!

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, another exercise in cartoon understanding:

(#1) The doctor offers a made-to-order suspect to fit the eyewitness descriptions (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

If you don’t  recognize (Gene Wilder’s) Victor Frankenstein and (Marty Feldman’s) Igor here, the whole thing is baffling. (I imagine that the cartoonists figured that Young Frankenstein was something like a core piece of American pop culture, a cultural object that everyone would recognize, needing no further cues or clues to understanding.)

Meanwhile, the comedic premise is a goofy one, that instead of getting a police artist to create a composite drawing of the suspect from eyewitness descriptions, the policeman is soliciting a consummate resurrectionist — a body snatcher who uses body parts to resurrect a composite person, who will serve as a kind of working model of a suspect.

The more you work through the implications of this, the more disturbing it gets: you end up with a malefactor still loose plus a ghastly simulacrum of the malefactor whose only function is to aid in the capture of the malefactor; when the simulacrum has served its purpose, is it just discarded, crumpled up like a drawing after it’s been used, or will it now roam the streets? (It is, after all, innocent of the malefactor’s crimes and has its own mental life, unrelated to the malefactor’s.)

Better just to accept the goofiness, and not to inquire further.

The visuals. Compare the Victor in #1 with his counterpart in the Bizarro from my 1/20/23 posting “Adventures in cartoon understanding: Victor alignment”:

(#2) Reproducing Dr. Victor Frankensten’s deranged-joy It’s alive! scene from Mel Brooks’s 1974 comedy Young Frankenstein — joy at his having cobbled together, in his laboratory, a living human being of sorts, a monstrous (but sentient) composite

Wayno’s title. “Forensic monsterology”, an allusion to some or all of forensic pathology, forensic anthropology, and forensic psychology. From NOAD:

adj. forensic: relating to or denoting the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime

So forensic monsterology would be the study of monsters by the application of such methods and techniques to the investigation of crime. Not quite what’s presented in #1 — which is, roughly, monster forensics: the use of monsters to investigate crime.

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