Three cartoon approaches to the eve of the Day of the Dead

Three that have come to me today:  in today’s comics feed, a Wayno / Piraro Bizarro showing a young René Magritte trick-or-treating; on Facebook, passed on by Robert Poletto for Halloween, an Edward Gorey 1973 skull-tossing watercolor with the sly title A Dull Afternoon; and also on FB, reposted by Jeff Bowles for Halloween, an old Charles Schulz Peanuts cartoon in which Linus enthusiastically reconceptualizes the eve of the Day of the Dead as a version of Christmas Eve.

The Bizarro. Wayno’s title: “Small Surrealist”.

(#1) Taking off from a 1929 original, a painting La Trahison des images (The Betrayal / Treachery of Images) of a (tobacco) pipe, captioned Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe) (if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

There’s a Page on this blog on my (many) postings about Magrittean disavowals, with numerous take-offs on Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

The Gorey.

(#2) Showing three women tossing a skull — like, they have nothing better to do with their day than skull-tossing

Gorey, the artist of the antic macabre, also gave us The Gashleycrumb Tinies: A Very Gorey Alphabet Book (“B is for Basil, assaulted by bears”).

The Peanuts.

(#3) Linus spins out his Great Pumpkin theory to a deeply dubious Marcie

Marcie understands that Linus is in the grip of a delusion and that, cruelly, the Great Pumpkin and his great load of toys will never materialize.


3 Responses to “Three cartoon approaches to the eve of the Day of the Dead”

  1. John Baker Says:

    I have never quite known what to make of the Peanuts strip of November 1, 1961,, where Charlie Brown tells Linus, “You missed the Great Pumpkin! It just came over the radio. . He appeared in a very sincere pumpkin patch owned by someone named Freeman in New Jersey!”

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    I’d forgotten that one, but, yes, it’s puzzling. It sounds like CB is being (uncharacteristically) mean and mocking to Linus (clearly, it’s an invention; there would have been no radio report). But “sincere pumpkin patch”? And then “someone named Freeman in New Jersey” sounds like an in-joke (or, of course, random invention; did Schulz think that New Jersey was intrinsically funny, or that Freeman was a silly name?).

    Ah, a partial ray of light: the 10/30/38 radio broadcast of Orson Welles’s Mercury Theatre on the Air, the Halloween program, with an unknown object (turning out to be an alien spacecraft from Mars) falling on a farm in Grovers Mill NJ (and causing a panic because listeners took it to be a real radio broadcast about a Martian invasion). I don’t think the broadcast named the owner of the farm, though.

    • John Baker Says:

      Perhaps the point is just that it doesn’t really matter whether the Great Pumpkin exists or not; it is never going to appear in Linus’s pumpkin patch, just as Charlie Brown will never kick that football. I also considered the possibility that Schulz at this point had not decided whether the Great Pumpkin is real or not, but maybe that amounts to the same thing. Since the Great Pumpkin is often referenced as a religious phenomenon, its point generally seems to be that its existence cannot be proved and its adherents (or, really, just adherent) will be an object of derision.

      I don’t think Charlie Brown here is being mean to Linus (although he did make fun of him pretty badly on Nov. 2 and 3, 1959). I have even seen a suggestion that he is trying to comfort Linus with a lie, although that seems unlikely too. To the extent that the strip is intended to be taken seriously, I suppose we should understand that Charlie Brown is just mistaken (even as Linus is just mistaken in confusing the Great Pumpkin and Santa Claus). As for the mention of New Jersey, Linus previously mentioned states (Connecticut and Texas) where the Great Pumpkin had appeared, in the Oct. 29, 1961, strip.

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