Archive for the ‘Cartoon conventions’ Category

The Mankoff rat cartoon

November 15, 2017

On Language Log on October 5th, Mark Seidenberg, “Cartoonist walks into a language lab”:

[Bob] Mankoff’s involvement in humor research isn’t a joke. He almost completed a Ph.D. in experimental psychology back in the behaviorist era, which is pretty hard core. Before he left the field he co-authored a chapter called “Contingency in behavior theory”, as in contingencies of reinforcement in animal learning. The chapter included this cartoon:



November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.


Cartoon characters’ self-awareness

August 24, 2016

Yesterday’s Bizarro, way meta:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one — see this Page.)

The conceit here is that the characters that appear in comic strips are in fact actors playing roles, so that they can go on strike (among other things). Even more, when the actors are absent, the activities in the strips just go on without them, as if the actors had simply become invisible. Invisible waiter (on strike) takes order from invisible diner (also on strike).

It’s not called Bizarro for nothing.


Peter Kuper

May 6, 2016

It starts with a single-panel gag cartoon in the April 2016 Funny Times:


First, things you need to know to get this cartoon. Then, information about cartoonist and graphic novelist Peter Kuper and his other work.


Between the desert and the couch

May 1, 2016

The May Day Bizarro, in Cartoon Cliché Land:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)


The Ascent of Bruce

January 21, 2016

In the February issue of Funny Times, this cartoon by political cartoonist Taylor Jones:

The third figure in the progression is Bruce Jenner, the fourth Caitlin Jenner.

Some words about Caitlin Jenner, and then a few on the Ascent of Man cartoon meme.


Ahab and the whale

January 12, 2016

It started innocently enough, with a Jack Ziegler cartoon in the January 11th New Yorker:


Captain Ahab, identifiable through his peg leg and harpoon,  is apparently looking for his whale in a book store (where he will, no doubt, find copies of Moby-Dick, but no whales). Of course, the cartoon isn’t comprehensible if you don’t know the outlines of the story, but more than that, Ahab and the White Whale have become stock figures in popular culture, and, indeed, a conventional theme of gag cartoons: a cartoon meme.

I then went to search on {Ahab cartoon}, so that I could justify the claim that there was such a meme, and was inundated with examples. In fact, I was inundated with examples from the New Yorker alone, including two more by Jack Ziegler. I stopped collecting them when I had 10 single-panel cartoons plus a New Yorker cover. God only knows how many more there are.


manga/anime hair

December 17, 2015

Yesterday’s Zippy:


This follows on the previous day’s posting on (among other things) manga eyes.


A query on comic conventions

June 24, 2015

A query from regular reader Andy Sleeper on the 15th, about conventions in the comics. Andy reported on two cases where he’d seen flanking punctuation used to indicate that what was inside the punctuation was spoken in a language other than English. Andy wondered (a) whether this was an established practice in comics, and (b) whether artists have tried to use other means to solve this problem in their work.

I have to confess that I don’t know the answer to either of these questions, though I’ve spent some time looking around. So now I throw the questions open to the world, hoping that someone will know things I don’t.


Thought balloons

June 23, 2015

In the July 2015 Funny Times (p. 10), a cartoon about cartoon conventions, which I’ll have to describe to you rather than show to you (for reasons I’ll explain).

It shows a man standing by a sidewalk in a park, offering balloons for sale. The placard next to him says


And the balloons are labeled:


each supplying a thought.