Archive for the ‘Comic conventions’ Category

Red Löbster Cult

September 9, 2020

The band name in today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a cute play on Blue Öyster Cult (if you don’t know about Blue Öyster Cult, then the cartoon will be pretty much of a mystery to you):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

A band of lobsters. They have an umlaut. They have cowbell.

It’s all an elaborate play on BÖC.

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Flies met cute

August 9, 2020

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 8/7 features a housefly couple telling the story of how they met:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Where to begin? Well, it’s a decidedly meta cartoon, in which the characters know they are cartoon characters and comment on that fact. And it’s a cartoon in which parallel worlds are aligned and translated from one to the other: a world of conventional American  domesticity (in which couples meet and form relationships, and entertain friends in their home); and a world of fly jokes, turning on the appearance of houseflies in soup at restaurants.

All this held together by a story type in film-making: the meet cute form, in which unlikely accidents of meeting lead to romantic involvements.

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Nuancy Nancy

August 1, 2020

For we will sit together as happy as can be
For I’ll tickle Nancy, and Nancy’ll tickle me

— Uncle Dave Macon’s “I’ll Tickle Nancy” (apparently first recorded in 1935)

Yesterday’s (7/31) Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip, in which Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy character takes up textual analysis (Wayno’s title:”Beating Around the Bushmiller”), explaining the intricacies of cartoon characters to her buddy Sluggo (and of course the three rocks):


(#1) On the Bushmiller rocks, see my 9/2/17 posting “Three rocks”, with a Zippy strip in which the rocks talk (and if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

Pretty much the purest form of cartoon self-reference: a cartoon character expounding on the nature of cartoon characters. (Also note Sluggo’s body language, with his hands in his pockets, often conveying disaffection or suspicion.)

What follows is about Nancys and, especially, nancies.

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Fear of furniture

July 23, 2020

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, a Psychiatrist strip (Wayno’s title: “Out of Frame”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 6 in this strip — see this Page.)

And now we’re in the world of phobias, extreme or irrational fears of or aversions to particular things. People are exceptionally fond of finding or inventing unusual phobias — and, correspondingly, of finding or inventing unusual philias (attachments, especially sexually fetishistic attachments, to particular things).

Fear of furniture, as it turns out, is real but rare. There is even a celebrity afflicted with it.

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But is it art? Two cartoon takes

July 21, 2020

In today’s cartoon feed, two contributions to the Is It Art? theme on this blog: from Rhymes With Orange (with a Caveman twist on the theme); and from Zippy the Pinhead (on responses to a public sculpture):

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At the Paleo Cafe

July 15, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip (Wayno’s title: “Farm to Slab”):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

A combination of two cartoon memes: the familiar Caveman meme, plus  a Remarkable Restaurant meme that’s a specialty of the Bizarro strips.

Plus the portmanteau word play in filet magnon (filet mignon + cro-magnon). And a subtle play on a systematic ambiguity between raw and cooked understandings in certain food names, in particular for cuts of meat. You ask for a filet at the Paleo Cafe, you get a hunk of raw meat.

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Annals of ambiguity: I feel like making it rough for Schrödinger

June 24, 2020

Playing with ambiguity:

— a One Big Happy cartoon with: I feel like a tuna fish sandwich

— a domestic exchange about: I will make a dessert of my youth

— a Pearls Before Swine cartoon with: Tell me roughly

— a photograph, labeled Schrödinger’s Dumpster, of a dumpster with the signage: EMPTY WHEN FULL

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Pavlov’s novelist

June 16, 2020

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo, with a groaner pun on the name F. Scott Fitzgerald (the American writer) plus an instance of the Pavlov cartoon meme:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

The pun is straightforward (it does depend on your recognizing Spot as a conventional name for dogs in English); but though Pavlov isn’t mentioned in the cartoon, it’s all about classical, or Pavlovian, conditioning, and the cartoon makes no sense unless you recognize the allusion to Pavlov, and also recall that Pavlov conditioned his dogs to salivate (and expect food) on hearing a bell ringing (here, the carriage return bell on a typewriter, which younger readers will be unfamiliar with, typewriters being an obsolete technology — but the cartoon helpfully fills in this bit of typewriter arcana).

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tribute time

June 7, 2020

Annals of pandemic vocabulary: the N + N compound tribute time ‘a time (moment in a day) for tribute’, specialized for a specific form of tribute (largely, clapping) to a specific group of tributees (medical workers). The practice has been around for several months, but the label seems to have emerged more recently (I don’t have the resources to track these things down), and now it figures in today’s wry Doonesbury cartoon, about Zonker Harris and his nephew Zipper:

(#1)

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Death trap

June 5, 2020

The 5/27 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo brings us two Grim Reapers confronting what might be a trap for them:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 2 in this strip — see this Page.)

If you want to catch Death in a trap, what do you use as bait? Obviously, not the conventional chunk of cheese, but dead cheese: moldy cheese. (Moldy cheese is, of course, not actually dead; in fact, the cheese is alive with the swarms of microbes.)

The cartoon nicely exploits an ambiguity, between the semantics of the conventionalized compound death trap / deathtrap, and the semantics of a compound Death trap, parallel to mouse trap / mousetrap.

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