Archive for the ‘Comic conventions’ Category

Grimm goes on a speech balloon ride

June 11, 2022

Two strips (so far) from Mother Goose and Grimm in which Grimmy gets taken (involuntarily) on a speech balloon ride through his favorite strips. A species of meta-comic, whose subject is the conventions of cartooning (in this case, conventions about the representation of speech and thought), and in which characters exhibit awareness that they are in fact in a comic strip.

Just a year ago, we had a Pearls Before Swine strip of this sort, and now MGG floats over Pearls (after Blondie, but before Shoe.)

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The desert three-way

June 2, 2022

The 6/1 Wayno / Piraro Bizarro, a Desert Crawl cartoon in which the crawling man hallucinates a sexual oasis, where two saguaro cactuses offer to, umm, entertain him (Wayno’s title: “Prickly Playmates”):


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

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Two more Bizarro balloons

May 23, 2022

The speech balloon as physical object, in a continuing series of Wayno / Piraro Bizarro cartoons on the theme. Previously on this blog, my 5/18/22 posting “Orienting your speech (balloon)”, in which speech balloons have front sides and back sides. And now the 5/19 cartoon, in which you can record what’s in a balloon by plugging into it. And the 5/21 cartoon, in which the speaker’s laryngitis manifests itself as an empty balloon; it’s the balloon that’s afflicted.

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Orienting your speech (balloon)

May 18, 2022

Today’s Wayno / Piraro Bizarro strip, with a detective in a pickle:


(#1) Since the readers of the strip are taking the point of view of the detective, we are in the same pickle (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

How did this happen? Well, first, in this strip, speech balloons are treated as physical objects (containing a representation of speech) that people carry around with them and display to others. So when RH (the hood on the right) is talking to LH (the hood on the left), facing him, with his back to D (the detective), his speech balloon is also facing LH, with its back side to D, so that it can’t be read (by D, or by us).

But wait. This assumes that we are viewing things as if we were in a theater, fixed in our seats while the story unfolds in front of us on stage; what we can see (and hear) depends on how the actors orient themselves. Suppose instead that we’re watching (and listening to) a film; then the cameras (and microphones) go wherever the director wants them to, providing a constantly shifting visual (and auditory) focus on the unfolding narrative.

If the cartoon view is filmic rather than theatrical, then the speech balloons could show us whatever the cartoonist wants us to see — and that can be done even if speech balloons are treated as physical objects (rather than as meta-information). Yes, there are examples.

I know, nobody expects the filmic exposition. (And no, I won’t stop working this Pythonic gag.)

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Two cartoons on familiar themes

March 24, 2022

In my comics feed recently: a One Big Happy (from 4/6/10) on masculinity for boys; and a Wayno / Piraro  Bizarro (from 4/23) with an Ahab and the whale cartoon (but with a whole lot more packed into it).

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Epitaph for a mammoth

March 8, 2022

… and the ferocity of gatherers. In the heat of the moment, it all came down to:

IT WAS IN THE WAY

The Sunday (and so landscape rather than portrait, also Piraro-only) Bizarro from 2/26, posted here for International Women’s Day, 3/8:


(#1) Mammoths, hunter-gatherers, and the power of women (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are, omigod, 13 in this strip — see this Page.)

Apparently, she took the mammoth down with a sharp stick, something she was perhaps gathering as firewood. Wow.  Don’t mess with Bess.

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Our frugal cartoonists: Shreddy Cougar

February 24, 2022

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro supplies another Psychiatrist-meme cartoon in the strip’s pattern, this time with a cat patient yearning to shred furniture, as cats will do:


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

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The gumball aliens

February 23, 2022

Sunday’s (2/20) Bizarro strip, rich in symbols, references, and allusions (“semiotically dense”, as I’ve started to say):


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 9 in this strip — see this Page.) One of Piraro’s secret symbols is a miniature space alien, which you can find in the upper righthand corner of the cartoon

First things first. What the strip is primarily about is an encounter between two space aliens and a gumball machine (a 25¢ machine, which means it’s a modern one), which the aliens recognize, because of its physical resemblance to them, as one of their kind. Eliminating everything except the encounter:


(#2) The encounter as a free-standing gag cartoon

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Metalico Cat

February 14, 2022

The 2/7 Wayno/Piraro Bizarro strip offers the complex portmanteau Metalico Cat = Metallico + Calico Cat (plus a cute title from Wayno: “The Shredder”):


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

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Three memic moments

January 21, 2022

… in the cartoons. Two — a Joseph Dottino and a William Haefeli — from the latest (1/24/22) New Yorker, plus a Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 1/19. Recognizable penguins, upscale gay-male couples, and crash test dummies, oh my!

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