Archive for the ‘Comic conventions’ Category

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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Force Cor

May 30, 2020

Passed on by Jeff Bowles on FB today, this Pearls Before Swine cartoon from 2017:

By far the most outrageous elaborate pun I’ve seen from Pastis (others can be found in the Page on Pearls Before Swine on this blog). Set up bit by bit, accreting the components of the monstrously complex result. In a different order from the final result, of course, so you can’t appreciate where it’s going,

And then Pastis’s usual meta move in the last panel, in which the characters recognize that they’re in a cartoon. In this case, Rat produces Abraham Lincoln (and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) to berate Pastis for his word play.

A pandemic meta-cartoon

April 25, 2020

By JAK (Jason Adam Katzenstein), the New Yorker daily cartoon from yesterday:


“Personally, I worry that, with everyone wearing masks, readers won’t be able to tell who in the cartoon is speaking.”

The masks are part of daily life in plague time, and they conceal the wearers’ mouths. So in a cartoon you can’t tell who’s speaking. (In real life, there might be other clues, like vocal timbre.)

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Two cartoons for late April

April 24, 2020

In the world of annually recurring dates, Wednesday was Earth Day, Thursday was St. George’s Day, and tomorrow is World Penguin Day. Into this olla podrida of holidays walk a pastor, a priest, a rabbi, and a pie-throwing clown working as an erotic masseur.

Colby Jones, cartooning as Sir Colby, with a meta Walk Into Bar joke; and Bob Eckstein, offering the comic amalgam of clown and masseur.

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The therapist is in French

April 20, 2020

The following cartoon, in French and unattributed, has been making its way around Facebook in the last few days:


(#1) “How do you [polite] feel this week?” – “Much better.”

Therapist and patient, both cowering in the anxiety of persecution. But this week is better. Much better.

Presumably, it’s being passed around as a pointed commentary on the fix we are all in currently. Even better is appalling.

It doesn’t take a keen eye to see that #1 is a rip-off of a Bizarro cartoon: the drawing style, the content (the Psychiatrist meme is a Bizarro evergreen favorite), the two odd Dan Piraro symbols. And so it is, from 2/15/11, almost a decade ago.

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Quick shot: no creme for Godzilla

April 18, 2020

Yesterday’s Weekly Humorist cartoon “Missing Something?” by Bob Eckstein:


(#1) In the Godzilla cartoon meme, saurian movie monsters exhibit their famous appetite for pieces of the urban landscape, especially mass transit vehicles

But a bus or train with no passengers inside is like the hollow shell of a chocolate candy, with no nuts, no buttercream, no nougat, no candied cherry, nothing whatsoever in it. Or like the two chocolate biscuits of an Oreo cookie just rubbing together, with no creme filling.

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The Grim Mouser

April 16, 2020

The 4/13 Rhymes With Orange brings us the Grim Reaper and his cats (we know from Terry Pratchett that Death is fond of cats):

(#1)

We don’t know if this Grim Reaper is a general operator, reaping souls of many creatures, including mice; or whether this one is a specialist in mice — perhaps of a tribe, or race, of Grim Mousers; or of a professional guild of them. (See below, on the Death of Rats.)

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