Archive for the ‘Comic conventions’ Category

Tripping over the signature

July 23, 2021

Yes, I’m not dead yet, but I’ve had grave difficulties in getting even a tiny posting together. So here’s today’s (7/23) Mother Goose and Grimm cartoon, from the meta-cartoon world:

We’ve seen piles of cartoons in which speech balloons play a role as physical objects in the cartoon’s world: people point at their contents, they act as actual balloons carrying someone away, etc. Now it’s the artist’s signature.

(more…)

Prey of the day

June 17, 2021

From Nancy Friedman / Fritinancy on Twitter on 6/15:

This Sam Gross cartoon from many years ago [in the New Yorker issue of 8/11/02] suddenly popped into my head for no special reason other than that it’s completely perfect.


(#1) A cat tale of two worlds

On the one hand, there’s the world of cats, in which they hunt small animals, like mice and voles, and proudly bring their dead prey home for their human. And then there’s the world of human family relationships, in which for a special occasion you bring your aging mother a present, in a wrapped gift box, with a card expressing your love for her on this occasion.

The speaker in Gross’s cartoon is in both worlds, which are aligned with one another: it’s both a cat bringing its mousey prey home to its owner and also a loving child with a gift-wrapped present for Mom — with a card for her. Read the card! Read the card!

(more…)

Omega Omega Top

June 14, 2021

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro of 6/11, a cartoon that’s totally incomprehensible if you don’t know know one piece of American popular culture:


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

I would have entitled the strip Ω Ω Top, but Wayno and Dan went for Omega Omega Top instead. (More on the title below.)

In any case, to have any hope whatsoever in understanding the cartoon, you need to know that there’s an American rock band named ZZ Top. (The name of the band is pronounced /zi zi tap/, which is written as ZZ Top. Contrast this with the statistical test whose name is written as the Z-test, a name is pronounced as /zi tɛst/ by American speakers, but /zɛd tɛst/ by British, Australian, and most Canadian speakers. The band’s name is pronounced /zɛd zɛd tap/) only as a joke, or as a mistake by someone unfamiliar with the name.)

To begin to understand why the cartoon might be funny, you need to know that Ω is the (upper-case form of the) last letter of the Greek alphabet, just as Z is the (upper-case form of the) last letter of the Latin alphabet (as we use it in writing English); that the figures in the cartoon are playing ancient Greek musical instruments (two stringed, one percussion); and that the instruments and the appearance of the players match those of ZZ Top (two guitarists, one drummer; sunglasses for everybody; stetson hats and long beards for the guitarists). So the cartoon provides a complex mapping between ZZ Top today and music-making in ancient Greece.

(more…)

Gahan Wilson

June 9, 2021

From Mike Pope on Facebook, commenting on yesterday’s posting “Bizarro cannibalism”, on the Cannibal cartoon meme:


(#1) The Man in the Cannibal Pot: Cartoons by Gahan Wilson (1967)

[MP:] Speaking of tropes, I had this book when I was a kid. I don’t know if you can see, but he’s emptying a bottle of poison into the water

Lovely; a metacartoon, or perhaps second-generation cannibal cartoon, taking the meme for granted and playing with its conventions.

(more…)

Bizarro cannibalism

June 8, 2021

The Bizarro strip from 5/30, which reminds us of the bizarre in Bizarro:


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

A grotesque pun that turns on the ambiguity between the common noun peanuts (referring to a food item commonly offered as a snack by airlines) and the proper noun Peanuts (referring to the Charles Schulz cartoon and the characters in it). Instead of honey-roasted peanuts, the attendants are offering honey-roasted Peanuts — Lucy, Charlie Brown, Linus, and so on.

Now, Charlie Brown and the gang are only cartoon children, but they are children, and #1 is a cartoon with human characters, which makes the scene look a lot like cannibalism, in fact cannibalism to satisfy routine snack hunger, not even cannibalism to avoid starvation, or as part of a cultural ritual — so that it inspires revulsion. And some very uneasy laughter.

(more…)

Cetacean in aisle 3! The caption finalists

May 15, 2021

Previously on this blog, in the 4/23/21 posting “Size cartoons”, about a Benjamin Schwartz drawing for the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, in the 4/26 & 5/3 issue, with my note on the drawing:

This isn’t bad as a wordless cartoon, with a cute but gigantic whale looming over a decidedly anxious Ahab

Now in the 5/17 issue, the finalists:

(#1)

Winner to be announced in the May 31st issue.

(more…)

One more time: Magritte and Schrödinger

May 13, 2021

Two Bizarro cartoons on variations on themes, from art (Magritte’s Son of Man) and science (Schrödinger’s cat):

(more…)

A memic triple

May 9, 2021

Version I. A J.C. Duffy cartoon published in the New Yorker on 4/19/10:


(#1) The strip takes two cartoon memes, Desert Island (with a tiny single-castaway island) and Grim Reaper (with Death at the prow of a sleek modern boat); and packages them together as a memic title, the name of a formulaic joke routine: Good News / Bad News

(more…)

Houdini’s cat

April 26, 2021

Today’s Rhymes With Orange cartoon is a takeoff on Schrödinger’s cat:

Looking ahead a bit, a Schrödinger’s cat joke (SCJ) involves the pairing of a concrete object (in this case, a cat) and a pair of opposed states (in this case, present vs. absent (in a carrier)) and maintains, preposterously, that the object is simultaneously in both states (in this case, that the cat is simultaneously present and absent in the carrier). In the SCJ above we don’t have evidence that the cat is or was both present and absent at the same time, but instead some simultaneity of the two states is inferred from other facts: like Houdini in one of his escape tricks, the cat was in the carrier when its owner left the house and there was no way it could escape from it — see the chains and lock — but it’s now, at the vet’s, visibly no longer there.

(more…)

Size cartoons

April 23, 2021

From the latest issue of the New Yorker (for 4/26 & 5/3 2021), two cartoons (by Benjamin Schwartz and Zach Kanin) that qualify the magazine to be, not only the Technology Issue, but also the Size Issue: body size in the Schwartz, penis size in the Kanin.

(more…)