Archive for the ‘Comic conventions’ Category

Death’s end

February 23, 2018

Mick Stevens in the February 26th New Yorker:

(#1) The Grim Reaper reaped

I was immediately reminded of the 5th verse of the Isaac Watts 1707 hymn text “Lo! what a glorious sight appears”, which is set as the 3rd verse of the Sacred Harp song Promised Day (#409 in the 1991 Denson Revision of the book):


Tell them you haven’t seen him

February 17, 2018

Today’s Bizarro (another Piraro/Wayno collaboration):


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

To understand the strip, you need to recognize the customer at the bar and know that finding him is a difficult enterprise; and to fully enjoy the strip, you should probably also recognize the cultural trope of the drinker at a bar who has the bartender tell people looking for him — most characteristically, his wife — that he’s not there and they haven’t seen him. (Call it the Toper in Hiding trope. The toper in hiding is a stock figure in jokes, situation comedies, and cartoons.)


Four more recent cartoons

January 28, 2018

Four cartoons yesterday that present interesting challenges in understanding. Now a mixed set of four more — a Zits, a Zippy, a One Big Happy, and a Dilbert — that have accumulated in my posting queue.


More George Booth

January 19, 2018

A follow-up to my 12/29/17 posting “George Booth at 90: elephants and holidays”: five of my favorite Booth cartoons.


Out of the Inkwell

January 18, 2018

Wednesday’s Zippy takes us back to a delightful animated meta-comic of almost a century ago:


Check out the Koko Cartoon Factory animated short here. The character Koko comes out of an inkwell, drawn by a cartoonist, then himself creates other characters, erases some, confronts human antagonists, eventually returns to the inkwell. Dreamlike in the manner of Winsor McKay’s Little Nemo.


George Booth at 90: elephants and holidays

December 29, 2017

The 1/1/18 New Yorker cover, by George Booth:


To come: about this cover; Booth covers for the holidays; the metaphorical idiom elephant in the room and its exploitation by artists and cartoonists.


Memory and the power of diner food

December 22, 2017

Yesterday’s Zippy (“The flying bucket on Sepulveda”) took us to Dinah’s Fried Chicken on Sepulveda Blvd. in LA. Today, Zippy continues the narrative with remembrances of diner foods past — rice pudding, creamed spinach, corned beef hash — and their ability to evoke specific moments from times gone by:


The day when Zippy spilled ketchup on his styrofoam shoes at Dinah’s; the day when Dinah’s ran out of rice pudding and substituted creamed spinach; Marcel Marceau’s recollection of May 14th, 1894 in Fresno CA, a memory triggered by just a whiff of corned beef hash.

All of this is just absurd if you don’t know about Marcel Proust, the madeleines, Remembrance of Things Past, and involuntary memory; in case you’ve forgotten, the title, “Remembrance of Flings Past” is there to nudge your memory. All this Proustian stuff comes from high culture, but like other Great Books, Great Art, and Great Music, it’s worked its way into a pop-culture meme that anyone can use for jokes and that everybody’s supposed to recognize.


Moby Chick, Moby Duck, Moby Dip

December 17, 2017

… and more, starting with Moby Chick in today’s Bizarro:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 8 in this strip — see this Page.)

Watch out for the big white one — you could lose your leg!


Monkey see, monkey fear

December 7, 2017

Today’s Bizarro brings us a talking monkey facing the news:

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

Funny enough as it stands, but much funnier if you recognize the monkey as the character Curious George and his companion The Man With the Yellow Hat. So: a cross-comic reference, and because of that, a challenge to understanding.


The saguaro in bloom

December 7, 2017

Here in northern California, we’ve had some early rain — not very often and not a lot, but enough to turn the golden hillsides to bright new green. And enough to convince the cacti and succulents in Stanford’s Arizona Garden that Their Time Has Come, so they’re bursting with new growth and breaking out in flowers. Notably, a big ol’ saguaro cactus has thrown out huge creamy blossoms, much like these in this photo from the net:

(#1) The state flower of AZ; NM claims the yucca

Meanwhile, the saguaro serves as an anthromorphic symbol — a man with both arms in the air — and a phallic symbol (an interpretation encouraged by the fact that the cactus is, oh dear, prickly).