Archive for the ‘Understanding comics’ Category

The Tritoons gather by the river

October 21, 2018

diabolus in imaginē, at the tri-state corner (where NY, NJ, and PA are joined), in Milford PA, on Sunday 9/30, funny funny funny. Viewable on tape today. As announced today on Facebook by one of the Three Weird Brothers, Bob Eckstein, using this cartoon of his (from the 5/19/14 New Yorker) as a visual:

(#1)

The Milford Readers and Writers Festival in Milford PA (#3 — the first one was in 2016). “New Yorker Cartoonists Talk About Funny!” with Bob Eckstein, Christopher Weyant, and David Borchart, moderated by Carol McManus (tape shown on CSPAN-2 today starting at 2:18 pm ET).

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Mike Lynch

September 27, 2018

A cartoonist and cartoon enthusiast who hasn’t appeared on this blog before.

The barest of brief Wikipedia information:

Mike Lynch [born January 18, 1962, in Iowa City IA] is a cartoonist whose work can be seen in Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy and other mass media markets.

Lynch maintains a substantial blog on cartoons, with material of his own and compilations of other cartoonists.  For example, a 9/24 posting on gag cartoons, from Dick Buchanan; a 9/21 posting on women cartoonists of the New Yorker, from Liza Donnelly; a 9/20 posting on cartoonists drawing on the wall at the Overlook Lounge in NYC.

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A transatlantic exercise in cartoon understanding

September 21, 2018

To fully appreciate this cartoon (passed on to me on Facebook), you need to have two pieces of pop-cultural knowledge, one originally American, one originally British (though it is the way of such things to cross the Atlantic culturally):

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You need, of course, to recognize — American cultural knowledge — that this is a baseball diamond, with a game in progress, and that there’s an object on first base. Then — further American cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the (note: declarative, not interrogative) sentence Who’s on first as the first move in one of the greatest America comedy routines ever. Then — British cultural knowledge — you need to recognize the thing on first base and connect it to the fact that Who’s on first, both of them elements from one of the most popular British tv shows ever.

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The cartoon milkman

September 11, 2018

… and a bad grandpa pun, in the One Big Happy from 8/14:

(#1)

(The characters, left to right in the first and last panels: the neighbor boy James; the son of the OBH family, Ruthie’s older brother Joe; and Joe’s grandfather.)

Grandpa reproduces a bit of culture lore, about liaisons between housewives and milkmen. The boys are no doubt somewhat vague about what would be involved in a woman’s running off with the milkman. But, more pressingly, they don’t know what a milkman is: the N +  N compound is scarcely transparent semantically, so unless you’ve actually had milkmen in your experience, tales of women and milkmen are just baffling.

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Cartoon understanding: more Leigh Rubin

September 1, 2018

Today’s Rubin, which works or not depending on whether you get the cultural reference:

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The title for the cartoon isn’t crucial to understanding. Nor is the exact year 1972. But chart topper and the ID badge without a name on it are essential ingredients.

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But is it a cartoon?

August 25, 2018

From the Pun Based Humor Facebook page (ultimate source not identified):

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A photograph (composed and posed for humorous effect), but if you drew this scene, it would straightforwardly be a (captionless) cartoon, so why shouldn’t  this count as a cartoon too? Not your prototypical cartoon, but a cartoon nevertheless.

An analogy would be to the art work of Pierre et Gilles: photographs elaborately composed and posed for artistic effect (often humorous effect as well), and meant as a photographic equivalent of a fantasy painting or drawing.

Meanwhile, there’s the matter of cartoon understanding: the young man, the box of breakfast cereal (Kix brand), and the highway route sign (for US Route 66) are the three elements focused on in the photograph, but what’s funny about that? Is it relevant that the route is historic, or that it’s a loop, or that the young man’s belt end is dangling (something to do with loops, maybe)? Or maybe stuff in the background is subtly significant. Or the setting, on a town street, at an intersection with a crosswalk.

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Another puzzle in cartoon understanding

August 19, 2018

It appeared on Facebook today, with this note from Chris Hansen:


(#1) CH: From another list we have a cartoon that takes a heckuva lot of background knowledge to understand. Arnold may want to deconstruct it, if he hasn’t already. I don’t know the cartoonist.

Well, I certainly wanted to deconstruct it, but not without knowing who the artist was. Quickly, however, Chris himself, Brian Guerrero-Kane, and Roger Phillips all supplied that information — Leigh Rubin (who has a Page on this blog) — and led me to fuller versions of the cartoon, with a title that considerably aids understanding. But the stripped-down version in #1, though challenging,  is soluble, so I’ll do that first.

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The crystal ball of cartoon understanding

August 17, 2018

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm takes us through the murky realms of cartoon understanding:

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At the surface level, the fortune teller offers a preposterous prediction about how Grimm will be reincarnated, and Grimm says he doesn’t believe in reincarnation. Entirely comprehensible (so long as you know about fortune tellers, and can recognize a stereotype of one —  woman in gypsy costume with crystal ball — and so long as you know what reincarnation is), but not funny, unless you also know about Carnation brand evaporated milk (sweetened powdered milk that comes in cans). It’s a joke, son.

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The nacho cart

August 13, 2018

Drew Dernavich in the August 20th New Yorker:


(#1) “Would you like to sample something from the nacho cart?”

An office cart conveying a gigantic heap of nachos, with hot cheese dripping over the side. Underneath are who knows what astounding toppings for the taco chips, your choice.

A demented dessert cart, transporting horror-movie foodstuffs. The fanciest of high-end dining  juxtaposed with low-end cheap thrills and street food, smelling of Mexican food trucks.

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Two texties, in two tonalities

August 7, 2018

Texties are cartoon-like compositions in which a pictorial component is entirely absent or merely decorative, not essential to the point of the composition — in effect, words-only cartoons; they can be intended as humor, like gag cartoons, or as serious commentary, like political cartoons.

Two have come to me via friends on Facebook recently — both funny, both taking off on specific registers in modern printed English: the lost and found poster (in the texty “FOUND:CAKE”, or F:C), and the amazing-fact texty on the net (in the texty “[plant facts!]”, or pf!). F:C is an elaborate translation, in detail, of an item of popular culture; pf! is an undermining of the amazing-fact texty form itself.

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