Archive for the ‘Understanding comics’ Category

Conferring

May 9, 2017

A Harry Bliss cartoon in the May 15th New Yorker:

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“Well, there’s your problem right there—you need to sauté the onions in white wine before adding the ginger.”

First, the usual note about what you have to know to understand this cartoon. You have to recognize that the cartoon is set in a baseball stadium during a game (this is fairly easy, though it involves very culture-specific knowledge), and that we’re looking at the catcher and the pitcher conferring on the pitcher’s mound about pitching strategy, a conference in which privacy is often assured by having the two men cover their mouths with their mitts (this is definitely inside-baseball esoterica).

But wait, there’s more.

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A musical decline

May 3, 2017

Today’s Rhymes With Orange, which presents the reader with a challenge in understanding. You need to know something about music, and a lot about urban life:

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That’s a grand piano on a cinder block, with its lid propped open by a shovel, on the grassy lawn (BrE garden) in front of the house; and there’s a BEWARE OF DOG sign, indicating the presence of a guard dog. Signs of urban blight (see the title of the cartoon), decline, diminishment (a diminuendo). All very troubling (in musical Punnish, treble-ing) to the musical old couple walking by.

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Like a mayfly

May 1, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:

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

Appropriately for May Day, this strip is ephemeral: this month, if you keep up with popular culture, it’s wryly funny, but a year from now, almost no one will understand it. (Yes, I’m going to explain it.)

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