Archive for the ‘Understanding comics’ Category

Revisiting 29: chants/chance

April 1, 2019

From Karen Chung on her (public) Facebook group NTU Phonetics yesterday, this texty cartoon with a pun:

(#1)

The joke turns on the (perceptual) homophony of chants and chance, parallel to the cents / sense and prints / prince cases in my 3/27/19 posting “Two cents, common sense, incense, and peppermints”.

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You can’t get no ways…

March 23, 2019

… if you don’t know the phrase. An exercise in cartoon understanding that came to me from Facebook connections, but without any credit to the artist:

(#1)

If you don’t recognize It don’t mean a thing as part of a particular formulaic expression, you’re screwed; the cartoon is incomprehensible.

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Car wash cartoon understanding

March 13, 2019

Yesterday’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro cartoon:


(#1)(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 7 in this strip — see this Page.)

You need to recognize that the cartoon takes place in a garage and you need to know that detailing is a kind of car care. And you need to recognize that Nick is the Devil (note horns and tail). That’s all pretty easy.

Then you need to know what detailing a car has to do with the Devil — and for that, if you don’t know the saying The devil (or Devilis in the detail(s), you’re just stuck. You’ve missed a devil of a pun (on detail).

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Inhaling pop culture

February 27, 2019

Today’s Zits, featuring teenage boys goofing off, but in a specific way:

(#1)

Thereby presenting an exercise in cartoon understanding that’s a snap if you’re plugged into American pop culture of the past century, but is something of a challenge otherwise.

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Three exercises in cartoon understanding

February 18, 2019

Two from the 2/18&25/19 New Yorker — a Seth Fleishman (wordless) and a Lars Kenseth (a captioned meta-cartoon) — plus a vintage Gary Larson (considered both without caption and with).

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Aquatic carpentry

February 5, 2019

A Wayno & Piraro Bizarro from the 4th, presenting an exercise in cartoon understanding and jogging some reflections on comics conventions:


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

To understand the cartoon, you need to appreciate that it shows a situation from everyday life (the office of a carpentry business)  juxtaposed with, or translated into, another, more remarkable, world (an undersea, aquatic, world, populated by specific fish, which you need to recognize).

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The party linguist

January 28, 2019

The 1/17 Wayno-Piraro collab on a Bizarro:

(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

There’s a lot in this; I’ll start with the purely linguistic question: What does the N + N compound party linguist refer to? Then turn to the question of what’s happening in the cartoon, in particular how the notions of minority and diversity figure in it.

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Ask not for whom the reaper scythes

December 20, 2018

Two Grim Reaper memic cartoons: today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collab, and a Harry Bliss cartoon in the current (12/24&31) New Yorker, both requiring signficant background information for understanding (beyond recognizing the figure of Death with his scythe):

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Understanding Bizarro

December 10, 2018

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro, requiring a crucial piece of cultural knowledge:


(#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 figure of Batman is the easy part of understanding this cartoon; asking the waiter for “the insect steward” is the part that draws heavily on background knowledge: that bats primarily eat insects, and that high-end restaurants will offer the services of a sommelier, or wine steward, to its diners. So we are asked to see Batman simultaneously as an upper-class man (Bruce Wayne) ordering food in an elegant restaurant (admittedly, in a bat costume) and as an actual bat, a predator seeking its prey.

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A fantasy exercise in cartoon understanding

November 22, 2018

In the latest (11/26/18) New Yorker, this Ali Solomon cartoon presents a test in cartoon understanding:


(#1) “Oh yes. Definitely a forgery. Hope it didn’t cost you much.”

If you recognize the loin-clothed hunkering figure with the big eyes, you’ll understand what’s happening in the cartoon and why it’s funny. Otherwise, it’s just baffling.

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