Archive for the ‘Understanding comics’ Category

Trix is for kids

June 17, 2019

Going the social media rounds, this joke, an ostentatiously playful allusion (OPA) to a bit of popular culture, presented as a texty — a cartoon that’s primarily a printed text, though texties often come with a visual backdrop, which sometimes contributes crucially to an understanding of the joke, as here:


(#1) A texty that lives in two worlds: American political culture of recent years (a reference conveyed visually, through the photo of Paul Ryan); and an ad campaign for an American breakfast cereal marketed to children (a reference conveyed verbally, by the ostentatious play on the ad slogan “Silly rabbit / Trix is for kids!”)

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On the dog food watch

May 29, 2019

The 5/27 Wayno-Piraro Bizarro strip, set in the Land of Dogs:


(#1) (If you wonder about the secret symbol in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there’s just one in this strip — see this Page.)

A dog food with Quibbles in its name is of course not going to agree with you, in one sense of agree with. So you can understand the cartoon, and see that the pun on agree with in it makes it amusing — and still miss the extra joke that Wayno and Piraro threw in for you.

The cartoon would have been funny if the dog food had been named just Quibbles. But Quibbles and Fits is a lot funnier, because it’s another pun, on the name of the (actual) dog food Kibbles and Bits. But of course you have to know about this particular commercial product to get that joke.

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Stravinsky’s 1970 Firebird and the Ghoulliard Quartet

May 20, 2019

Music, cartoons, and language play, plus Slavic folklore, Seiji Ozawa and his expressive hair, pony cars, symphony trumpeters, NPR, and Frankenstein’s monster. It starts with this wonderful cartoon by Jeffrey Curnow from the NPR site (hat tip to Virginia Transue):

(#1)

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Ariperro

May 5, 2019

The punchline to a wonderful two-line bilingual joke, realized in this cartoon:

(#1)

First, some analysis of the Japanese-Spanish joke. Then some reflections on its appearance, all over the net, in both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking contexts, without attribution to an artist or identification of a source. And, finally, a likely account of its origin, in the Zona Dorado district of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.

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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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