Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Intelligent Comics

On my internet homepage I often take a look at some of the latest comics.  Probably my favorite is the single panel cartoon "Bizarro" by Dan Piraro and Wayne Honath.  They give us a surreal, bizarre look at life that continues in the tradition of the "Far Side" comics.  I find them to be very intelligent cartoons that often rely on clever word play.  I sometimes wonder if today's young people have the cultural background or range of vocabulary to understand them.

For example, have today's youth ever heard of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and its protagonist Quasimodo?

I have noticed that a number of the "Bizarro" cartoons rely on one's understanding of a bit of basic French vocabulary or French expressions that have entered the English language.

A pun on "esprit de corps"... a feeling of pride and loyalty shared by members of a group

A pun on "raison d'etre"...reason for being

A similar single panel comic strip is "Brevity" by Dan Thompson.

To get the humor here, you have to know the mythological story of the Greek warrior, Achilles, and be familiar with the expression "Achilles heel".

The humor of this panel is lost on you if you are not familiar with the classic Orson Welles film "Citizen Kane" which was based on the life of publisher William Randolph Hearst.

Sometimes I don't get the humor at first.  I had no idea what an "oddam" is.  I even googled "oddam" and got nothing.  It wasn't until just now that it dawned on me that the figures are all "ODD" numbers.

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