THUMBNAIL THURSDAY STEALS FROM THE CLASSICS

Charlie Chaplin was once asked how he could make someone slipping on a banana skin — already a worn-out cliche, even in those early cinematic days — funny. You couldn’t Chaplin opined: the way to do it was to set the slip up, then have your victim step over the skin and fall into an open manhole.

So yeah, this is that, except in Heaven. Ta-daaaaaaaaaaa! (Eh: they can’t all be winners).

“Ha!”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY PLAYS ARK BEFORE THERE WAS ARK.

The taming-dinosaurs-for-fun-and-profit game Ark, that is, not the lunatic-belief-held-by-people-who-shouldn’t-be-trusted-with-children Ark.

So, from last week’s ultimate in science, to this week’s ultimate in religious tosh. If you’re going to believe this sort of nonsense, then you have to believe all this sort of nonsense. And as it’s all a bunch of badly written fictional nonsense anyway, it makes it easy to play with.

“How long have those two megalodon been shadowing us?”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY TAKES ITS PROTEIN PILLS AND PUTS ITS HELMET ON

Honestly, given some of the glorious shit we see astronauts get up to in this age of 100% camera immersion, this comes across as unbelievably tame. But I have not a single doubt rattling around my empty skull that some ground control crew somewhere has given in to this temptation when faced with some prima donna space jockey screaming down the comm link at them because the chicken soup nozzle is clogged.

“And would you please stop calling me ‘Major Tom’?”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY GOES ALL WRY NEW YORKER ‘SMILE HUMOUR’

Given my feelings about organised religion, I have to be honest with you: this is a softball so soft I must have been bathing myself every night in New Yorker ‘wry’ cartoons. I genuinely can’t remember anything about this one, but given how long I must have spent drawing all those little details, it must have been a rip-roaring day at the old day job when I scribbled it out.

“Do you ever wonder what you’ll do if you die and go to the great hunting hall of the Vengeful Mraargh and find out we were wrong about all this?”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY IS DRINKING A PINA COLADA AT TRADER VIC’S

I grew up in a bogan colony. I attended a school whose main function was to prepare bogan spawn for a career breaking their bodies in the bogan factories along what is delightfully known as the Kwinana Strip (so-called because it exists to strip otherwise healthy humans of their ambition, physicality, and thinking powers). I went on a bunch of bus rides during my formative years, and not one of them didn’t involve a moon somewhere along the way.

And we all know that where there are moons, there are werewolves…

“No! No! Noooooarrroooooooowwwww…..”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY HAS SOME SEXUAL POLITICS TO SORT OUT

Yeah, look. I wasn’t always the upright, leftie, Captain of Woke you see before you now. And while I’ve come a long way in regards to my understanding of sexual politics, clearly there was a time when the joke was more important than the message.

Anyway: unicorns, virgins, oh the hilarity.

I can’t defend it. It is what I was. 25-ish years is a long time to improve yourself.

“Virgins are over-rated. I like a girl who knows what she’s doing, know what I mean?”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY FORESHADOWS ITS OWN FUTURE

Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo in my best Twilight Zone voice……

I graduated my BA in English in 1991, completely unready to give up on my childhood and enter the workforce. So I did what any non-self-respecting Arts graduate with no prospects does: I added a Graduate Diploma in Teaching, to give me an extra year away from reality. I graduated that with one firm resolve in life: I would never be a teacher.

Give me some props: I lasted twenty-five years.

“I see that you wish to apply for the position of English Teacher, Mr Smith. I see also that you have mis-spelled ‘Teacher’…”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY OBJECTS TO ITS OWN INEVITABILITY

One of the things that kicked off this 2021 determination to get back to Thumbnail Thursday, amongst all my other determinations, was finding a notebook with a bunch of thumbnails I’d forgotten I’d drawn. They’re quite recent, too: sometime in the last four or five years. I’ve no idea what I was thinking, but let’s just say that some of them are much darker than most of my previous work.

Like this one. I can’t recall a single thing about it, but clearly I was having a great day……

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY CHECKS ITS WHITE WHALE PRIVILEGE

Humanity’s war against the animal kingdom needs no introduction, but sometimes, unless you see the trophies, it’s hard to get any visceral sense of it. Thankfully, it’s harder to find decapitated heads on walls, or severed limbs holding umbrellas, than it used to be. Like many of my generation I have seen them, (I have an hilarious story about choosing a new wedding venue because of the sheer shock exhibited when my future wife and I expressed our desire not to be married under a gallery of riven gazelle noggins…) and it’s the mundanity of their presentation that instills the creeping goosebumps as the horror of their appearance– the idea that a normal suburban family would see nothing at all noteworthy in using a hollowed out piece of flesh to store their walking sticks over using, well, almost anything else, is a profound insight into the banality of human evil.

Also, one of my favourite novels is Moby Dick, the heartwarming story of a man driven to insane lengths to revenge himself upon an animal that objected to being speared to death and turned into candles through the medium of the kind of limb removal that people inflict on heffalumps to holds their parasols. Not a huge mental jump to come up with the following, then…

Moby Dick’s front hallway.

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY: WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE.

This one seems to be quite generation-specific, in that I don’t recall many of my peers having send-the-kids-to-bed-while-we-party-in-the-living-room type parties, although maybe it’s just that my friends didn’t want to invite me to them. But I certainly recall any number of evenings as a kid, where I was tucked into some strange bed while adults did strange, arcane adult things in the living room beyond — you know, like eating bits of cheese on sticks and listening to Boz Scaggs albums.

Anyway, I’m not saying I spent those evening rummaging around in drawers and amusing myself by speculating on what I found in the cupboards of Aunts, Uncles, relatives, and strangers that I otherwise would never be given access to. I’m just not saying I didn’t, either…

“Grandpa, what’s an Obersturmfuhrer?”

WELCOME TO THE BUNGLE. AGAIN.

So…… lot of weather we’ve been having lately, innit?……

All right, let’s talk serious shit. I’ve lost my way since our son Blake completed suicide back in September 2019. Of course it’s understandable — Luscious and I have been swallowed by grief, and anybody who can’t understand how that level of grief can affect you has my permission to stay quiet — but the ultimate end of that process is that my life has turned in upon itself and started eating its own tail. Everything that was supposed to be good about coming to Karratha — gaining fitness, writing more, lowering my stress levels, finding my post-50-year-old-future, etc etc and so forth — was destroyed, and what’s more, I didn’t care.

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Continue reading “WELCOME TO THE BUNGLE. AGAIN.”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY STANDS NEXT TO GREATNESS

Fame is a fleeting, and tenuous creature. I have a deep and abiding love for the next-to-famous, the guys who hold the other end of the gold record for the writer-guitarist-lead-singer-handsome-one. The co-stars. The sidekicks. The John Oates’ to the Daryl Halls. The Andrew Ridgleys to the George Michaels. The idea that you can be in fame and talent without necessarily being of it. This, of course, as is the nature of these Thumbnail Thursday posts, predates our current culture, where the preponderence of reality TV means anyone can be famous, regardless of proximity to the merest whiff of talent or charm or worth.

Pity, then, the memories of these fine gentlemen. I’m marginally proud of the fact that you can tell which is which.

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John Oates and Andrew Ridgeley spent a lot of times in celebrity kitchens during the 80s.

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY OFFERS PROTECTION

Ever seen a broken spiderweb and wonder what happened to it? Anthropomorphism is a key component of cartooning: animals that look like humans, and/or behave like them. Of the two, I prefer animals that behave like humans while still resembling animals, but it’s… uh… horses, for… you know…

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“Well, well, well. Lovely web you got there, guv’nor. Shame if anyfink happened to it…”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY TAKES KWINANA TO THE STARS

Growing up in the bogan reservation that was Rockingham in the 1980s, there was always one thing that made life seem liveable– the knowledge that the neighbouring town (I say town. I mean field of burning Holden Torana corpses as far as the eye could see) Kwinana was infinitely rougher, uglier, and stupider. It’s a bottom-of-the-barrel snobbishness that has never left me. Kwinana remains the punchline for any joke involving criminal behaviour, alcoholism, reverse evolution, or knuckle-dragging bogan behaviour in general. Which explains the title of this post….. The cartoon, well, hey: if, as Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor proudly proclaimed, every planet has a North, then it’s likely that every planet has a Kwinana analogue as well. And, sooner, or later, we’ll encounter them.

And then they’ll go to Bali, but that’s another cartoon for another time…

 

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“If there’s no life on other planets, then you tell me what’s happened to our tyres.”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY GETS THE JOB

Anthropomorphism is a gift to cartoonists. From Bill Watterson to Stephan Pastis to Charles Shulz to Walt Kelly, cartoonists have known one thing for sure: turn your everyday hooman into a beastie that walks, talks, obsesses, and generally acts like a hooman, and you’ve tapped into comedy gold. (Okay, nobody told Jim Davis about the comedy bit. You can’t win them all).

Find a way to match your animal character with exactly the things that make its humanity a giant, cosmic, banana skin, and you’ve got something that might actually work. So: mayflies, lifespan of a day. Job interview, standard stupidest question ever. And for once in my misbegotten cartooning lackocareer, I think I nailed something pretty well.

 

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“Where do I see myself in 5 years? What is this, some kind of sick joke?”

IN SPACE, NO-ONE CAN SEE THUMBNAIL THURSDAY

A rare four-panel attempt, here. This definitely fits into the category of ‘I can see what you were attempting…’

I’ve also gone for something wordless, which was a departure from my usual humour– more often than not, my captions were long, probably too long, so this was clearly an attempt to go in a different direction. Which isn’t to say it worked. In fact, let’s not say that at all.

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