Merry Christmas, everyone.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
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.
John Oates and Andrew Ridgeley spent a lot of times in celebrity kitchens during the 80s.
I only ever drew two Halloween-themed thumbnails. The first I posted a while back. Here’s the second.
You can see why, really.
“Umm… trick or treat?”
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…
“Well, well, well. Lovely web you got there, guv’nor. Shame if anyfink happened to it…”
If it’s illicit, it’s grounds for humour. And an act can be have just as much a double meaning as a spoken sentence. Why would a monster hide under the bed? Well, here’s another possible reason…
“You know, I’m 18 now. You don’t have to sleep under the bed anymore.”
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…
“If there’s no life on other planets, then you tell me what’s happened to our tyres.”
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.
“Where do I see myself in 5 years? What is this, some kind of sick joke?”
And back again to the aliens, the invasions, the raspingly fierce social commentary……
One day, computers will take over our lives, and everything will be in the cold, metallic hands of machines that can be persuaded to elect George W Bush and Donnie Drumpf.
And then nobody is getting laid.
“I’m sorry, but the computer seems to consider you a ‘fatal error’.”
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.
So, it appears that even in the early days of Facebook, it was a senseless narcotic that took over everybody’s lives……
Actually, I quite like this one. It has that Punch magazine combination of ordinary people fervently doing the exactly wrong thing for the best reasons. Plus, spiritualism is just funny to me.
“Gerald… Gerald… If you can hear me, update your Facebook profile…”
Alien invasion, check. Cannibalism, check. Bait-and-switch scenario, check. It’s like a wet dream for second rate cartoonists, this one.
Of course, I could lie awake at night, dreaming of being a second-rate cartoonist……
“Come in, Ambassador. We’ve been expecting you.”
Cartoon psychiatrists. Bless ’em.
“How would you feel if I suggested that this brains fixation you’re manifesting
has something to do with your mother?”
I suppose any large organisation has its own ridiculous traditions and superstitions, but let’s be honest, religion starts with ridiculousness and superstition, and builds from there. Transubstantiation– the idea that the wine and wafer is transformed, purely by belief, into the body and blood of the person they purport to worship– is not openly ludicrous, it’s downright creepy.
Still, nobody ever said lunacy was a bad subject for comedy…… (Also, I have no idea why the priest should be 15 feet tall. Thanks, perspective!)
“These home brand wafers always taste slightly like Simon-who-was-called-Peter to me.”
Aliens are funny. I’ve a whole collection of books devoted solely to science fiction, space, and alien cartoons. The truth that we all avoid, as SF fans, is that the entire genre is, essentially, ludicrous. Sometimes it’s nice to stop being so damned serious about the whole thing, and scribble something silly.
Clearly, I was also very sick of being remotely talented that day……
“I’m full, but it’s so delicious I just can’t stop picking!”
Flipper sucked, dolphins are bastards, and tuna tastes good. Get over it.
“Now, remember, your motivation is to stick the bomb under the ship…”
To say I grew up surrounded by groundlings would be unnecessarily harsh to those few friends I did make, and who went on to better things. So let’s say I grew up surrounded by groundlings and a couple of other people.
Clearly, as this cartoon shows, I recovered from the experience.
“I don’t care what your common-law wife says, ‘Condoms of the Inner-City Waterways’
is not an appropriate subject for a year 5 nature presentation.”
One of the very few cartoons I managed to get to complete, inked status, and one of the few I’m actually proud of. I got this one right. If I’d managed to hone my skills to this level every time, I might have made something of the hobby, instead of the pifflingly few sales I actually did make.
So it goes.
Seeing things that aren’t really there. A common human occurrence, which I’m sure has no basis in the fact that we are all weaselly little malcontencts with ideas above our station who have been raised on a diet of Disney bullshit abduction fantasies.
None of you are princesses. None of you.
Anyway, here’s a cartoon about seeing things that aren’t there. Or is it? (Bum bum BUUUUUMMMMM!)
Yeah, it is.
“Well, I can see a kitten, and a choo-choo train, and the glorious Gluznunbian War
Fleet come to visit ruination and enslavement on your entire miserable planet…”
Meetings are for people who can’t do things via email. My last workplace was especially fond of them, to the point of non-ironically holding meetings to decide how future meetings would be held. And, of course, as anyone who has ever been subjected to these bullshit reacharound-a-ramas will tell you, if you really want to be miserable in your job, be the guy who misses the vote they inevitably hold the first time you decide it’s all a load of bullshit and decide to wander in late because nothing ever gets decided at these damn things anyway, amirite?……
“Ah, Judas. Come in. I’m afraid you missed the start of the meeting. We took
a vote on who should betray Jesus…”
I’m going to assume there was a reason I was so obsessed with making jokes about telemarketing calls when I was a younger man. Just because I can’t, for the life of me, work out what it was now doesn’t mean I didn’t have one then.
I’ll admit that someone discussing their long-distance provider while standing on the moon has a momentary smile factor, but every neophyte science fiction writer knows that nothing dates your work like references to current technology. This has been your salutatory lesson.
“That’s one small step for man, one… sorry… who are you?… Yes, I’m happy with my long distance provider…”
It is the arrogance of your typical religious type to believe that, if there is any form of omnipotent being, and any type of afterlife created by that being, that the typical religious type flapping his or her gums somehow gets some sort of choice in defining the type of afterlife to which they are sentenced.
All of which is a complete aside to the bitching job I did sketching Hades’ pecs. Just saying, in case he tunes in, but I made him look ripped.
“Would someone please persuade Mister Perkins to give in to the inevitable?”
Relationships are the grist upon which almost all artists mill. And relationships breakups, while they can be tragic, can also be the funniest part of the whole thing– for an outsider. Anthropomorphic relationship breakdowns? Well, that stuff just writes itself.
Also, I have no idea why I have so much trouble drawing humans, hands, cars, buildings, trees and straight lines, but I somehow managed to do a fairly decent job of a bipedal star-nosed mole with its arms crossed getting the hump with its soon-to-be-ex partner. Go figure.
“See other people? We can barely see ourselves!”
This cartoon only works if you know that:
And yes: in my world, donkeys don’t have ears. Shut up.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before, I have no nostalgia for crap children’s TV shows.
Also, I’ve no idea why I started drawing a dolphin.
Whatever Happened To?– Number 37: Skippy.