This is one of those concepts that evolved over time.
The sketch I submitted (above) was based on a famous image from Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film The Seventh Seal.
|Bengt Ekerot and Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal (1957)|
The idea of gambling against death as depicted in The Seventh Seal is frequently parodied, and has become familiar through those very spoofs. People who have never seen the original film and know nothing about it still have enough awareness of the concept to make the joke work, similar to the cartoon we did referencing The Graduate.
I'd been playing around with a joke built on Death resenting people trying to cheat him for a long time, beginning with this unpublished New Yorker style cartoon from 2007:
Apparently, my brain had been quietly processing this for nearly four years, and spewed it out again, with the joke finally seeing print today. The 2007 drawing mashes up two stock characters: The Grim Reaper and a psychiatrist. Had I placed them on a desert island, it would have been a gag cartoon hat trick.
My next collaboration with Dan will appear on Sunday, and it's one of my recent favorites.
The fifty-odd (!) cartoons we've done together are all viewable in this blog's Bizarro Archive.