Today's WaynoVision comic presents a familiar domestic scene, with an apian twist.
This panel is a replacement for an earlier (and much less elegant) gag based on the idea of bees being sexually attracted to flowers.
Last December, I was talking shop with fellow cartoonist Hilary Price over drinks (naturally), and shared some comics I had in the pipeline. We've collaborated in the past, and both enjoy dissecting and analyzing comics. I asked Hilary and her knowledgeable, literate, and funny girlfriend Kristin about this specific panel, because after I'd completed it, it seemed a little crude in its execution. They both agreed, and we brainstormed over other ways to present the premise.
We thought that there were several elements to like in the original version. Depicting worker bees as construction workers was fun; the magazine title Playbee made us giggle; and the plaid Thermos bottle was a nice prop. However, the line "I'd pollinate that!" brings to mind an all-too-common vulgarism that's truly ugly. Also, the worker bees shown here are obviously male and hetero, and the stamen is the male part of a flower's anatomy, so the whole thing breaks down (certainly for an over-thinker like your humble cartoonist).
Riffing on the flower on the magazine cover, Kristin, Hilary, and I then discussed the possibility of working a Georgia O'Keeffe book into the gag. O'Keeffe's paintings of flowers were (and still are) widely interpreted in Freudian terms, as representations of female genitalia—a view the artist rejected. And the drawing in the comic was in fact based on her work. A minute later, Kristin suggested a mother bee discovering an O'Keeffe volume under her kid's mattress. We all laughed out loud at that, and I knew we'd hit gold. The final comic is funnier, subtler, and much more effective, and is a testament to alcohol-assisted collaboration.
I do miss that plaid Thermos, though.
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Once again, while drawing the comic, I had music playing in my mind's ear. This time it was "Momma Bee," by the wonderful Neil Innes, whose music I have enjoyed since my youth.