Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roving Ova

Today's Bizarro cartoon takes place in the local chicken coop, and illustrates a  simple rhyming pun.
My submission sketch for this gag used a wide-angle view of the henhouse, and showed the eggs lifting the chicken from her nest.
Each version works in its own way. Bizarro's creator Dan Piraro chose to zoom in on just two characters, which was a wise decision in the name of graphic economy. The simple barnwood walls and boxed nests clearly establish the setting. The third, oblivious chicken, and the expanded view of the scene aren't really necessary to deliver the gag.

I had a feeling this one might go over with Dan, as he'd done comics about the phrase "restless leg syndrome" in the past, using such variations as restless peg, and restless pants. The condition was also referenced when the annoyingly talented and prolific cartoon machine known as J.C. Duffy filled in last year as a Bizarro guest cartoonist. Dan's blog post from November 2013 provides information on an effective home treatment for RLS. 

In recent weeks, I've been reading Sigmund Freud's 1905 book, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, to see if I could learn some things about humor and its creation. 
As you might imagine, it's a pretty dry volume. However, it does occur to me that today's gag seems to fit in with Siggy's description of one type of joke-making as "bewilderment and illumination."
The comic effect is produced by the solution of this bewilderment, by understanding the word. [Theodor] Lipps (a German philosopher and university professor, and a contemporary of Freud's) adds to this that this first stage of enlightenment—that the bewildering word means this or thatis followed by a second stage, in which we realize that this meaningless word has bewildered us and has then shown us its true meaning. It is only this second illumination, this discovery that a word which is meaningless by normal linguistic usage has been responsible for the whole thingthis resolution of the problem into nothingit is only this second illumination that produces the comic effect.
That long-winded explanation reminds me of a briefer, more memorable quote attributed to E.B.White:
Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.
On that grumpily academic note, we'll close today's scholarly post, and remind you to wander the aisles in this blog's Bizarro Research Library, where you can find our earlier collaborations.
Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

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