Monday, February 16, 2015

Honeycomb Hideout

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.

Please check in at every Monday for a new WaynoVision panel, and add a micropayment to my bank account. There are hundreds of other great comics on the site as well.

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.


  1. I'd like to add a quote from the late David Carr, which appeared in this morning's New York Times:

    “While writing, shooting, and editing are often solitary activities, great work emerges in the spaces between people.”

  2. I enjoyed both versions - (possibly because my knowledge of flower anatomy is not as in depth as yours.) It did take me a minute to process the Georgia O'Keefe panel, but it was worth the synaptic delay! I agree with you though - there is sometimes something almost magical about a collaborative effort. I always found that to be true in computer programming, though we rarely got to imbibe while brainstorming - it might have helped! Do you sometimes find yourself dreaming of a comic or coming up with a great idea while otherwise emptying your mind - like in the shower? I stumble across solutions to programming problems like that - it always amazed me how the subconscious would continue to work whether it's owner was aware or not!

  3. Denise, you're right. Sometimes you have to step away from a problem and stop thinking about it "directly" to let your brain process it.