Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Inadvertent surrealism in the comics

Via Boing Boing:

A blogger named Michael Leddy has been tracking odd things in the
Hi and Lois comic strip, such as the Escher-like perspective of the hot dog cart in this panel.

At first I wondered if it was another
Ernie Bushmiller situation. Bushmiller created the "Nancy" comic strip and drew it pretty much up until his death in 1982. The later "Nancy" strips (late 1970s, early 1980s) tended toward the bizarre, with amazing non-sequiters and indecipherable jokes.

One example that I remember but cannot locate online:

Frame 1: Nancy is smiling and walking calmly across the living room floor.

Frame 2: Aunt Fritzi is cooking in the kitchen. She looks alarmed because there is a loud scream of "EE-YOW" coming from the living room.

Frame 3: Drawing is almost identical to the previous frame. Aunt Fritzi asks, "Nancy, are you all right?" and a response comes from out of the frame, "Yes, Aunt Fritzi. I just tripped on some gum."

Frame 4: Nancy is sitting in the middle of the living room floor. Near her on the floor is a black gumball sphere. Nancy says, "That piece of gum I bought at the store yesterday."

I cannot for the life of me find any joke in this sequence. It was just bizarre. Taking this along with the large number of similarly obtuse strips, I just wrote it down to age or Alzheimer's or both.

But according to "Hi and Lois" distributor King Features, "Hi and Lois" is currently being written and drawn by the Mort Walker and Dik Browne's sons. So I guess that rules out the Alzheimer's theory.

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