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Cartoon about Ape in Labratory

Hi! Thanks for coming by!

This week's comic is decidedly a cartoon. Cartoons are distinct from certain other visual comics in that they purposely minimize or even eliminate detail from their drawings. Charles Schultz is a good example, and so is Gary Larson. An artist (or an illustrator, let's say) who sought to re-render one of Larson's or Schultz's comics to have accurate perspectives, anatomies, clothing folds, etc. would of a certainty be able to do a good job, and they might create something interesting to look at.

Yet a work like that, a fully-rendered set of four panels of Lucy pulling away the football from Charlie Brown again, would not have anywhere near the same reading experience as the original. By skipping details, by purposely leaving out or minimizing what is drawn, the good cartoonist gives the reader the opportunity to skim the comic. The reader can view all the lines in the panel in a couple seconds, and the reader will know what is going on, who is doing what, etc. in a single short moment before going on to the next panel, etc.

This intentional minimization of details allows the cartoonist to wield one of the important tools of comedy: timing. By reading the four panels in a flash, the reader can easily imagine the experience of the comedic moment in about the same amount of time as if the moment was played in front of him.

In contrast, a reader (even one unfamiliar with Schultz) who was reading our imaginary illustrator's fully-rendered four-panel version of Lucy and Charlie would likely get caught up in the details of each panel, and the humor would be lost (well, I'm pretty sure). The timing of the reader going from panel to panel as they read the dialog, and then swept their eyes over the rest of the lines, seeing each blade of grass, seeing the subtle twist in Lucy's torso as she places the football on the ground, along with her enigmatic smile, seeing Charlie's expression of confusion and excitement, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

It'd take like two minutes to get through four panels of that, I think, and by that point the reader wouldn't get the comedy in the same way as he would from Charles Schultz's original.

Anyway, as far as this week's cartoon goes, I firmly believe that a joke which needs explaining isn't much of one, so I'm just going to not explain it.

Thanks for visiting! See ya next week!

Comic transcript

The laboratory is a well-known setting for the kind of illustrated humorous cartoon we see before us today. We see scientists, we see lab coats, and even if we don't exactly know what it is that the scientists are doing or studying we know that the scientists are either very smart or very dumb, and if they're in a cartoon, we know they're researching some thing that is likely very obvious or very mundane.

In the first panel, then, we see an obvious ape, He is in a room, alone, we think, and he is typing on a computer. (p.s. I presume it's understood that the word "ape" signifies a primate without a tail, and "monkey" is a primate with a tail)

In the second panel, we see that the ape is lost in thought, thinking about a banana, a common love-object for furred primates. A scientist (we know this because of his lab coat) stands behind him, arms folded. Also in the distance are two other people in a room, watching.

In the third panel, the scientist is whacking the ape repeatedly with a rolled-up newspaper, and the ape is reacting with conspicuous alarm.

In the fourth and final panel of our cartoon, the same ape is in a cage behind a chain-link fence. There's a round moon in the sky, and the ape is gazing up with a wistful expression, still thinking about the banana from panel two.

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