Cartoon critics Phil Witte and Rex Hesner look behind the gags to debate what makes a cartoon tick. This week our intrepid critics take a look at evolution.
With recent political events unfolding across the U.S., dramatic changes in our body politic seem to mutate daily. In one area, however, we can take refuge in the stately pace of change…evolution.
Our own co-blogger, Phil Witte, conjures up an anachronistic conception of evolution–with period-specific examples. We can imagine Aristotle himself wielding the pointer given his legendary expertise in zoology.
We’re fairly certain the first sea animals to flop on land had no training in terrestrial respiration. Somehow they persevered and succeeded, but did they have outside help? P.C. Vey offers an off-beat yet oddly plausible explanation.
The king of evolution cartoons, Mick Stevens, topped himself by combining multiple concepts in a single cartoon. Cartoon cliches collide with abandon in this incongruous scenario. And just how is that flippered creature expected to gain entrance into a slippery glass fishbowl?
In the caption-less world of John O’Brien, his drawing must both tell the story and deliver the gag. His engraving-like style provides a timeless quality that supports his mind-boggling premise. We don’t know where that river might be, but we plan to avoid it.
Cartoons depend on shared experiences. We’ve all spent head-scratching moments in front of a complex map with the maddening “You are here” designation. Robert Leighton takes us on a time machine trip to the primordial past. How would you advise this perplexed hominid?
Cavemen are a recurring theme in the hands of our favorite cartoonists. Here, David Sipress probes an emerging smugness in this interaction between our differently-evolved ancestors. Not many genomes separate these two creatures…or us, for that matter.
Evolutionary superiority manifests itself in ways big and small. It could be anything from tool-making to opposable thumbs. Mort Gerberg illustrates a unique differentiator between these two cave-dwelling couples.
How quickly we can understand a million years of evolution at a glance. But then we look more closely at gag-master Bob Mankoff’s parade of evolving creatures; we notice the impish trick designed to take the prideful human down a notch.
Though the Olympics are currently on hold, it’s easy to recognize the iconic tri-tiered award platform. Occupying the top step is a clear winner in the evolutionary race for dominance. The fevered imagination of master cartoonist, Jack Ziegler, fills in the rest of the hierarchy—medals and all.
Cartoonists often mash up two cartoon cliches to pull off one gag. Trevor Hoey seamlessly blends the time-honored police line-up with classic evolutionary characters. It’s difficult to make out the height of the two-footed fish-out-of-water.
So far, our cartoonists feature creatures who are associated with a continuum of changes over time. Not Edward Steed. This iconoclastic artist has chosen to tackle the evolution of…owls. Go ahead; it’s not too late. Join the tour already in progress.
In our final cartoon, Peter Steiner obviously believes in the great circle of life. After millions of years of adapting to life on land, some creatures are having second thoughts. Who can blame them?