I found a treasure trove of old British comics in my attic (Buster, Whizzer & Chips, Beano, Dandy, Jackpot) and I will probably do a post about those another day. But the back of one of them really caught my eye with this anti-smoking campaign directed at kids, that uses classic comic-book hero Superman. His nemesis Nick O’Teen is a brilliant piece of wordsmithery but it is his hat that is a thing of true creative genius.
I have been reading The Far Side cartoons with my kids over the past few months and I have been pleasantly reminded of how truly brilliant, concise and hilarious they are.
In many ways they are the perfect little cartoon haiku. There is so much densely packed into each frame, and that constraint leads to so much creativity from Gary Larson. Some of my favourites are the ones where we are at the tipping point into a moment of action – and the comic promise is so rich. Equally the moments in the aftermath of something have such a bubbly fun energy to them. Of course, one of the things I adore is his fascination with the animal kingdom, and in equal parts his dismay at the sheer stupidity of humans. He truly could see the world from a different point of view.
I now realise what a huge influence they have been on my own comedy writing. The sheer silliness of them, coupled with the lean, clever way he cuts to the core of the comedy is such a delight. A true comic master.
It’s an almost impossible task to pick out favourites, but the one above is the one that started me on my journey through his collected works (and the continued journey through them with my children)
Any favourites of yours that spring to mind?