Friday, August 30, 2013

Drawing Jokes

Cartoon humor is essentially a "drawn joke."  Cartoons represent a pictorial aspect of a joke with its symbolic nature - both are necessary to make the cartoon funny. 

©Robert Thaves was the creator of the comic strip 'Frank and Ernest'

In the field of humor research, there are few studies focusing entirely on cartoons; the majority of the research focuses on the verbal or psychological aspects of humor. Typically, scholars in the field of humor utilize the cartoon as a visual reminder of the why the subject is interesting in the first place or to break up complex or analytical text (i.e., humor's foil). 

RR Behrens (1977) stated that "visual wit" wasn't visual: Cartoon drawings and comic strips are considered verbal humor embellished with a picture, and the pictures by themselves as not humorous. Obviously, as in the case of the cartoon below, this definition overlooks purely pictorial cartoons that have or need no verbal elements to make them funny. 

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