Thursday, August 1, 2013

Psychology of Comics

Source: Caricatura.Ru


This comic is a bit "sharp" (pardon the visual pun), but it is an excellent example of how comics have long since depicted the perceived funniness in a situation that might otherwise arouse passionate discourse. 

Rather than providing a detailed analysis of the challenges surrounding global educational reform, this comic depicts the growing aversion parents, teachers, students, and administrators have toward today's "cookie-cutter" teaching methodologies. 


Utilizing Craik and Ware's (2007) table of humorous styles, we can identify the most common traits or components of humor in comics. According to the 10 styles of humorous conduct, the above comic represents a "Socially cold humorous style". 

  1. Socially cold humorous style
    • Smiles grudgingly. Responds with a quick, but short-lived smile. 
    • Is a ready audience but infrequent contributor of humorous anecdotes. 
    • Has a bland, deadpan sense of humor. 

  1. Socially warm humorous style
    • Maintains group morale through humor. 
    • Has a good sense of humor. 
    • Uses good-natured jests to put others at ease. 
    • Relative to other traits, displays a noteworthy sense of humor. 
A positive alternative to this comic depicts the same "cookie-cutter" or "sardine-like" challenge with a solution that inspires camaraderie among those who have looked to home schooling as an alternative to the situation. 

© Jason Holm (2007)

In addition to the socially warm humorous style Jason Holm's comic presents an alternative to the perceived challenge, this comic demonstrates a more competent humorous style in its witty and ready repartee. This comic presents a clever retort (home schooling alternative) to the problems surrounding mass education.

CHARLES SCHULTZ (1923 - 2000)

Charles Schultz's Peanuts Snoopy and Charlie Brown Daily Comic Strip Original Art dated 8-15-55 (United Feature Syndicate, 1955) is an allegory depicting mainstream reactions to the starch mannerisms of mass educators in the 1950s.

In the Peanuts cartoons, teachers were continually depicted as boring, monotonous, wah, wah, wah-type educators that bored students to tears.

Peanuts Snoopy and Charlie Brown (1955)
Charles Schultz
Drawing, dated "8-15-55"
Hammer price: $ 13,000; €9,015, £7,891
Sales date 08-18-2011
Auction house: Heritage Auctions, USA
Source: Artprice

Good Grief -- the things a dog has to do just to get a treat! 

"I'd always been drawing little dogs in the [Li'l Folks] strip, so I named one Snoopy, the one I would be using the most. The real dog who was the forerunner of Snoopy was named Spike. He was bigger than the beagle that Snoopy turned out to be, but he was kind of a wild dog marked in a way similar to Snoopy." ~Charles Schultz

Part of the charm of the early Snoopy episodes is the much more "realistic" behavior of the beloved beagle. 

Yousuf Karsh
Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery
in recognition of Schultz' impact on millions of people around the world
©2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts, a renowned American comic strip, served in the army during World War II, later becoming an art school instructor and then a free-lance cartoonist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Saturday Evening Post. 

In 1950, Schulz sold the Peanuts strip to United Features, and it became the most widely-read comic in history, appearing worldwide in over 2,000 newspapers. 

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