Thursday, December 5, 2013

Norman Mockwell

Last week, Thanksgiving and Hanukah coincided, resulting in a collaboration that was later coined Thanksgivukkah, which was noteworthy, because it won't happen again until the year 79811 (not a misprint).
Assuming the human race is still around by then, and we haven't transferred our essence to a long-lasting digital format, we probably won't be able to enjoy the next coincidental festivities, assuming the holidays still exist.

It's not very often that Christian and Jewish festivities coincide from a happy coincidence due to the lunar calendar.  There was the time in 2005 when the tail end of Hanukah showed up on the first day of the New Year, which meant that we could share lighting up the candles at the New Year's party.  Unfortunately, we were all busy with the guests, and when the time came to commemorate this occasion, we'd only realized it too late after everyone had left.  At least the chances of THAT happening again is marginally better than waiting for the next mythical Thanksgivukkah.

There's a point to this long-winded entry.  I'm getting to it.

One of the significant traits of this holiday is that we get eight gifts spread out through the week instead of just in one day.  But lately in our household, we've gotten rather lax in our celebration and sometimes even forget to light the ceremonial candles.  (Bad boy!  Slaps hand)  To that extent, we've basically been going around trying to find one large present that'll be suitable enough for our closest relatives.  I got my sister the omnibus collection of the European comic, Aya, the Ivory Coast soap opera set in the 1970s.  (It reads much better when all the stories are together in one comprehensive package and all the divergent plot threads twist and turn amongst themselves)  In turn, I asked for the book version of Hyperbole & a Half, the autobiographical recountings of Allie Brosh who portrays herself as a blobby paintshop girl with fish eyes, hooks for hands and a horn for hair.
Only later did it occur to me that I could've asked for a missing Bloom County album or another Sam & Fuzzy book (which is undergoing a sale of its own), but those can be options for my next birthday.

Me and my sister are easy enough to shop for - just find something good to read, and we're happy as pigs in muck.  But when it comes to my parents, its much more challenging.  My dad is noncommittal to the point of indifference.  He doesn't care whether he's treated to something or not, just as long as we're around to enjoy his company.  My mother isn't as forgiving, but even when prompted for a list of personal items she wouldn't mind getting, it later turned out to be more in the realm of practical items such as specially ordered socks made to fit (she has very small feet), or a computer technician to solve the inconsistency between the address book between her palm device and her computer.  In the end, she admitted that she had no real burning need for any frivolous items that could've been thrown her way.

In short, she was free of want, which is my longwinded way of finding a tenuous connection between the two holidays with the iconic Norman Rockwell portrait of the four freedoms; Freedom of want (the other three being freedom of speech, religion and fear) which has been parodied more times than any other, and needs no introduction.

While bringing this up, it occurred to me that I might as well show some other Norman Rockwell comics that were inspired by cartoonists, but with less obvious influences.  First up is his iconic "Gossip", better known as Telephone, with a wide range of animated faces passing down a quote down the rumour mill until it loops back to its unsatisfied confidential source.

Quino takes a more unconventional method by visually portraying the mangled message route that's likely to occur when taken completely out of context.

Lesser known but equally well-drawn is his Vacation's Over portrait, showing an exited family on their way to camp, and the results after the day's over.

The Family Circus uses a similar tack, only with the usual precocious childhood logic impeding upon the day's end.

I was hoping to find another multi-image painting that would've rounded out to a nice even number three, but could never manage to find one.  To make up for that oversight, here's the winning entries for the captioned comic, which winds up being one of the consistently funny results.  Most of these have maybe one or two good entries that always made me think that they were provided by the founders of Electric Company, since no child could possibly convey such witty dialogue without adult intervention.  (Most likely, their parents had a helping hand, much like today's science fair projects)  I always found these things notoriously difficult to provide the proper punchline to, since the picture was funny enough on its own.  There's plenty of fill-in-the-caption versions of Archie, which are basically dirty lines or long-winded rants that couldn't possibly fit in the balloon, but then again, the online world isn't exactly the same infantile audience they were trying to teach in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. thanks Daniel this was very entertainning