Of course, when they reprint this in a collection some years down the line, will it make sense to anybody?

Cidu Bill on Apr 10th 2012


Filed in New Yorker, comics, humor | 33 responses so far

33 Responses to “Of course, when they reprint this in a collection some years down the line, will it make sense to anybody?”

  1. Matthew Apr 10th 2012 at 09:11 am 1

    Yes, but a date might help for those who need to look up what was happening around this time. Every artwork has its dated, ephemeral aspects. That’s whut skollerz iz f’r, as Ernest T. Bass might say.

  2. Lalas Apr 10th 2012 at 09:45 am 2

    I don’t know will the Trayvon Martin case itself make any sense in 10 years? It barely makes sense now.

  3. The Ploughman Apr 10th 2012 at 11:11 am 3

    Future readers will probably take it as a quaint joke about how the traditional reaper’s garb is spooky-looking. And they’ll sigh and long for this much simpler time.

  4. Elyrest Apr 10th 2012 at 12:21 pm 4

    All humor has a use-by-date. I often get the joke in old comics only because I was a history major and have some knowledge of the era involved. Hoodies aren’t just connected to the Trayvon Martin case though - they have been banned in many schools for years. It’s really too bad too as they are nice on a cold evening.

  5. DPWally Apr 10th 2012 at 12:31 pm 5

    I initially read Bill’s subject as the comic’s caption. I like it better that way, it would be truly timeless.

  6. Cidu Bill Apr 10th 2012 at 12:57 pm 6

    Actually, 13 years ago, they could have run the same cartoon substituting “trench coats.”

  7. Mike Apr 10th 2012 at 01:16 pm 7

    Let’s not forget the Unabomber

  8. furrykef Apr 10th 2012 at 01:37 pm 8

    I actually went to school in a trench coat once, and it was not more than a year or two after Columbine. I was of course aware of the unfortunate connotations, but for some reason I don’t recall, it was my only option that day. (The coat belonged to my grandfather.) The day went by without incident and with few remarks on it. Probably wouldn’t have been wise to make a habit of wearing it, though — kind of a shame, really, ’cause I liked the coat.

    By the way, the Trenchcoat Mafia actually had nothing to do with the Columbine massacre. The only connection was that one of the shooters had a member as a friend, and without evidence to the contrary we have little reason to believe that the member, let alone the other members, knew or approved of Klebold’s plans. Without knowing the members I can only speculate, but it sounds to me it was an ordinary and reasonably healthy social group. They considered themselves outcasts, but their group was an outlet and their trench coats were a symbol of solidarity. And the ignorant media just had to turn it into a symbol of murder.


  9. furrykef Apr 10th 2012 at 01:40 pm 9

    Oops, I have a correction. I found out just after posting that, while Harris and Klebold weren’t members of the Trenchcoat Mafia, they were in fact wearing trench coats on the day of the massacre. So I guess the media’s confusion was understandable after all. Sorry about that.

  10. Elyrest Apr 10th 2012 at 01:59 pm 10

    I was out of the country when the Columbine shootings took place and although I am aware of them I never internalized much of it. I certainly didn’t remember the trenchcoats or Trenchcoat Mafia. I do remember how silly Jack Abramoff looked in his black trenchcoat and fedora.

  11. Judge Mental Apr 10th 2012 at 02:14 pm 11

    Could they really have ran the same comic 13 years ago substituting “trench coat”? Is the grim reaper’s garb close enough to a trench coat for that to make sense?

  12. mitch4 Apr 10th 2012 at 03:09 pm 12

    BTW, this New Yorker cartoon is done by Robert Mankoff, who is their cartoon editor.

  13. Powers Apr 10th 2012 at 04:19 pm 13

    23 skidoo!

    The artist would appear to be a fan of Georges Seurat.

  14. The Ploughman Apr 10th 2012 at 04:40 pm 14

    I don’t think trench coat would have flown as well in 1999, since Trayvon Martin is the victim of the shooting in this case, rather than the perpetrator.

  15. minor annoyance Apr 10th 2012 at 04:42 pm 15

    As a gradeschooler in the early 60’s, I thought anything with a hood attached was babyish (unless you were climbing an Alp, at war in the Arctic, or waiting on the bench at a pro sports event). I recognized many years ago it had acquired some coolness with newer generations, but to this day it takes torrential downpours to get me to use the hood on my jacket.

    As for dated references, I have a collection somewhere with an Addams cartoon of Pugsley opening a fire hydrant — and that’s it. Beneath, without quotes, were the words Water Shortage. I inferred that the joke was an anti-social Addams brat wasting water when everybody was well aware of a drought; on reprinting they needed that note to clarify what brought that mischief up to Addams level.

  16. John Small Berries Apr 10th 2012 at 10:25 pm 16

    “All humor has a use-by-date.”

    Tell that to the cartoonists who are still making references to kids these days and their baggy pants. I don’t think they got the memo.

  17. Folly Apr 11th 2012 at 12:13 am 17

    Was this comic made on a litebrite?

  18. minorannoyance Apr 11th 2012 at 03:10 am 18

    Speaking of use-by-dates, check out the current Mark Trail story which involves an official mapping a forest with a FILM camera, evidently unaware of digital photography — or, for that matter, Google Maps.

  19. Kilby Apr 11th 2012 at 07:56 am 19

    @ 18 - Even when stacked against modern digital technology, using “real” film for aerial photography has (or had) some advantages. Although the pixel density of the detectors used in digital cameras has increased enormously in recent years, the actual chip dimensions have remained more or less the same. This means that there is effectively less light available for each pixel recorded, which can be countered only to a limited degree by using extravagant optical lenses. This is why one may actually be better off with an older camera for digital pictures recorded in “limited resolution” (such as standard VGA or SVGA dimensions).

    With film, it is (or at least was) possible to use larger negatives (35 or 70 mm or more) with fine-grained film, permitting incredibly detailed resolution. I’ve seen aerial reconnaissance material (over 60 years old) that was every bit as good as “modern” images - except for the fact that it was only in black & white (which, however, has some advantages for reconnaissance purposes).

    P.S. This is probably the first time I’ve ever actually wanted to see a Mark Trail strip. Unfortunately, King Features appears not to offer any online access to any of their comics (you either pay for the fishwrapper, or go without).

  20. Elyrest Apr 11th 2012 at 12:10 pm 20

    Kilby - There are a number of newspaper sites that carry Mark Trail.


  21. Paperboy Apr 11th 2012 at 12:37 pm 21

    Wrong, John Small Berries#16! Unlike the baggy pants, jokes about them still hold up.

  22. The Ploughman Apr 11th 2012 at 12:46 pm 22

    And anything involving something that normally does not wear a hat wearing a hat. Also timeless.

  23. R2T Apr 11th 2012 at 02:52 pm 23

    well hoodies have been associated with hooligans and violent youth for years in the UK as far as I understand.So it wouldnt have to be tied specifically to this current case for humor potential.

  24. Mark M Apr 11th 2012 at 03:54 pm 24

    I still get a kick out of the “So much for global warming” jokes when it’s really cold out. ;-)

  25. George P Apr 11th 2012 at 05:22 pm 25

    There are large sensors for digital cameras. High-end Canon and Nikon DSLRs have sensors the size of 35mm negatives, and you can buy digital backs for medium format cameras that are larger than 50mm x 40mm with 60 megapixels of data. There may be cameras with even larger sensors, but these are all out of my price range, so this is what I Googled up.

    If you spend under $2000 then, yes, the sensors are all smaller than 35mm film, but a camera used for aerial photograph on film probably cost a lot more than that, too.

  26. Morris Keesan Apr 12th 2012 at 07:04 pm 26

    Powers #13: I don’t think Seurat ever worked in black and white. His whole thing was using dots of multiple colors to simulate the impression of a different color, wasn’t it? And his dots weren’t supposed to be this visible.

  27. Elyrest Apr 12th 2012 at 07:33 pm 27

    Morris Keesan - Georges Seurat did work in Black & White, but it was his drawings, not his paintings. Below is an example from the Musee D’Orsay


  28. Morris Keesan Apr 12th 2012 at 10:04 pm 28

    Thanks, Elyrest. That link didn’t show me any pictures, but when I typed “Seurat” into the Recherche box, I saw a few black-and-white ones. I stand corrected — most of what I know about Georges Seurat, I learned from Stephen Sondheim. I’m looking forward to seeing “Sunday in the Park” (the painting, not the musical) again this summer.

  29. Matthew Apr 17th 2012 at 11:36 am 29

    You should go to Chicago and see the painting, too, Morris. It is awesome as is the museum that holds it.

  30. Morris Keesan Apr 17th 2012 at 08:05 pm 30

    As I said, Matthew, I’m looking forward to seeing it again this summer.
    Also revisiting “American Gothic”.

  31. mitch4 Apr 18th 2012 at 08:13 am 31

    Morris, you might want to visit the Caillebotte “Rainy Day” in person as well. It’s my favorite from the AIC.


  32. The Ploughman Apr 18th 2012 at 09:58 pm 32

    I love the AIC! Give my regards to “Nighthawks.”

  33. Matthew Apr 20th 2012 at 10:58 am 33

    Sorry, Morris (#30), I was reading too quickly and reversed your parenthesis–it could’ve caused great pain. I’m glad that it was just momentary embarrassment on my part. I also love AMERICAN GOTHIC (don’t miss the steeple in the background–Wood’s commentary extends in many directions).

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