15 Comments

  1. All I can think of is that it actually IS a Satan/ Suntan visual pun.

    Not too sure about that, though.

  2. Maybe because the devil is often depicted as red, so this way he maintains his all-over burn?

  3. I was going to make a snotty (sarcastic) comment about the “elaborate” coloration in this panel (using three colors!), but a quick review of past examples of Deering’s output shows that his drawings aren’t always “bad”, they are just highly variable. The “Popeye” cartoon was fairly well drawn, and well colored to boot, but the “chipmunks” were painted solid brown. I can’t think of another comic in which the artwork is that uneven.

  4. I don’t know if it makes any difference to the joke, but Is that a window in the background or a painting?

  5. @ Folly – No matter whether he’s at “home”, or visiting some tanning salon, I think it has to be a painting. Sun over the water doesn’t seem to be a scene he would have in his own “abode”.

  6. P.S. @ Daniel – I recognized that as a quote from “Wreck-It-Ralph”, but I’m not sure whether the joke in the movie was playing on an earlier antecedent from some movie or video game. Do you know?

  7. Hell is generally depicted as underground, how else is he gonna keep that rosy skintone?

  8. I think dvandom has it. When you want a tan and there’s no sun available, you go to tanning salon.

  9. I took this as poking fun of the “incomplete hint word” trope.

    For example, if a chef is pouring some sauce from a bottle, and the label’s bottle shows the incomplete text “ONEY”, it’s a good bet that the sauce is “honey” (and not “money” or “phoney”).

    This cartoon is making fun of that. If you see a devil creature with the text “TAN” nearby, then that’s clearly the latter half of “satan.”

    …Or is it?

  10. Having just said that, I’ve wondered for decades if the bottle label in the following “The Far Side” cartoon is supposed to read “ON” (the opposite of “OFF”, a popular bug repellent), or as part of the word “HONEY” (which is obviously not ideal for repelling insects):

    Which do you think it’s supposed to be?

    (The caption reads: “Wait a minute! … McCallister, you fool! This isn’t what I said to bring!”)

  11. The inversion (turning “Off” into “On”) was a common feature in many “Far Side” cartoons. Besides, If Larson had intended it to be a can of honey, then he would have put the whole word on the label. Granted, he had a talent for confusing people, but I cannot remember a panel in which he deliberately attempted to confuse the reader.

  12. I thought the “On” cartoon was hilarious when I first saw it. The mere idea of a product that was the opposite of “Off”.

    But since the Internet I have noticed that anything, no matter how strange, is somebody’s fetish. Somewhere there is someone, or maybe lots of people, who would buy a can of “On” if it were available.

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