19 Comments

  1. Eh, I think it’s just the obvious. The guy just doesn’t have the height to be a literal giant. The joke is that the “training” is for something you can’t train for (becoming freakishly tall). It might have worked better with a more specific reference to sports teams, subverting what the “Giants training camp” is about.

  2. Deety — I am guessing that Winter Wallaby is referring to a character in Norton Juster’s novel THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. Milo encounters an entirely average person who claims to be the world’s tallest dwarf, thinnest fat person, fattest thin person, and shortest giant.

  3. Thanks, IanOsmond. I have to admit, while that title is familiar as a title, I don’t know the content at all 😦 .

    So, does that also shine any light on the aspect CaroZ raises? That is, what is Giants training camp? Just a quick way of referencing a conventional training camp for some sports team called the Giants? Or some kind of Movement-inspired program for kids, to become future giants in STEM or some field, or the community?

  4. There’s almost nothing in the comic to show scale, so how do we know he’s too short to be a giant?

  5. Well, I googled “Giants int Training” and the only thing I hit was training camp for the athletic team

    (I guess “training camp” is a familiar concept for people who tolerate organized sports– but they seem to be places where the actual professional athletes on the team train, and not, as the cartoon implies, some fantasy camp where fans can indulge in a fantasy where they get to pretend they are professional athletes on the team, … or are they both? Or are there more people who don’t tolerate organized sports than I assumed and the cartoonists assumed a “training camp” was one thing and not the other… I suppose there isn’t anyway I’ll ever be able to forget this out without being exposed to information about organized sports, which I don’t think I could tolerate).

    It seems the entire joke is a short guy is in training camp for the Giants (I guess the New York ones are more popular than the San Francisco one…. no accounting for taste) and a training camp is a fantasy getaway for fans. Not particularly worth making.

    I assumed the title is a reference to the Phantom Tollbooth. But I also assumed the line would be completely self explanatory (as it was in the context of the Phantom Tollbooth). The world’s fattest thin man, the worlds smartest moron, the world’s least traveled world explorer, the world’s most open minded racist, etc. etc.

  6. Incidentally, Woozy, there used to be New York Giants teams for two different sports. Then the baseball one moved to San Francisco. Around the same time the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to L.A.

  7. I thought the “NJ/SF Giants’ training camp” reference might be implied but I’m not actually sure, versus training for literal giants which I think is clearer in the comic.

  8. “Incidentally, Woozy, there used to be New York Giants teams for two different sports.” Intolerant of organized sports as I may be, I am a San Francisco chauvinist so I do know that. Anyway… gooooo Seals!

  9. I think that connecting with sports training camps is going down the wrong alley. I think this is just the absurdity of training someone in a job where the only requirement is that you be large. And also that this guy needs to be told that he’s terrible at it because he’s not, you know, “giant”.

  10. The 1939 W. C. Fields movie “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man” has him as a carnival barker announcing “The Punkwat twins! Brentwood is the world’s smallest giant, whilst his brother, Elwood, is the largest midget in the world. They baffle science!”

    There was once an extraordinary man named Adam Rainer who was both a dwarf and a giant, at different times in his life: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Rainer

  11. If memory serves, the fellow in “Phantom Tollbooth” was a little more nuanced. Different doors to his house simply identified him as the Tall Man, the Short Man, the Thin Man, etc. He explained he was a Tall Man to short people, a Short Man to tall people, a Thin Man to fat people, etc. It was about different perspectives.

    Speaking of height: Teller is not a little guy. It’s just that anybody standing near the towering Penn looks below average height.

    Ren and Stimpy did a fairy tale sendup about The Littlest Giant. Eons ago in England, The Goodies climbed a beanstalk and found a regular size man insisting he was a giant. A “petite giant”, but a giant nonetheless.

  12. Incidentally, if you haven’t read THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, it’s worth reading. It’s a kids’ book, so set expectations accordingly, and a good one.

    I suspect there may be a few Kids These Days who might need a little explanation as to what a toll booth even is, if they’re young enough, but I don’t think that would be a significant barrier to enjoying it. As far as reading level, I would call it appropriate for ten-year-olds, adjust upward or downward a few years based on specific child. But I still enjoy it even as an adult.

  13. Within the last week or two I saw the book THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH featured in a sense on a current tv sitcom. A school was honoring a deceased teacher (whose widower is the central character of the show) with a memorial mural. The main part of the image showed her sitting with students around her and that book open and being read or discussed.

  14. The illustrator of The Phantom Tollbooth was none other than Jules Feiffer. How that came about was they lived in the same apartment building.

  15. My feeling was that the cartoonist was making fun of a motivational/inspirational/self-help book or program which might otherwise have been called “Learning to Be a Giant”; some things you can’t learn. Interestingly, Amazon lists a book called Learning to Be White. The only book I see with a title close to Giants in Training is a children’s book series Heroes in Training.

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