Sunday, September 17, 2006


A typical bountiful crop of Sunday silent penultimate panels.

Broom Hilda by Russel Myers
Between Friends Sandra Bell-Lundy
Mutts by Patrick McDonnell
The Born Loser by Chip Sansom
Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis
9 Chickweed Lane by Brooke McEldowney
Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

Not that I'm a cultural illiterate, but I had to check with the Mrs. to understand today's Frazz.

Because if any one knows anything by Goya it's this, "The Third of May."

And, well, that's just not funny at all.

But Mrs. Penultimate Panel knows a thing or two about art that's not mass distributed on newsprint and she suspects that Jef Mallett was trying to reference this one: "Saturn Devouring his Son."

Slightly funnier.

Cultural references are tough. Gary Larson may have been the best at them--for example, the one with Herman Mellville struggling with the first line of Moby Dick ("Call me Bob.") But they need to be very specific and well known to work. In this instance, there's just not enough detail given for the joke to work. It comes across more as intellectual posturing than an actual smart gag. (And Frazz is no stranger of intellectual posturing.)


Blogger uglinessman said...

It is most likely a reference to "Saturn...", as indicated, but there's also a slight possibility that it's a reference to The Nude Maja, which, according to the linked article, is "said to be the first depiction of female pubic hair in Western art."

3:48 AM  
Anonymous GloriousKyle said...

I was expecting to see Sunday's Dilbert on the watch- it wasn't exactly a pause effect, but it didn't feature any action essential to the joke either- just another useless SPP...

I could say the same thing about Sunday's Tiger reprint, but I don't know where to find a link to yesterday's comic.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

For me, dork who did get the Goya reference, the problem was that I didn't realize they were all looking at something posted around the corner.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Nehdeen said...

As I remember, a lot of Goya's later paintings and etchings were dark, surreal, or grotesque, so I don't know if the joke is supposed to reference any one image.

I'd agree that it's hard to do cultural references "right", particularly in something with such a broad readership as comics. I suppose Frazz deserves credit for trying, even if it comes across as posturing most of the time.

The Witches' Sabbath
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
This is Worse

5:14 PM  
Anonymous tina said...

i just read this entry today and it has finally stopped my brain from working on the meaning of this strip. it has been soooo bothering me.

i somehow missed that the teacher was reacting to a drawing posted around the corner. i kept staring at the pics that were visible in the strip and trying to figure out which one was the goya recreation. i can finally rest :D

12:03 PM  

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