By Karen Jurgens
This month we will be discussing ideas from comics and cartoons to add to your writing files. How do those entertaining “funnies” inspire us? After I had done research on this topic, I discovered a recurring theme that threads them together. They’re merely snippets and capsules of those literary terms we learned in English class, which we weave through our own writing creations.
Let’s begin with the ten greatest comic book artists of all time. Did you know that everything from action blockbusters to The Lego Movie has had its origin in comics? The Amazing Spider-Man, Powerman (from which the iconic Joker in Batman originates), Giant Size Hulk, Astro Boy, Iron Man, The Twilight Zone, and Captain America are examples of the best-known, flying off the printed page and onto the big screen at the movie theater and at home. You can read all about them HERE.
Cartoons and animated movies are popular on both the web and TV, and a great way to entertain children of all ages. Back in my childhood days, we had cartoons only on TV (does anyone remember the sing-along songs with the bouncing ball?), and we had the comics in the daily newspaper. I especially looked forward to the Sunday edition, which was pages long and in color. I followed my favorites over the years—from Dennis the Menace to Blondie, and Peanuts to Garfield.
The award for my all-time favorite cartoon goes to Cathy…a single, self-supporting female who always struggled to stay on a diet. The funniest strip involved a talking scale that she couldn’t resist stepping on (you might have also had that scale, like I did, back in the 90’s). After she had stressed all that day to find the perfect slimming outfit to wear to a party, she arrived looking gorgeous. Exiting to powder her nose, everyone in the room heard the scale announce—in its booming computer voice—your weight is 145 pounds. How could she face her friends after that? Just remembering her shocked embarrassment still makes me laugh.
Cartoons, however, aren’t penciled just for children…political and editorial cartoons are widespread and have a huge adult following. They embody satire, paradox, irony, allegory, metaphor, and hyperbole, which are brilliantly expressed through their artwork and concise words—and are sometimes communicated just in the drawings alone. You can find them on various websites and in magazines like The New Yorker, U.S. World & News Report, and Reader’s Digest.
Interested in creating your own comic? I actually found a website with step-by-step instructions for exactly how to do it. Click HERE to explore the possibilities. I have always wondered why I never saw a comic strip about a teacher and the funny situations they all face in school every day (hmm, I’ll have to think about that one…). Who knows? Perhaps you can even translate your own experiences into the next great comic strip or cartoon.
In the meantime, we can learn a lot as we laugh our way through the illustrations and animated drawings that inspire creativity to use in our own writing. I hope you enjoy this month’s treasure chest of inspiration and fun.
Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.
Writing Prompt: If I could create a cartoon or comic strip, it would be…
Photos courtesy of everything4less, Webblogs.balt