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No. 431: Taking Xeroxing pretty seriously

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Taking Xeroxing pretty seriously

First | Previous | 2020-08-15 | Next | Latest

Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/itoons/?comic=431

Strip by: KelpTheGreat

{Calvin and Hobbes are facing each other. The first three panels are identical, except for the dialogue. In the fourth panel, Hobbes opens his mouth.}
Calvin: Grandpa says the comics were a lot better years ago when newspapers printed them bigger.
Calvin: He says comics now are just a bunch of Xeroxed talking heads because there's no space to tell a decent story or to show any action.
Calvin: He thinks people should write to their newspapers and complain.
Hobbes: Your Grandpa takes the funnies pretty seriously.
Calvin: Yeah, Mom's looking into nursing homes.

The author writes:

I'm not sure what trope best explains the original comic, but it's probably somewhere between Biting-the-Hand Humor and Stealth Pun. Regardless, the comic is using Xeroxed talking heads to complain about Xeroxed talking heads - but if you look carefully at the art, you'll notice that, although very similar, the characters are not actually Xeroxed. There are minute differences from panel to panel. I just copied the characters from the first panel into the other three, so now they're perfectly identical (except for Hobbes' mouth, which I transplanted from the original fourth panel onto the new one).

Original Calvin and Hobbes strip: 1987-11-11.

[Ed: I think this is actually a mild case of Writer on Board. Bill Watterson had a protracted battle with his comic syndicate and the newspapers over reduction in page space for comics and the resulting shrinking in the printing size of comic strips. Watterson insisted that comics are an art form that needed to be printed at a certain size to allow enough room for the artist to present the drawings and to convey the artistic intent adequately, rather then being forced to shrink the art just to fit the dialogue in. Many other comic artists would have lost this battle, but Watterson was popular and powerful enough to eventually get his way and be granted a guaranteed minimum reproduction size by the syndicate, leading to his now famous use of enormous artistic splash panels and delicate watercolour work for his large format Sunday pieces. If Watterson had not stood his ground, those comics would never have been published, and probably never created, and Watterson's career may have been cut short by frustration and anger. This is documented in Watterson's The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book (1995, ISBN 9780836204407), the introduction of which opens with this very comic (the original version) to set the stage for the story.]