Friday, March 11, 2005

Thick Skins

At first glance, this seemed an odd assembly: Hippos in Magazine Cartoons. I came across this support group while Googling information on Michael Maslin, one of my favorite single-panel cartoonists. I didn't find much, beyond his presence at The New Yorker, and thanks to a hippo in one of his cartoons, a chair at HIMC. It turns out that the page of hippo cartoons belonged to a larger site celebrating the hippo in all things.

But the First Chair belonged to James Thurber with this cartoon:

This is one of the earliest cartoons I remember from my elementary school days. The first thing I noticed was the uncanny resemblance between a hippo and a large dog. The second thing I noticed was the vicious and sweet quality of a Thurber cartoon -- which is a fine description of syndication. You create your strip -- that's the sweet part -- and then you present it to the public (still sweet) and wait for its comment. The critique can be vicious (that's the vicious part), and it's not always easy to hear.

I know that elephants are artists, and I wouldn't be surprised if Hippos shared the same nature.

That would explain their thick skin.