Monday, January 11, 2010

The Wordless Gag

I have a huge amount of respect for syndicated cartoonist Mark Tatulli, who's comic strip Lio is completely wordless. It's a rare, rare event that I can come up with a gag so perfect that it doesn't require the written word. This is probably why I'm so fond of today's strip.
Of course, if we're talking cartoonist who can sell a gag without words, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my cartooning idol: Sergio Aragones. For nearly 50 years, Aragones has been providing wordless gags to Mad Magazine. His gags have run in the magazine's margins as well as on pages dedicated solely to him. Aragones also created my all-time favorite comic book Groo the Wanderer. He's the cartoonist I'd like to be when I grow up.


  1. I, too, am always impressed when I can read a funny comic without actually reading anything. Making a successful strip without words is the highest form of visual humor (Seth Rogen may beg to differ, but his brand of visual humor is not exactly G-rated).

    It reminds me of books I've seen with no dialogue and how impressed I've always been with them. Notable examples are "Flotsam" and "Tuesday" by the children's author David Wiesner, who I think is brilliant.

  2. You're going to have to grow a stellar mustache if you want to be like Sergio.

  3. Arie, I think you're well on your way to growing up to be just like Sergio. By the way, is he still doing comics for Mad? He was by far my favorite cartoonist in that magazine and not just because you idolized him so much.

  4. Eric, we're big fans of Wiesner at our house. The guy practically wins a Caldacott with every book he publishes. (My favorite is his take on the three pigs.)

    Kelsey, Aragones' mustache is stellar, isn't it?

    Jena, Senior Aragones is still very much working. In addition to Mad Magazine and the occasional Groo miniseries, he's also doing a Simpson comic book as well as all sorts of other random projects--not bad for a 72-year-old guy.

    If I had to pick the one artist that has most influenced my style, it would have to be Aragones. I spent countless hours aping his work during my formative years.

  5. If I had to pick one artist who has most influenced my style it would be whoever first invented the stick figure people (maybe someone from the Neolithic period?)

  6. And for some crazy reason, Eric's drawings of stick figures always beats Arie's Sergio Aragones cartoon figures everytime in Van De Graaff pictionary. Why do you always have to win Eric?!?!