This Is Balloony

Humor copy can be written in balloons above the speaker's head or as a caption underneath the illustration. The balloon doesn't even have to contain copy, as in Randall Harrison's cartoon which shows a man with an empty balloon above his head, while the balloon above the woman reads: "Richard, you're always so thoughtless."

Humor copy can appear in a wide variety of other forms and places. Here are just a few:

• store window signs

• graffiti on walls

• movie billboards

• outdoor ad billboards

• newspaper headlines

• office desk signs

• tombstones

The sign, which must be very short, is frequently a reformed cliché: Man tunes piano as assistant stands by wearing a T-shirt that

But by far, the most frequent use of sign copy is as a setup for a take-off remark:

Tourist reading sign on castle: Begun 1072. Completed 1250. "Must have been the same contractor who's remodeling our bathroom."

Devil to associate hanging up sign: All hope abandon, ye who enter here. "It just occurred to me that it would be even more hellish if we left them just a little bit more hope." —Lorenz

As new technology is introduced, so are new opportunities for placing humor copy.

Writer reading message on computer screen: "This is a terrible story. I refuse to take part." —David Jacobson

For maximum sales opportunities, the site must be timeless—kitchens, business offices, classrooms, street corner conversations, etc. Some locales are too topical and may be rejected on that basis alone. Scenarios like a hippy commune, a gas station with energy crisis jokes, or a submarine investigating the Titanic site are dated and unsalable now.

Even the characters in the cartoon must fit stereotyped perceptions. For example, business-types are all predictable (and the images aren't very flattering): the big boss is bald and corpulent, the administrative employees are thin, timid, and bifocaled, the secretaries are well-endowed females, and the factory workers wear hard hats.

Eileen Hoover's research indicated that cartoon humor in mass maga reads: "Tuner Helper.

—Estes zines is not yet comfortable with women in executive positions, or as doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists, and politicians. Unfortunately, the occupation roles of women in most cartoons continue to be secretary, salesclerk, maid, waitress, teacher, nurse, and chorus girl. As homemakers, they can thread a needle but can't park the car in a narrow garage. They continue to hen-peck their husbands and burn the chicken, although a number of them would rather reverse that procedure.

Cartoon stereotyping follows the current lifestyle. When a majority of cartoons reflect new roles, then history can more accurately record that these roles are widely acceptable in our society. For example, husbands are now much more involved in housekeeping. The following cartoon caption reflected the sixties but wouldn't be as funny in the eighties:

Husband to wife in hospital bed holding newborn infant: "The house is just as you left it—a mess!"

Two common difficulties that beginning artists have result from carelessly drawn illustrations. Since the artwork appears fairly primitive, they frequently forget the need to make it clear in the drawing which of the characters is speaking. Also, the integrity between the text and the illustration is often lacking—many just don't seem to fit well together.

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