1. Are her eyes missing, or just covered by the bonnet? I’m not 100% sure, but I think they’re missing. She can see through her missing eyes, which have somehow ended up as charcoal in a BBQ in Texas. They seem like supernatural visions, but it’s just a BBQ.

  2. @ Bill – Actually, both Texans and Canadians probably get most of their charcoal from old growth sources in third world countries, but they may not know it, since the importers try to cover their tracks.

  3. It could be her eyes, since she doesn’t appear to have any, but I initially read it as her seeing the fate of the other snowperson’s dearly departed. A medium contacting the spirit of the dead and all that.

  4. Missouri has a significant charcoal industry in the areas near the oak and hickory areas in the southern part of the state. They produce a lot of lump charcoal (the best).

  5. She is billing herself in the window as “The Oracle“, so perhaps she deliberately sent her eyes off to other places to gather information (sort of like the gags that the “Toy Story” movies did with Mr. & Mrs. Potatohead’s eyes).

  6. Oddly enough in the yellow caption at upper-left, note that a letter “i” appears to be missing its dot. Was that made of charcoal as well? 😀

  7. @ Grawlix – Both of them, I think: that one seems to be all lowercase. Maybe they rolled off to form the ellipsis at the end. But I’ll accept typos (or “pen”-os) from any cartoonist who is still willing to do hand-lettering.

  8. Lettering should never get in the way of communication, and some cartoonists have such atrocious handwriting it makes their comics almost impossible to read (eg: Ernie Pook’s Comeek). I appreciate good, hand lettering, but I see no shame in furthering the communication of your ideas by using clear and legible type. In some cases, I imagine it was much more difficult to go the printed lettering route, but the author did it anyway for artistic purposes (eg: Barnaby), and I applaud the effort.

    Overall, of course, the lettering is just one aspect that the artist can control to bring across his artistic vision; done well, “primitive” illustration can be incredible (eg: Maus); even Peanuts was was revolutionary for the time because of its non-cluttered, “simple” artwork.

    But the line between artistic vision and “I can’t draw” seems to be blurred very often, and I just dread, dread, dread some of the high brow comics that seem to get all the praise (see just about any year of The Best American Comics Series ® — some years those things are just a chore to read, which is odd, because all my life reading comics has always been a delight).

    A lot of the single panel stuff that shows up here seems to me to fall into the “I can’t draw” camp, but seems to be getting cover for lack of talent because all the comic snobs think it must be a work of genius. Let’s be real here: go, learn to draw, use typed lettering, and clearly communicate your ideas, so we can unambiguously decide if you have talent or not. THEN you can deliberately draw badly if it furthers your vision.

  9. @ larK – You make some very good points, but there are cases in which one can compare the two. For example: “Mutts” is a wonderful, minimalistically drawn comic, yet McDonnell’s switch from hand lettering to an imitation handprint font has seriously damaged the depth of expression that his dialog balloons used to carry. The defect is not in the letters themselves, but in the way that he seriously overuses boldface, indiscriminantly applying it all over the place, both to emphasize words, as well as to highlight other words in which the emphasis breaks the cadence of the dialog he has written. Back when he was lettering by hand, bold required more work, or at least a change of nib, and was therefore employed much more sparingly.

  10. Using boldface all over the place is a long-standing tropism of the worst kind of comic books and never fails to irritate me when found in higher-quality media.

  11. @ Dave in Boston – I remember when I discovered that MAD Magazine (R!I!P!) was unable to end any of their sentences with a period! Instead, they always used an exclamation point!

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