More Forbidden Subjects

Posted by on January 24th, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Once upon a time, newspaper feature syndicates had a list as long as your arm of subjects cartoonists could not approach in their strips or panel cartoons. Religion, naturally, was high on the list. No more.

Here’s Wiley Miller, f’instance, with a fairly cynical take on the subject in his Non Sequitur.

Stephan Pastis is a little bit more reverent (but not much) in Pearls.

But Bill Griffith takes the theological taboo to task in Zippy. Here are a couple from 2008 and 2009.

“God,” in the form of a clip-art face, showed up often in Zippy in those days. (Probably still does, but, alas for me, I no longer see Zippy regularly in a local paper.)

Last fall, I ran into Griffith at the Ohio State University’s triennial Festival of Cartoon Art, and I asked him if his portrayal of God as a shard of clip-art brought reader reaction by the trove.

Nothing. God in Zippy upset no one. “You can picture God,” Griffith said, “but you can’t say He doesn’t exist. It’s hard to upset people these days,” he concluded.

I dunnno: the clip-art God seems pretty appropriate for a secular society like ours. Maybe that’s why no one protests.

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