Now at last I turn to last week’s mathematically-themed comic strips. They weren’t very deeply mathematical, I think. But I always think that right before I turn out a 2,000-word essay about some kid giving a snarky answer to an arithmetic problem.
Keith Tutt and Daniel Saunders’s Lard’s World Peace Tips for the 11th has a casual mention of mathematical physics. The description of the strength of the gravitational force between two masses is one of the simplest interesting physics equations that you’ll see.
Rudolph Dirks’s Katzenjammer Kids vintage rerun for the 12th is a slightly hard-to-read joke about the association between rabbits and multiplication and reproduction. There is a neat reference in the first panel to being smart enough to do multiplication without a slide rule.
Rick Detorie’s One Big Happy for the 12th has Ruthie try to teach her brother about number words. What Ruthie seems to be struggling with is the difference between a number and the name we give a number. The distinction between a thing and the name of a thing can be a tricky one, and I do remember being confused at the difference between the word “four” and the concept “four”. What I don’t remember, to my regret, is what thought I had which made the difference clear.
Dave Whamond’s Reality Check for the 12th is a set of mathematically-themed puns and other wordplay.
Nate Fakes’s Break of Day for the 13th is an anthropomorphic numerals joke for the week.
Morrie Turner’s Wee Pals for the 13th is a rerun, of course; Turner died several years ago. It’s a bit of wordplay based on the assonance between “ratio” and “racial”, and I had thought I’d already discussed this strip so far as it needed discussion. I was mistaken: Turner used the same idea for a strip the 24th of June, 2015, but it’s a different joke.
There are a couple more comic strips of mention. I’ll get to them soon. Thanks for reading.
2 thoughts on “Reading the Comics, April 13, 2020: More Words At Play Edition”
In One Big Happy, the boy Ruthie is lecturing isn’t her brother — it’s James, a kid from the neighborhood. Ruthie’s brother is Joe and he’s older than her, so she doesn’t try to teach him things.
Oh, thank you. I’m embarrassed to not have realized; One Big Happy is maybe my favorite three-generations-and-a-dog comic strips.