The Topic At Hand: This Is A Test

kids trick-or-treating in a neighborhood of vacant homes

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13 responses to “Initiation”

  1. Mick says:

    You're scarin' me now!


  2. Mimi Pond says:

    GREAT! LOVE IT! Nice color.

  3. julia says:

    It's a ghost town.

  4. martaszabo says:

    Great one, Liza! Have no idea how you do this! Great! m

  5. terrific cartoon. Very dark! I love Liza donnelly's work.

  6. Lizad says:

    Thanks, all. Katha, I love YOUR work.

    My question, when doing this drawing, was: should these kids be alone? Should there be pumpkins at each house? Actually, my original idea was to have the signs say “Foreclosed”, but that's too long to write on a tiny sign several times. Would be hard to read. Figured “For Sale” was just as true, and maybe more relatable for more communities. I see a lot of empty stores in our town and for sale signs.

    • I really like that the kids are alone. It reminds me of the high school graduation scene in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It takes place at night, outside, and nobody is there except the students, the principal, and the mayor. Empirically, it makes no sense, but mythically, it's perfect, because after all, graduation isn't about the parents, it's about the kids, even though the parents are usually there.

      Similarly, having the kids be alone here adds a bleakness that I love. There is nobody there to explain to them why they aren't going to get any candy. Not only does that say something realistic about what it's like to grow up, but it posits the kids as surrogates, if you will, for the way adults feel disoriented and confused by what has happened to the economy. There isn't really that much of a gap… and the fact that the kids are, in a sense, begging for food is just perfect in that regard.

      • Lizad says:

        I have to say I love hearing cartoons analyzed, contrary to EB White's proclamation that analyzing humor is like dissecting frogs: nobody likes it and the thing dies (actual quote: “Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.”). You point out things I don't know about what I've done, or at least I don't consciously know it. I try things on in my mind–such as putting parents or other kids in–and it just doesn't feel right, so I leave them out. You're right about certain situations, such as Halloween, being a kid world (I hate parents who dress up on Halloween) and your observation about begging is really good.
        This is why I am enjoying posting cartoons on the internet and getting responses–it informs me about what I am doing or not doing.

  7. Julia Suits says:

    Just saw this. Reminded me to look for your “Dinosaur's Halloween”, one of my kids' favorites when they were wee.

  8. Lizad says:

    Hi Julia, Thanks! Dinosaurs' Halloween might be out there, not easy to find. I want to get it republished…Thanks for your comments!!

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The Author

Liza Donnelly

Liza Donnelly is a contract cartoonist with The New Yorker Magazine . Her work has appeared in many other publications and exhibitions world-wide. Her cartoons are regularly featured on, and wOw, and she is the editor of World Ink , a section of Donnelly's most recent book is When Do They Serve The Wine? (Chronicle). She also wrote Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists And Their Cartoons(Prometheus), a history of the women cartoonists of the magazine; and Sex and Sensibility: Ten Women Examine the Lunacy of Modern 200 Cartoons(Twelve Books). She and her husband, New Yorker cartoonist Michael Maslin, collaborated on a book in 2009: Cartoon Marriage: Adventures in Love and Matrimony by The New Yorker's Cartooning Couple(Random House). Donnelly regularly gives talks and has presented at TED and taught at Vassar College. She is also the Cartoon Editor for Revolving Floor. She lives in New York. View all of Liza's Revolving Floor contributions. To see more of her work, visit her website, and her blog.

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