1. A guy jumping off a building to his death is funny? Oh, wait, this is New Yorker, where humor isn’t a requirement.

  2. He wanted to jump on the bad guy from the rooftop. He jumped too far and also tumbled. It wasn’t the wind, or his hat would have been more affected by it than he was.

  3. His facial expression in the first panel indicates that the jump was intentional, and the white hat probably means that he was supposed to be the “good guy”. As I see it, the error is in the second panel. The round circles were probably meant to be “bugged out” eyes, showing surprise (and dismay) that he was not going to land on (and disable) the gunslinger (dark hat = bad guy). The problem is that without any dots (for pupils), it makes them appear like old style flight goggles, and the expression on his mouth doesn’t help, either. I would say that the third panel is for people who like to laugh at the misfortunes of others, but one could also say that the hero has achieved his aim (pun intended): the bad guy has put away his weapons.
    P.S. The “simple truth” about heroics is that risky and daring stunts don’t always work like they do in movies.
    P.P.S. The simple truth about ballistics is that sooner or later, falling objects always hit the ground.

  4. I was never a huge fan of the genre, but I don’t recall ever seeing a hero jump off a building onto a bad guy in any western.

  5. I think heroes jump off various smaller buildings onto bad guys as in the linked/embedded (we’ll see) pic of Jason Statham apparently leaping on some guy (you can see his head). The very tall building is a bit of an exaggeration for show. I guess the cartoon reminds us that people who leap off tall structures and aim for a precise landing, like Olympic divers (or Hollywood stuntpersons), actually train intensively for this over a number of years; it is not something an untrained civilian can do spontaneously in the heat of battle. In the cartoon it looks like the leaper simply disappears into thin air, but I think he has crunched bloodily into the ground out of frame, where the bad guys eyes are looking.

    In real life, such a fall even if accurate would likely kill both the good guy and the bad guy. There was an unfortunate incident of this last week in Spain, where an unaware man was killed, while sitting having meal with his wife, by a British tourist falling (or jumping) off a seventh-storey hotel balcony. I don’t know if that guy was trying to hit the swimming pool and missed, but that has happened a lot with drunk British tourists attempting such “balconing”, as the linked article explains.


  6. @ DemetriosX – If the structure were of a more logical size (such as a ladder or an outhouse), then there wouldn’t be a plausible reason for him to miss the target. It’s just a comic, so it’s not unusual that there is some sort of disbelief that the reader has to suspend. It’s not like there are talking animals walking about, such as in many other strips.
    P.S. @ Arthur – My son also noticed the lack of a wind effect on the hat (I missed that little detail).

  7. I think folks have it, except I assumed the man on the ground saw the attacker/jumper and simply stepped to one side. This the “simple” aspect of the heroics.

  8. It turns out that the “errors” that I identified in the second panel were caused by a reduction in the JPG resolution. If you look at Ziegler’s original drawing, the jumper’s eyes do have pupils and they do look “bugged out”, and his mouth looks correspondingly sad, instead of the puzzling (almost happy) smirk seen here.

  9. @Kilby: “If the structure were of a more logical size (such as a ladder or an outhouse), then there wouldn’t be a plausible reason for him to miss the target. ”

    I’m reminded of the funniest bit in one of the funniest things ever written, Mark Twain on “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.” where in THE DEERSLAYER six hostile Indians plan to jump from a tree onto a keelboat passing below. It’s in the middle of the text (though the whole essay is well worth reading).


  10. Ah. I was confused because I thought the main subject of the panels (the guy who appears largest in each frame) was the one executing the titular heroics.

    Makes much more sense if he’s the bad guy. But then the drawings are focused on the wrong subject.

  11. P.S. (to a comment that is still in moderation) – An image search for the surtitle “The Simple Truth About Heroics” produces Ziegler’s original drawing, which reveals that the “weaknesses” in the second panel are just resolution problems. I don’t want to list the URL again, so that this P.S. will not be sent into limbo.

  12. Good discussion about the joke but what is the “simple truth”? They don’t have good aim?

  13. I think “the simple truth” is just that “heroics” are a lot harder in real life than they are made to look in movies.

  14. Shrug –

    I just read the Twain piece. I had to laugh – it reminds me of reenactors discussing period movies – there will be discussions on how some item shown in the movie was not invented until 3 months after the incident takes place or was only used in Pennsylvania when the incident in the movie takes place over the line into New Jersey and such.

    Yes, I do it too – discussions on clothing being wrong – they really needed a better advisory on the “Outlander series” – not only is some of the 18th century clothing wrong – I had a problem with 1950s ladies’ underwear also (though it is possible that bras that were invented in the US until the 1970s or 80s existed in France in the 1950s somehow).

  15. I’m sure it’s not much of a surprise that many of the “offenses” are exaggerated or taken out of context. It’s still one of the funniest things I ever read.

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