1. I just assumed it was a roadrunner gag. Peter sees a heavy rock. Moves it and paints it to look like a soccer ball or similar sports ball to see someone try and fail to kick it. Grog kicks it and cartoon physics sends it to the fleeing Peter.

    But then I saw the drawing appears at first to be an eye, and then is no longer visible. So maybe something significant is supposed to be drawn on it?

    Looks like this is formatted as a Sunday (and the date on the strip was a Sunday), so maybe we’re losing something from the loss of color?

  2. Clumsy Carp, although inept in many ways, has the ability to pick up water and shape it into balls.

    Peter moves a rock to the side of the water, then paints it to look like a big water ball.

    Grog kicks the ball, and when it lands it splashes, like a real water ball.

  3. I assume that Peter’s paint job would be visible in color. Any reason this is in black and white?

  4. @Powers- Thanks, in grayscale it’s easier to see Peter’s paint job. I think he painted it to look like a basketball. (Which, if it was a basketball, it should’ve been thrown, not kicked).
    @Darren’s theory is probably correct, but this cartoon should definitely been in color, regardless of how B.C is usually printed.

  5. I agree with Darren’s interpretation. A “soccer ball” pattern would be the clear favorite these days, but soccer was not very popular in the U.S. back in the 1960s, and besides, those pentagons and hexagons would have been black and white, not color. I think the most likely candidate for a “color” solution would be a beach ball.

    Unfortunately, back then all comics were rendered only in black ink, and color for the Sunday strips was provided by a separate overlay, and was processed externally for newspaper publication. For this reason, there is no uniform archive for old color strips, with the possible exception of each newspaper’s own archive. However, those archives were often preserved only on microfilm, which (again) is only monochrome.

    P.S. @ Pete – Your idea is a plausible theory, except that as the strip shows, Clumsy Carp’s waterballs always “popped” instantaneously whenever anyone else touched them. If this were a waterball gag, then Grog would have gotten soaked, not Peter. I think the pair of “splashes” on the horizon are from Peter’s two paint cans.

  6. @ zbicyclist – I’m sure that a large percentage of CIDU readers will recognize that your use of “Grog” is a pun on Heinlein’s “grok” (from “Stranger in a Strange Land“), but there may be a few people around here whose memory does not go that far back.

  7. @Kilby

    I suspect you are correct that the paint was likely supposed to resemble a beach ball. Not only was soccer not terribly popular in the US when that strip was published, soccer balls at the time were also not terribly distinct, generally a single color and patterned with rectangular bands. In cartoon form a soccer ball would have likely have looked identical to a volleyball to the average American eye. What we nowadays consider the standard soccer ball pattern (the iconic black pentagons and white hexagons of the Adidas Telstar) was not introduced until a year after this comic strip was printed, in 1968.

  8. I owned and read Stranger in a Strange Land in a book club edition right about the time of original publication.

  9. @ billytheskink – Very interesting. I looked up the ball used for the 1966 World Cup, and you are right, it looks more like a volleyball (or even a basketball):

    P.S. @ Mitch – Back then the book was incredibly “racy”, approaching (borderline) softp0rn.

  10. I was delighted by the “Stranger in a Strange” Land reference. For days after finishing the book, I was still pondering the meaning of ‘grok’, spontaneously using the word in conversations.

  11. While it was mentioned by Darren, some later posts don’t have the understanding that Peter ( running with his splashing paint buckets) is what gets hit by the rock.

  12. @ BlastoBill – In a posthumous collection of Heinlein’s letters, he vented a bit of steam over fan letters requesting detailed explanations about how various aspects of the Martian language (and their “supernatural” tricks) were really supposed to “work”, and wondered why these fans seemed to be unable to accept that the novel was a work of fiction. It reminded me of Shatner’s infamous “Get a life!” speech in Saturday Night Live, which was later parodied to a certain extent in the movie “Galaxy Quest“.

  13. @ Kevin A – I think your objection only applies to Pete’s “waterball” theory, which seemed (to me) to be a rational attempt at an alternative explanation, even though I agree with you that it doesn’t match all of the details. Everything else is simply a discussion about what the camouflage paint job was supposed to represent. I think we all agree that Peter gets creamed with the rock (no matter what its appearance is supposed to be).

  14. I’ve never thought that Grog had much of a personality, or seen him express any “feelings” (other than primitive exuberance), but zooming in on the paint splashes revealed a detail that I had not noticed before: in that final panel, he seems to be cringing with remorse at Peter’s injury. (My previous impression had been that he was grinning with glee.)

Add a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.