Cartoon: “Too Much Foam”

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This is one of a couple of cartoons I’ve  recently written on the subject of abled people putting the disabled up on a pedestal. (After getting some feedback from some disabled advance readers, I’m rethinking how to write the other one). In this case, I ended up focusing on privileged anxiety, always a gold mine for comedy.

Lately, I’ve been doing life drawing from nude models (there’s a place near my house which has a monthly drawing session), and I’ve been using brown paper and drawing with both black and white ink. (You can see a couple of those drawings here.) I’ve enjoyed having the white for highlights so much, I’m trying to bring that approach into my cartoons.

The coloring approach in this cartoon is very similar to last week’s. I want to include color – it really helps make a cartoon pop, and many readers prefer color. But I also don’t want to cover up the black and white linework, which is my favorite part. And I don’t want to do “this object would be brown, so I’ll color it brown” literal coloring, because once I do that my cartoons look so similar to other people’s cartoons.

So I’m always trying to find a way to eat my cake and have it too, when it comes to color. I hope you like how it looks (but let me know if you don’t).


Panel one shows a woman in a polka-dot dress sitting in a coffee shop, glaring down at her cappuccino.

WOMAN (thought): Aw, darn it. They put too much foam on my cappuccino!

Panel 2 shows a bald man in the foreground, sitting at a different table, reading something on his smartphone. He is sitting on a power chair, and he has no right arm. There’s a cappuccino in front of him. In the background, we can see the woman from panel one, staring at the bald man with a shocked expression.

WOMAN (thought): Oh wow – that guy has no legs and only one arm! How does he even get out of bed in the morning?

Panel 3 shows the woman, head in hands, looking aghast.

WOMAN (thought): He has to psend every minute of his life figuring out how to manage with just one arm… and I’m thinking about foam! I SUCK!

Panel 4 shows the bald man again. He has picked up his cappuccino and is looking annoyed.

MAN (thought): They put too much foam on my cappuccino!

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10 Responses to Cartoon: “Too Much Foam”

  1. 1
    Gracchus says:

    Why did you choose to make the disabled guy white?

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    When I was drawing this one the guy came out white-looking (when I first started drawing him, I thought of him as Latino), and it didn’t seem to matter much to the strip, plus I wasn’t sure how to fix it, so I let it be.

    Why wasn’t I sure how to fix it? Because I’m experimenting with a new coloring style, so my usual methods of overcoming the “any character will be taken for white unless they’re clearly marked otherwise” problem weren’t available to me. I’ll figure it out.

    That said, I don’t see anything wrong with the character being a white guy. I would see something wrong if there was a general pattern in my strips of white guys always being the better person in the strips, or of white guys being the default humans in my strips. (By “default,” I mean defaulting to white guys when it doesn’t matter what race or sex a character is).

    But I don’t think that’s the case; I’m pretty careful to be diverse with my “casting” choices, except when there’s a reason not to be (i.e., often it makes sense for the conservatives in my strips to be white).

  3. 3
    Decnavda says:

    I assumed the disabled guy was Latino. But looking again, all of the signifiers are cultural – beard style, (apparently) shaved head, earring – and for all I know these might be very different in other sections of the country or world than they are here on the Left Coast where Amp & I live.

  4. 4
    Jake Squid says:

    It’s funny because I scanned him as African-American.

    I guess you were pretty successful with that guy!

  5. 5
    Gracchus says:

    Perhaps my identifying him as white is a sign of my own race-normative gaze. I’ll take this feedback and do some work on myself. Thanks for your reply!

  6. 6
    Mandolin says:

    I don’t think that’s necessary, Gracchus. Sometimes things are just visually ambiguous. It’s not like I can always tell Hispanic from White people in real life.

  7. 7
    Jason Shiga says:

    Always wonder about this in he other direction too. Like does Bill Gates get excited if he finds a $10 bill on the ground?

  8. 8
    Ledasmom says:

    I object to the whole idea that there can be too much foam on a cappucino.

  9. 9
    Petar says:

    Always wonder about this in he other direction too. Like does Bill Gates get excited if he finds a $10 bill on the ground?
    I do not know.

    But he does get exited when he finds an extra roll behind the napkin in the bread basket. At least he did once in 1996.

  10. 10
    Joe in Australia says:

    I think someone needs to have an intervention with the barista who is making so many people miserable.