During lockdown, I have spent a considerable amount of time searching for sources of entertainment. I have watched my fair share of Netflix shows, listened to a few podcasts, and browsed YouTube, but none of these activities have really left me satisfied. Much to my surprise however, I have found contentment in cartoons and comics.
As a child, though I didn’t take much interest in comics, I was certainly invested in many cartoon shows, such as ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ or ‘Phineas and Ferb’. But like many people, my interests changed as I grew older. As a result of this unexpected shift towards cartoons and comics, I have considered the impact that they’ve had on me, and I thought I’d share just why I love them so much.
Until recently, I had failed to notice the positive messages behind many of my favourite cartoons. Upon closer inspection of these messages however, I realised that they were one of the main reasons for my ‘reinvolvement’ with cartoons. Many of my favourite cartoons do a really good job of spreading positivity, which is something that many people have been in need of during lockdown. Cartoonists are able to communicate their messages in a very creative yet simplistic manner, which makes them very accessible.
I think this is certainly the case for one of my favourite cartoons, ‘Ketnipz’. This cartoon, which I primarily view via Instagram, follows a cute bean figure through its day-to-day activities. The “lil bean with big dreams” is the brainchild of Harry Hambley, a young Welsh cartoonist. Hambley’s cartoons often feature comedic captions, the vast majority of which are designed to spread optimism. Unlike some traditional campaigns that aim to spread positivity, Ketnipz is a cartoon which does so in a subtle, non-preaching manner. I think this is what makes the cartoon so amazing – it does a good thing without disturbing the comfort of the viewer.
Another amazing thing about ‘Ketnipz’ is that it is entirely relatable. Though the main figure is not technically a human, many of its activities reflect the things that we do. The relatable elements of the cartoon are conveyed in an entertaining fashion, which only adds to the quality of the cartoon.
Another cartoon, or what many might call a comic strip, that I find very relatable is ‘Strange Planet’. This cartoon, which was created by Nathan W. Pyle, follows a bunch of aliens, who behave just as humans do. The most noticeable difference with this group of aliens however, is that they communicate in a very robotic, rigid, and inhumane way. You see this when they describe darts as “sharp projectiles”, label pillows as “comfort squares”, or brand schools as “learning chambers”.
One might think that this absurd use of language makes ‘Strange Planet’ an unrelatable comic strip, simply because one does not speak like these aliens, but I find it to be quite the opposite. It’s almost as if the absurdity of the comic makes it feel all the more relatable, because, deep down, I too think I might be capable of envisioning the aforementioned objects in a similar style to the aliens. Whether or not I’m right, the fact that a comic can make me think such a thing makes it brilliant. The best way that I can describe the comic is this: it is relatable, but in an absurd way, which makes it hilarious.
To summarise, I think cartoons and comics are wonderful sources of entertainment, because they have the potential to be extremely relatable, albeit through absurdity. Cartoons can also prove to be great sources of positivity, which is something that you don’t always come across on the Internet. With the current levels of negativity on social media, I think these cartoons provide a great outlet for anyone who may be struggling, or anyone who is just looking for a laugh. The cartoons that I have spoken about in this entry are for everyone. They do a great job of reflecting the human condition (which makes them extremely accessible) in a fun, heart-warming way. That is why I love them so much.
(P.S. For anyone looking for either Ketnipz of Strange Planet, you can find them on Instagram. Happy viewing!)