“What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”
― from TO THE LIGHTHOUSE By Virginia Woolf, 1927
BACK IN MARCH, Eisner-nominated artist Eleanor Davis created a beguiling animated Google Doodle to celebrate the budding Spring Equinox. The watering of the letters in “Google” by a “blob lady” resulted in the blooming Doodle, Davis told The Post’s Comic Riffs.
Today, into the Doodle, a little reversal must fall. In an animation reminiscent of Davis’s vernal work with Google team artist Sophia Foster-Dimino, the California company’s Sept. 23 Doodle marks the first day of autumn with blue-gray trees that, above our “blob man,” turn deep colorful hues before revealing the stark and barren branches that spell out “Google.”
The Doodle summons thoughts of other artists who have created sublime cartoons and illustrations in autumnal tones and themes, including Ronald Searle, Bill Watterson, Charles Schulz and Eric Drooker.
1. BILL WATTERSON
Growing up in Ohio, Watterson developed a keen artistic eye for the colors of seasonal change, and his beloved strip “Calvin and Hobbes” could positively burst with color, including the golden russet and ochre tints of a watercolored lazy autumn:
Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes.” (courtesy of Universal Uclick/Andrews McMeel)
Watterson’s “Calvin and Hobbes” (courtesy of Universal Uclick)
Watterson, of course, grew up admiring another legendary strip, “Peanuts”— whose creator, Charles “Sparky” Schulz, was raised on the seasonal changes of his native Minnesota — from the brilliant autumns to bleak-white winters. Schulz seemed forever able to view fall through the physical pleasure of leaves, ever crackling beneath your feet (or paws):
Schulz’s “Peanuts.” (courtesy of Peanuts Worldwide/UFS/Universal Uclick)
So brilliant, THIS, I almost have to don sunglasses.
4. JIM BORGMAN and JERRY SCOTT
The “Zits” creators are such top-notch draftsmen, and Borgman’s painterly lines make the strip’s sense of nature visually “pop” — even when it pays homage to Shel Silverstein’s classic “The Giving Tree”:
Scott and Borgman’s “Zits” (courtesy of the creators & King Features)
With its rich history of autumn covers, the New Yorker magazine could publish a coffee-table book (and could we make that coffee a “spiced pumpkin latte”?) of its fall-themed fronts alone. Everyone from Thurber to Tomine, Sorel to the blissfully placid J.J. Sempé has graced the magazine’s cover with a seasonal classic. And one of Comic Riffs’ favorites among them is the earthen whirlwind of light that is Eric Drooker’s 2009 cover:
The New Yorker, Nov. 9, 2009. (courtesy of The New Yorker)