The desert island cartoon is one of the unsung staples of international humour.
The setting is stripped down and simple, allowing for an infinite variety of subject matter to be heaped on the marooned character. And it is usually a lone human being, or perhaps two, which allows for dialogue.
There are some good desert island cartoons, but all too often the genre has been used for corny hetero-sexist gags. I picked up the 1950s paperback below in a car boot sale.
Perhaps the primal appeal of the genre links in to a wider and deeper fascination with the notion of being stranded on a desert island. Desert Island Discs is a perennial theme of conversation between friends (“what tunes would you take?”) as well as a successful radio programme.
The mythology of the Garden of Eden is an early example of the formula, a tradition that found its full rhythm with Robinson Crusoe and its many derivatives.
To move further into the literary potential of the small deserted island, look no further than William Golding. The Lord of the Flies is the supreme archetype, but Pincher Martin is an even more crystalline example of the power of marrying a single human being with a lump of bare earth.
So, here’s one attempt to claim the cartoon format for Eng Lit……..
You can take this to whatever depth you wish, dear reader. And, by the way, the crab in the first cartoon is significant too…!