Island Fling

Maintenantman clicked on 'publish' and sent another blog post out into the world!

Maintenantman clicked on ‘publish’ and sent another blog post out into the world!

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.

Two On the Isle

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……..

"Up yours, John Donne! Wanna bet that "no man is an island"??!!

“Up yours, John Donne! Wanna bet that “no man is an island”??!!

You can take this to whatever depth you wish, dear reader. And, by the way, the crab in the first cartoon is significant too…!

Ted x


  1. Found this really interesting! Love your drawings, they are GREAT! Would love to talk more with you on this story. xxx



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  2. Interesting and lots of food for thought in those brief musings Ted. The old Brooke Shields, Adam and Eve-ish “Blue Lagoon” came to mind. Now there are all those repulsive reality shows such as Survivor et. al, which depict the stranded, in various states of undress in a pathetic attempt to generate machismo and eroticism. The eroticism fixation rather baffles me. If I was stranded and looking for food, building shelter, dehydrated and trying to escape sunburn, I’m not sure I’d be feeling very attractive, let alone ready for a “bit of the other.” Yet time and time again we get these images foisted upon us. We are a weird bunch us humans.


    1. Yes, those sort of tv shows are described as “reality tv” whereas they are anything but! I suppose it is the more metaphorical islands that interest me, the opportunity to pare away all the trappings of life and get down to considering the stuff which is closest to heart and soul.


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