Disorders Within the Borders

Being a cartoon-character is often not a laughing matter. Many of them suffer from certain maladies peculiar to their profession, some of which are listed below:

Bellyburn: A condition frequently experienced by characters in cartoons about people crawling in the desert, who are usually portrayed as searching for water, ice cream, or a taxi. Symptoms include very uncomfortable gray blotches (Or red blotches in the case of characters appearing in color cartoons) on the stomach, elbows, and legs. This condition adds to the considerable discomfort already experienced in these situations, which include extreme thirst and occasional heat exhaustion. The condition can only be alleviated by the removal of the sufferer from desert cartoons in general, and transferal to a series of desk-jobs, possibly after a visit or two to a doctor’s office cartoon.

Deskbutt: The result of appearing in too many desk cartoons, in which the character portrays a business executive or office-worker sitting at a desk, speaking on the phone or in person to another employee or visitor. Treatment may include reassignment to desert-crawling cartoons.

Uneasy Chair Syndrome: Similar to the above, this condition results from too much sitting in easy-chairs, couches, love-seats, recliners, or folding beach chairs. Often, this malady appears simultaneously in pairs of characters, who appear together in cartoons as domestic couples engaged in conversation or tv-watching. The character finds him or herself fidgety and uncomfortable when seated. Often, simply getting out of the house and taking a walk together from time to time, exchanging humorous banter, will cure this problem.

Acute Cuteness: Characters having the misfortune of being created by artists with a fondness for big, wet eyes, large ears, bulbous noses, freckles, and large heads on small bodies are often trapped in daily cartoon-strips or greeting-card situations from which they can’t extricate themselves. Some have managed to escape to underground comix and graphic novels, but, sadly, most are doomed to an inane, sugarcoated existence for years before they’re finally out of print.

Triple-Digititus: Characters are still occasionally drawn with three fingers on each hand, a throwback to old animated cartoons. These individuals don’t seem in any way inconvenienced or limited by this situation, however, and except for the stigma of looking old-fashioned, still function successfully in some dusty corners of the cartoon industry.

Castration: Many mainstream publications still refuse to portray the male sexual organ on characters in garden of Eden, nudist colony, or bedroom cartoons. Although the situation is sometimes dealt with by the strategic placement of shrubbery or positioning of the body, male characters called upon to appear in these situations are often still forced to undergo the painful process of having their penises removed by artists or editors before publication of the cartoons. The operation, thankfully, can be reversed easily, and the practice is rapidly going out of fashion, but for those unlucky characters who have undergone the ordeal, the trauma often leaves psychological scars that last for some time.

Death: Characters are often called upon to portray the dying or deceased: Shot, stabbed, run over, on deathbeds, installed in open and closed coffins, or merely unseen beneath a tombstone engraved with epitaphs written for humorous effect. Many never recover after publication. Sadly, there is no known cure.



  1. carolita says:

    I had a penis removed from a character just last week! Poor guy! He was terrified! (I hid the offending member under a conveniently wrinkled top sheet.

  2. Prabha says:

    Haha, I did _not_ see this before. Very cool stuff! Why are womens’ breasts emphasized while mens’ penises shrunk? Makes you wonder about what cartoonists _really_ have on their mind! 🙂

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