Unsung Heroes of Cartooning I

Their names will not be familiar to you:
Ergkkk Nogl, Ernest Foolish, Leroi Irksome, Bill Ouchly…
But they all altered the course of the great art of cartooning.
This is the first in a three-part series of stories about these esteemed pioneers.

Ergkkk Nogl was the first caveman-cartoonist. While other artists of his time were obsessed with placating the gods of hunting and better weather (The intermittent rains of fire and hot lava in those days were especially irritating) Ergkkk was more concerned with getting a laugh. Instead of painting scenes depicting men killing large animals or besting each other in combat, Ergkkk sketched out what he saw as comical situations involving people falling down, stubbing their bare toes on rocks, or slipping on discarded fruit-skins, subjects which went over big in his time.

While his fellow artists worked in secret, closeting themselves deep inside torch-lit caves and promoting their image as magical persons with mysterious powers, Ergkkk worked out in the open, drawing with burnt sticks on any surface he could find, making his work accessible to the masses. He remained quite popular until he started drawing caricatures of his fellow cave dwellers. Up to that point, most of them were unaware of their appearance. There were no mirrors, of course, and the glimpses they got of their reflections in pools of water, etc. they took to be ugly lake or pond-dwelling spirits, trapped below the surface. Quite a few of the cave-folk were offended enough by Ergkkk’s drawings to threaten him with stones and clubs. Discouraged, Ergkkk eventually lost interest in doing his art for the public.

He moved to a cave outside of the village with a woman he had been “dating”. He clubbed her one day as she was strolling by his cave, and to his delight, she clubbed him right back. They fell in love. They spent most of their time together producing cave-children, of which they had a total of 37. Several of the children showed a talent for drawing, and Ergkkk spent his later years instructing them in the sketching of funny pictures, warning them to avoid the dangerous art of caricature. He lived happily to the ripe old age of 27 and keeled over at one of the many lifetime achievement award feasts held for him in the last years of his life.


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