Friday, July 3, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009 Marmaduke Analyzed

Here once again, we see that Marmaduke in engaged in wanton destruction of his owner's yard. The dog has apparently created a rather sizable hole near the fence. As we cannot see Marmadke actually at work, it is not clear whether this excavation is being accomplished by Marmaduke's digging or through small charges of dynamite. Phil, Marmaduke's emasculated owner, is embarrassed that he has absolutely no control over his undisciplined beast. Instead of hiding in the house in shame, he has ventred into the midst of the devastation and is trying to convince his neighbor that the fountain of debris being projected into the air, is merely the work of a mole. The neighbor, leaning on the fence with a blank stare, has perhaps expired.

I read an interview with Brad Anderson, in which the creator of Marmaduke said that the purpose of his cartoon was to make people laugh. As this one has not fulfilled that objective, it must have some other meaning. On the surface however, it appears that no rational message exists, as is the case with most Marmaduke cartoons. But Marmaduke would not appear around the world, day after day, if that were actually the case. Indeed, the meanings of Marmaduke are quite complex and enigmatic, and considerable insight is required to identify them, let alone decipher them.

In this cartoon, we see that Marmaduke has carved a multitude of stone sculptures around his excavation. Several mysterious shapes can be perceived in these rocks, including what appears to be a bust of George Washington in the lower left. Also clearly visible on these rocks is the word "wub" just to the right of where the fountain erupts from the yard. Adjacent to Marmaduke's tail is the letter "s," and if the comic is held up to a mirror, the letter "E" becomes clearly visible in the neighbor's window. All of this, along with the fact that the fence fades away into nothingness, has significant meaning. However I'm tired and I'll be damned if I can figure any of it out. In fact the whole thing has given me a headache, and I think I'll just retire for the night.

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