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One Man. One Cat. Multiplied

Friday, December 20, 2013 - 06:27 AM

We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.

Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat & guy. Except ...

When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.

Case in point: Mike Holmes (companion to Ella) is a cartoonist. And every so often, for an hour (that's his house rule; he does each of these in an hour) he will do a portrait of himself and his cat, through the eyes of another cartoonist.

If, for example, Mike spends an hour as Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, maker of Tintin, then he and his cat would look like this:

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

But the next day, should he morph into Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), then he and Ella might look like this:

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Here they are again, in Powerpuff mode (a la Craig McCracken):

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

This is the Bloom County, or Berkeley Breathed, version:


Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Mike Holmes calls these studies "Mikenesses." They are all his drawings, imagining himself and Ella through the eyes of these other artists. He's done batches and batches of them, collected here. What they are, of course, is a celebration of the many-splendored art of cartooning, but at the same time they show us how different people, in different moods, with different backgrounds, different pleasures and different fears will produce wildly different visions of the world. Gary Larson, for example, likes labs, test tubes and extraterrestrials:

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Maurice Sendak likes gentle monsters:

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Chuck Jones (Wile E. Coyote, The Grinch) admires schemers, plotters and engineers:

Mike Holmes

Nick Park (of Wallace and Gromit) focuses on eyes (always big):

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

Chris Ware likes quiet despair (and rectangles, ovals):

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

And George Herriman (Krazy Kat, Archy and Mehitabel), the great-grandpa of American cartoonists, is all about energy, smallness and bravery.

Courtesy of Mike Holmes

All of us have eyes. But those eyes are attached to brains, and brains sculpt what we take in, emphasizing this, avoiding that, so that one man and one cat can be as many men and as many cats as the number of people looking. If you're a salesperson, trial lawyer, cop, robber, politician, parent, friend, anybody ... this is worth remembering.


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Comments [8]

John from Indiana

To give credit where credit is due, the grinch was of course created and originally drawn by Dr Seuss. Chuck Taylor only did the animated version.

Jan. 08 2014 02:46 AM
M.A. Steinberger

Tell Mike please, PLEASE do a "Rhymes With Orange" version. Thanks. Here's hoping...

Jan. 01 2014 08:33 PM

This is Wonderful! I'd like to see a Makoto Kobayashi (What's Michael) one!
Thanks! Happy Holidays!

Dec. 24 2013 09:42 PM
debo from NW Ohio

Loved seeing Kate Beaton, but where's Allie Brosh? Brosh all the Mikes!! <3

Dec. 24 2013 10:13 AM
Kazan from PH

Nice! Maybe he could try Pablo Stanley, too. :)

Dec. 24 2013 04:38 AM
MattCCurtis from Atlanta GA

Wow! This is just brilliant.

Dec. 24 2013 02:45 AM
The Old Wolf

Oh, by Holy Mogg's tufted ears... such versatility! I love the homages, respectfully rendered but bringing a sense of originality and freshness to each. What a delight.

Dec. 23 2013 11:20 PM
Abby from NEPA

Love it. Should post akira toriyama/dbz style ;)

Dec. 23 2013 11:13 PM

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