The Sisyphean Task of Drawing Sisyphus
Or, how to draw comics, again, and again, and again
“Drawing comics can be an uphill battle” is a cringingly obvious way to start this article, so I’d like to apologise for that first and then apologise again for this next one before we get things rolling.
The undisputed home of single-panel cartoons is of course, a largely unknown weekly called The New Yorker and having taken the time to look through their entire back catalogue (yes, I have the time; I’m a cartoonist) I can confirm that our old mate Sisyphus and his bestie The Boulder have been a comedic mainstay on the comedy-duo circuit for at least the last 3,000 years or so.
Their enduring popularity is obviously a complete mystery. Just what is it about the plight of a person toiling away at the same rewardless task for eternity, only to have to repeat the same thankless task the next day that enamours and fascinates the public to this degree? We’ll never truly know.
As every cartoonist, Kardashian, or accidentally famous bystander has mused however; there’s no point analysing the reasons for fame, but rather expertly mining that popularity for every bit of continued attention and reward it might contain.
And so, let us — as aspiring cartoonists, take the millennia-old fame of Sisyphus and his Boulder and exploit that famous comedy duo for all that they’re worth. (We’ll be using these two in this particular case, however the process we’re embarking on here can be used for any number of setups or situations, comedic or otherwise.)
So, let’s start with the obvious. The classic setup: our guy Sisyphus and his Boulder (who is being capitalised in this article because The Boulder is just as a significant character here as Sisyphus is).
Here they are, doing their thing:
So from this perspective we already have multiple options. Without even changing the drawing we can caption this with several different gags.