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Panels from: Rex Morgan, M.D., Beetle Bailey, and Blondie, 9/1/04

It’s safe to say that a substantial majority of cartoonists are men; inertia ensures that most of those men are middle aged. I know this because I can see the names on the strips and look up how long they’ve been writing them, but even if all I had to go on was the artwork, I think I could hazard a guess on the gender and age of the artists.

Let’s be blunt: cartoonists like to draw women with big tits. Today we have a bumper crop (so to speak), though it’s by no means far beyond the norm. At one end of the spectrum we have Beetle Bailey’s Miss Buxley (Miss Buxley! C’mon!), who’s drawn with a certain bathroom-wall crudity; there’s Blondie, who sits demurely through her dinner party, stylized, wasp-waisted, and looking like she’s going to tip over forward at any moment; and then we have Rex Morgan’s Heather, caught in photorealistic mid-jiggle, the shadow work on her mid-torso receiving almost as much attention from the artist as Rex’s chin cleft in the previous panel.

Now, I think it’s well-established that a substantial number of literary and artistic geniuses got their start by channeling frustrated sexual energy while in high school. How many great novels have been written varsity-letter quarterbacks? I’m hoping that this is the driving force behind all this buxomness, anyway, and that it isn’t all some incredibly misguided attempt by King Feature Syndicate to compete with Maxim. Heather’s nice looking and all, but I don’t think she’ll be hanging up on the wall of your local auto body shop anytime soon.