Beads in the Comics
Beads show up in the comics a lot. Or maybe they are just easier to keep track of there.
Gary Larson's "The Far Side" cartoons are pasted all over doors and walls of museum and university departments of anthropology.
Another Larson panel shows four native Americans outside their wigwams. Two are holding necklaces, one of round pendants, and the other of claws. The fellow with the claw necklace says, Well, Red Cloud, it just so happens I did go ask the chief! A bear claw necklace is a symbol of honor -- a Grizzly Adams fingernail necklace is not! Quite so, Gary. The right necklace at the right time is always important.
On one of Cathy's visit to a clothing store. The saleslady chirps, Spring is a celebration of womanhood! She recommends Beady ethnic wear. (Think about that.)
There is a new twist on beads from a "Close to Home" panel. A man is showing off the beaded curtain he installed as a garage door to a neighbor. He explains, My 17-year old drove the car into the garage door three times, so I finally just said the heck with it and installed the beads. Not a bad idea.
Cartoon strips that feature Native Americans often have beads woven into their plot. One is "Catfish" by Wright. In one strip Trader Jim ("Franchises Available; Born to Barter") holds up a string of beads to two natives saying, Here's a fine string of quality beads... Five Buffalo hides!
Another "Catfish" tells the same story in reverse. A white, bearded man in a Flea Market asks a native son sitting there, Do ya accept beads and trinkets?
The most consistent bead lover among cartoonists is Tom K. Ryan, who does "Tumbleweeds." Several friends have sent me examples of his strips over the years; it is not carried locally. Hope Ryan doesn't mind me quoting him at such length.
A Native American behind a rock says to a white man, Guess what... Geronimo's favorite bead necklace broke.
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