Drawing Magic

I’ve been looking forward to posting this cartoon for a couple of weeks now.  I thought of this at a coffee shop and couldn’t wait to start sketching out its visual outcome.  The first thing I saw was the old west clothing like an old time show that you’d find in some Deadwood town saloon.  I thought of a top hat, a maroon vest with brass buttons and baggy shirt with cuff links.  I thought of a old time wood stage with the obvious trap door in the middle.

I like to imagine what sort of drama back stage had the assistant under gone by missing her que and blowing the whole trick.  But so determined is Sam that he insists on exposing the trap door to his viewers losing all his cool and repeating the magic words without success.  Maybe the performers were lovers and had a quarrel before the performance?  Maybe the assistant is stuck in the dark under belly of the stage and can’t see where to go.  Maybe she fell asleep or is drunk?  Whatever the cause I’d imagine it is the worst of timing for such string of events to happen even after all the rehearsal.

Imagine how the audience must feel.  There is nothing worse than see a performer struggle with his own act.  I’d imagine that in magic it is worse, for the trick has been exposed and no longer can the magician trick the eye or reclaim his audience.  For me when this sort of thing happens I turn away.  If it happens on television I find myself turning the channel.  When catastrophe strikes during a live performance, I squirm in my seat and painfully watch the performers world collapse.

So why do I think this is funny?  Is it because I am mean natured and like to see a performer in pain?  Is it because I enjoy the torture of audience members who cringe in pain at the sight of struggle?  I think the answer is that I know that everyone has been in this moment and it is familiar to us all by virtue of being an audience member or as a struggling performer.

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