Since I grab any opportunity to draw animals instead of the usual “two humans talking” setup I seem to go with each week, I thought this news item merited a local cartoon, and I saw it as an opportunity to revisit both a previous, but still relevant topic about bogus service animals, and at the same time address current grumblings about how hard it is to find housing that allows pets. I decided that a callback to previous cartoon characters could also be fit into this three panel opus.

Imagine my surprise to find that what I thought was an innocuous cartoon was taken as controversial.

In hindsight, I must admit, the thought of how my depiction of anachronistically comic cavemen (cavepersons?) versions of current Asheville residents would be taken by actual cavemen never even occurred to me. Not only due to the fact that they no longer exist, and therefore couldn’t take umbrage (in a Geico-commercial-level fit of pique) but also because I don’t think I discounted their intelligence in comparison to modern day people.

These avatars of prehistoric Ashevillians are seen going about the same homo-sapien activities as the modern day equivalents they were meant to portray (renting property, using cunning and possibly deception to avoid the property owner’s reluctance in renting to possible pet-owners, etc.). The only thing that could be considered “dumb” about them may have been their non-traditional pattern of speech, (with it its mis-used—to us—personal pronouns, and wrongly—but who is really to say?—conjugated verbs) and their mis-spelled words with backwards letters. These may be the trappings of dumb people in our era, but in this case, they were a necessary comic shortcut to establish a comical juxtaposition between the modern concepts the pre-historic people were talking about, and the primitiveness of their situation. In other words, I couldn’t  just have them talking in a modern way, since our language did not exist yet, but also needed for the reader to understand (and be able to read) what they were saying, so a compromise of having them speak (and write) a primitive version of our language was made.

Of course, this is a long-winded way of saying, “it’s just a cartoon, don’t take it seriously”. [And it’s also very long, because I know no one is actually here to read this, and I can go on at length, when brevity would be a better way to address this if it were to be something someone might actually read.]

Likewise, I would like to say to myself, “the letter writer was not really chastising you, so much as using the cartoon as a jumping off point to challenge all of us to re-examine our views of primitive people”, so don’t take it so seriously yourself!


Cartoon originally published in the Asheville, NC alt weekly paper, “The Mountain Xpress”.

© 2019 – Brent Brown, Brent Brown Graphix