Here, we deal with a theory of cosmology , or of the origin of the Universe. Gases cooled to form galaxies, mostly spiral in shape and motion. In one of the galaxies, a star was formed, which flattened out into "a Solar system", a system with a star and a number of planets circling around it. On the third planet from the sun, at first there were active volcanoes, then rain started to fall, as a result of which the oceans were formed. In the oceans, life emerged from nutrient-rich "organic soup".

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The first volume begins with the Big Bang, and subsequent volumes cover the evolution of life on Earth, the dawn of man, and into early human history. Volume 19 covers up to the Renaissance, after which the series changes its name to The Cartoon History of the Modern World. The final volume, published in , reaches up to See also Crash Course World History which has a similar attitude towards more or less the same subject matter. Advertisement: Tropes: All Crimes Are Equal : Averted in the sections covering the invention of laws and legal systems.

He takes particular aim at Han Feizi and the the Chinese Legalists, who advocated this policy, showing exactly how well it worked for the Qin Dynasty it led directly to their destruction. All Jews Are Ashkenazi : Averted, but frequently joked about, particularly through use of Yiddish as a Second Language : Jews are frequently depicted saying "Oy" in response to various things.

Anachronism Stew : Frequently used for comedy. Particularly interesting are the differences between his depictions of the Professor at the beginning and the end of Part I, and the experimental shift from pen-and-ink to brush-and-ink art in the last section of Part I, reverting to pen-and-ink for the rest of the work. Advertisement: Artistic License : Gonick occasionally takes it, particularly in the artwork, mostly for reasons of Rule of Funny.

He is represented both in the narration and also appears directly in the events he describes, speaking to historical characters or directly to the reader. Author Tract : Gonick manages to not rant too much except in occasional circumstances, but his political leanings are pretty impossible to miss. Gonick sticks a number of critical references to the administration of George W.

Bald of Awesome : Quite a few people, including Moses and Elisha. Bazaar of the Bizarre : Quite a few, at least from the perspectives of newcomers. The process of domestication is summed up as "Men and sheep grew very close. Sheep: Wha-a-a-at? Later, in a footnote: Chicken: None of that funny stuff with ME, pal! Belief Makes You Stupid : Gonick is quick to point out and highlight the many religious absurdities found throughout history.

Explicitly invoked in a brief bit about the Indian materialists; when they say that the supernatural and afterlife are lies keeping the people ignorant and afraid, the ruler angrily points out that he likes them better that way. Cement Shoes : The prelude to the first volume on Rome has the Professor discussing their famous concrete and cutthroat politics Cosmic Deadline : Pretty much in the end. The last few pages of the final volume has the Professor talking about all the current events happening as the book is being written.

Curiosity Causes Conversion : Noted in several instances, but particularly when it comes to the history of Christianity where it is emphatically Truth in Television. What are you waiting for? Pagan Woman: Must Dated History : In particular, he puts far more stock in Biblical myths than more recent historians and when it comes to early Christianity, his Author Avatar all but nervously admits that much of its material had to be taken straight from the New Testament due to the paucity of other accounts.

Deadpan Snarker : A lot of people. Doing In the Wizard : The series gives secular accounts of semi-historical events described in such sources as The Bible and The Iliad. For example, rather than say that Aaron parted the Red Sea, it says the Jews ditched the pursuing Egyptians in muddy terrain. This is due to some scholars believing that the parting of the Red Sea is a mistranslation. Other times, however, the comic directly recreates scenes from religious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, keeping the deities intact.

Dramatic Irony : Frequently. Dumb Dinos : The dinosaurs come off as dim-witted bullies who deliberately step on, intimidate, and kick around the mammals. Footnote Fever : Frequently.

Sometimes even headered by an icon of a foot drawing an asterisk. This decision was made well before the international Mohammed cartoon controversy. Godiva Hair : The Hebrew prophet Samuel is depicted with a beard that completely engulfs his implied-naked body. Higher Understanding Through Drugs : Discussed Trope , on how ancient Indian philosophers got in touch with the universe: [They] did it the old-fashioned way: with drugs. Historical Domain Character : Obviously.

Idea Bulb : Lampshaded. The Internet Is for Porn : Alluded to in a footnote in Cartoon History of the Modern World: Volume II, the narrator mentions that the birth control pill was the greatest invention of the 20th century, prompting two characters in bed to say: Woman: Greater than the Internet? Ethiopian soldier: God, I feel so guilty Language Equals Thought : Lampshaded when the narrative mentions how Romans decimated i.

Local ruler: Submit to China! Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane : Elijah against the Baal priests, courteously even spraying his sacrifice with water. Which he somehow obtained in the middle of a drought and may not actually be water, as a bystander notes. Moses in the Bulrushes : Covered during the life of the actual Moses. Murder Simulators : Parodied in a section about the invention of chess. A mother watches her child capture a rook and laments, "These action games are ruining our youth!

Oh, Crap! Xerxes when his fleet gets smashed at Salamis. One Thing Led to Another : This phrase is used in explaining the origins of sexual intercourse. Pet the Dog : Discussed Trope , where the author points out that in the days before diplomacy, everybody was tender to their own people while at the same time callously brutal to everyone else. Dorian Chief: doting over his wife while being surrounded by piles of corpses Ooh, honey, did you hurt your finger? Academic 1: People were so insensitive back then!

Running Gag : Many different characters and organizations get running gags about them. Moses as the slightly-embarrassed-to-be-Hebrew half-Egyptian aristocrat. Alcibiades being a hedonist. The Gauls are consistently portrayed like the Gauls of Asterix.

The ghost of Abu Sufyan showing up whenever a member of the Muslim Umayyad dynasty is featured as an aside, this makes him the longest-running character in the work! Muslim missionaries making exactly the wrong pitch to Sub-Saharan African rulers: arguing for modesty of dress in Ghana where dressing less was an asset or for the sequestration of women not really a Muslim doctrine, but it had become part of the package by that time to a woman ruler.

Drawing Helen of Troy as a duck. Her mother was said to have mated with a swan, but ducks are funnier. Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire in India, is portrayed as a stoner with buck teeth: a stoner, because he is said to have liked a kind of cannabis candy, and buckteeth because his name is hypothesized to mean "beaver.

Ethan Allen was additionally known for being able to throw a bag of salt over his shoulder with his teeth - in every image of him he has a bag of salt pinched in his teeth. The "Northern Barbarians" complete with tribal-esque headdresses and ominous drums , which bedeviled the Chinese for most of their history.

His skill as a general is jokingly credited to his yelling ability. Shout-Out : Several. One that stands out is the Gaulish sack of Rome in Volume II, which shamelessly uses shout-outs to Asterix it even ends with "Our work is done here, Asterix!

Each compendium provides a bibliography with encouragement by the author to check out his sources for further study. They are every bit as fun to read as the books themselves. Speech Impediment : Alcibiades has a rather strong lisp. This is Truth in Television. Spell My Name with an "S" : The chapters on China in the second book are hit hard by this, since at the time, Asian history and philosophy were much more esoteric in the US, so romanizations are touch-and-go.

The spellings he went with are generally the phonetic ones, i. Starfish Aliens : Sometimes, aliens appear in the book. Tastes Like Friendship : Offering scraps is how the proto-humans got the first proto-dogs to hang around and, implied in the dialogue, to eat the scraps instead of people. Visual Pun : Footnotes have a picture of a foot drawing an asterisk. Haw haw haw! Solomon: Did someone say "sophisticated"?

Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe : Gonick has a field day with this in the sections on 16th- and 17th-century England.



Publication history[ edit ] San Francisco-based underground comix publisher Rip Off Press began publishing The Cartoon History of the Universe in , with the first six issues being published by Rip Off Press published 9 issues from to ; the first collected edition was published by Broadway Books in The Professor reads a passage from a historical book, which activates the "time machine," a literary device. For example, the Professor reads a book about dinosaurs to introduce Volume 1 about prehistory. This introduction provides a bridge to the action, the main narrative of each chapter. Instead, Gonick fleshes out history into a long yarn, injecting characterization into historical personages, continually reporting gory anecdotes, and focusing on quirky details—all backed up by research—to enliven his subject. In addition to being a straight though unusual history, The Cartoon History helps readers understand historical cause and effect —how the past relates to the present.


Larry Gonick, "The Cartoon History of the Universe"

It presents detailed and well researched material in a humorous and accessible black and white comic style. Cartoon History was originally serialized as a comic book series from , when the first book was published. The often raunchy and irreverent humour ranges from absurdism to parody, anachronisms and dramatic irony. Sometimes the events are funny in their own right. Who would know, for example, that pre-Islamic Meccan agents triggered war with Ethiopia by pooping in a church?


The Cartoon History of the Universe



Cartoon History of the Universe Series


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