I’m looking at these terrific “Willie and Joe” World War II cartoons by Bill Mauldin here: http://www.stripes.com/02/nov02/mauldin/
“Don’t startle ‘im, Joe — it’s almost full.”
In my previous post, I focused somewhat on the drawing, which I do think is great and the above image is a terrific example, but how about the comedy! The drawing really sells the joke with composition, expression, staging, environment, etc., and all that stuff that contributes to the tone, but if you just strip it down to the basic joke, it’s still a great cartoon and that’s really his genius, I think. Many of his cartoons don’t really make light of a bad situation, so much as they find the comedy amidst a miserable situation. It could also be said that some of the jokes are really low-brow… but they are played so smartly. There is a real joy in that sort of humor.