Monday, August 9, 2010

Banana oil!

The book, THE COMPLETE MILT GROSS COMIC BOOKS AND LIFE STORY by Craig Yoe is one of those "must-have" items for your collection of arcane, unusual, and yet complete wonderful comic book stories. When it came to arcane and unusual Milt Gross was both of those; he was also completely wonderful in his approach to humor. In other words, his stuff was oddball but funny oddball. Go to publisher IDW's store to order this book.

All of Gross' comic book work was done in the late 1940s. These panel strips, clipped from newspapers, are from a couple of decades earlier in 1925. Gross' approach to funniness was an inverted gag. You always knew what the punch line was, you just had to read the gag that led up to the punch line. Of course, the crazy artwork added a lot to the gag, too. defines the expression "banana oil". Banana oil: Bunk, hokum, hogwash, nonsense. This American slang term for insincere talk derives from the literal banana oil, a synthetic compound used as a paint solvent and in artificial fruit flavors, itself so called because its odor resembles that of bananas. Its figurative use combines its characteristics of excessive sweetness and unctuousness.

I couldn't have explained it better myself. (To which you loudly reply, "banana oil!")

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