Thursday, July 6, 2017

Q Toon: Hans und Franz

It's high time that someone came up with some go-to characters for us cartoonists who have to draw something about Germany. The German parliament voted last week in favor of full marriage equality for same-sex and different-sex couples, which, of course, I applaud. But I can't credit the one German politician who would be recognizable in the U.S., Chancellor Angela Merkel, because she voted against it.

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Jul 6, 2017
So whom could I cast as the principal characters in this week's cartoon? The most recognizable fictional German characters I can think of are Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schulz; but even though they are the closest thing in the American cultural vernacular to sympathetic Nazis, they are Nazis nevertheless. I just didn't want to freight this celebration of  Gleichstellung der Gleichgeschlechtlichen Ehe with the complicated relationship between the Third Reich and its homosexuals.

Saturday Night Live gave us Mike Myers's Dieter, the host of Sprockets, who, conveniently enough for this cartoon concept, turned out to be gay (Will Farrell played his lover Helmut in one sketch), and I kind of wish I had come up with an effective reference to this character.

Instead, I went with the more familiar pair of Hans & Franz, and opted to address their Austrian nationality head-on. Because, really, what real-life German pair comes to mind anyway?

Sigmund Freud and Erwin Schrödinger? Austrian.

Wolfgang Mozart and Franz Schubert? Austrian.

For that matter, Adolph Hitler? Also from Austria.

Where, by the way, same-sex couples still have only civil union rights.

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