Now it really gets surreal. Mr. Hookem is standing in his store. A small Krazy-Kat-type animal is swimming in a puddle. Pete is bumping ugly with some hideous creature, and the proboscis contact yields the Stars of Pain. Hookem’s cigar has left a mound of ash, as though he’s been standing there for an hour. That’s one of the trademarks of a good High Pressure Pete cartoon: Swan lets time pass even though it clearly hasn’t.


Doc Bones. Starting to wonder where Robert Crumb might have picked up a few ideas?

This strip contains another HPP standby: the crowd. People seem to assemble to observe a character’s humiliation; they all enjoy a good laugh when someone’s flip-taked off the frame. Here the usual hats are ejected; a toothache towel levitates, intact; poor Hookem apparently explodes, and among the ejecta is the cigar from panel one. Note how the black stain of the leaky pen in panel three is now the gaping hole caused by Hookem’s detonation, anticipating a Warner Brothers gag by several decades.