Daryl Cagle asks an interesting question on his blog regarding the many George Carlin tribute cartoons depicting him, an outspoken atheist, at the Pearly Gates. He asks:
Does the cartoonist’s religious view trump the celebrity’s religion in an obituary cartoon? For a Christian cartoonist, who believes that his own religion is the only correct religion, is an obituary cartoon an opportunity to show that the celebrity’s religious views were wrong – as the dead celebrity would surely know by now, as he is really at the Pearly Gates right now?
He received response from Scott Stantis, Steve Benson, Steve Nease, and John Deering. Most responded that the setting was an easy vehicle to make a larger point.
Specifically Scott Stantis wrote:
I did, indeed, mean George Carlin at the Pearly Gates as an irreverent commentary within the cartoon. I readily admit I have drawn my fair share of pearly gates and crying mascots in the past. But recently I have tried to take my inspiration from the obit cartoons of Pat Oliphant. When he does do them he places them in some kind of context of the persons life and impact. With George Carlin, (of whom I consider myself a fan), his contribution to comedy and social discourse was to tear down the walls of conformity and ridicule the overly serious. His anti-religion screeds grew longer and more serious near the end.
Hence, a cartoon I hoped would be viewed as irreverent. At least to those familiar with the subject.