As much as I resent being told not to
rock, I enjoy the "death by Coke machine" symbol for one primary
reason: the guy looks like he's about to get super powers. A machine
full of chemical-laden soda is about to hit him, and meanwhile mysterious
lightning bolts are shooting towards his head. Isn't that pretty much
the Flash's origin? No doubt the combination of electricity, caffeine,
and caramel coloring will transform him into the Carbonator ("The World's
Bubbliest Hero!"). He'll team up with Deep Fry, the Pounder, and Las
Ketchup to form the League of Noshers and okay I'm done with this now.
It isn't easy to sketch, but it gets the point across. Lesser minds
might have gone with pictograms of multiple-headed babies or breadloaf-sized
tumors, but the creators of the biohazard symbol managed to come up with
a completely abstract icon that nonetheless perfectly conveys the
concept "something nearby will fuck you and/or your offspring up
in a disturbingly organic manner." Plus it has radial symmetry, which
I always appreciate in life-threatening situations. A+
with the radiation symbol is that it has somehow become quaint and
anachronistic, in spite of the fact that radiation, as far as I know,
still exists. It brings to mind ducking and covering, underground
bunkers in the backyard, and black-and-white safety films featuring
turtles. You might as well replace all the radiation signs with a picture
of a clean-shaven, pipe-holding father figure and the caption "Now you
youngsters keep your heads about you. There are some mighty
unpleasant rays hereabouts. And no stick ball until you do your homework."
In terms of visceral imagery there's nothing
like a hand with a nice chunk taken out. I wonder, though, what's
up with the owner of that hand? He seems to completely lack basic
self-preservation reflexes. The hand is calmly extended even as another
drop of Generic Corrosive Substance is hurtling towards it. It's as
if he's thinking "Maybe just the first drop eats through flesh like
a caterpillar on a mulberry leaf, and the rest is okay. I wouldn't
want the searing pain screaming up my arm to make me jump to conclusions."
There's also a similarly calm bar of unidentified material, just
so you know that not even your bars of unidentified material are safe.
It's troubling that the symbol for "poison"
and the symbol for "pirate" are the same. Sure, it saves printing
costs if you're a poison pirate, but what about the rest of us?
Say you're exploring a tropical atoll in that way you always do,
and you come across a big carved wooden chest with a skull-and-crossbones
on it. What are you going to do? If it's a poison symbol the proper
response is to walk away and tell an adult. But if it's a pirate symbol
we're talking doubloons and pieces of eight and possibly some sort
of locket. Or say you witness a loved one chugging floor wax. After
a panicked flip through the front of the phone book, you accidentally
call the Pirate Control Center. You're going to feel