Archive: August 2008

The E-Mailbag: Obama, Clinton and the Caption Contest!

As the Democratic Party streamers and donkey-emblazoned banners get swept up today at Invesco Field, it's time to announce this week's Caption Contest winner for the Obama/Clinton illustration. Conventional wisdom. (Newark Star-Ledger) Enlarge Comic Judging the surrogate captions for the...

By Michael Cavna | August 29, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (19)

The Morning Line: Taking Lynn Johnston's Spot on The Post Pages Is...

When we announced Wednesday that The Post will drop "For Better or For Worse" from the print-edition's funnypages, many of the nearly 200 responses we received included at least two of these three questions (and we paraphrase wildly): 1. What...

By Michael Cavna | August 29, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

The Riff: When Comics Literally Show Their Age...

As a cartoonist, when you create a gag-a-day comic panel that has no continuing characters, you occasionally gaze at the strips that do have characters and think: How much easier would THAT be? Even when such a feature is not...

By Michael Cavna | August 28, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

The Morning Line: Turn Your Head and Coif...

This blog at last has its blessed mantra:"I don't feel it's healthy to keep your faults bottled up inside me." Ahh. One twisted pronoun, but pure poetry. Those inspired words are spouted by the crazy-eyed kitty that is Bucky, who...

By Michael Cavna | August 28, 2008; 6:01 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: 'For Better or for Worse's' Lynn Johnston

"I just want to be happy with my job," says cartoonist Lynn Johnston.Enlarge Image Nearly three decades after launching "For Better or For Worse" from the small Canadian community of Lynn Lake, LYNN JOHNSTON has decided it's time to tell...

By Michael Cavna | August 27, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (38)

The Morning Line: When Lio Chooses Stewie

Oh, is little Lio all too typical of far too many tykes these days? V.T. Hamlin first created ol' "Alley Oop" 76 years ago, and the time-travelin' cave-man with the war hammer long did a commendable job of satirizing modern...

By Michael Cavna | August 27, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Riff: Where Cartoonists Go to Die in The Post...

As near as anyone can tell, it is by freak occurrence and in no way by design. Yet somehow, it is quite tidy in its cosmic, comic segregation. Namely: Nearly all the dead guys are buried in the same corner...

By Michael Cavna | August 26, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

The Morning Line: Brewster Rocks Our E-World

We were in Caribou Coffee, but it could have been any kaffeeklatch in which frazzled workaday folk seek WiFi and a piping four-buck beverage served McQuickly. The customer striding up to the counter was talking mile-a-minute into her Bluetooth, adrift...

By Michael Cavna | August 26, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Rant: A Showdown to Whet Our Appetites

If Garfield won't fight other critters, then we implore him to put up his paws and display the one activity he has shown a talent for: Eat, you zaftig kitty! Eat! Feline, meet fusilli. Fusilli, feline. (UFS)Enlarge Comic There's just...

By Michael Cavna | August 25, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Finding Political Strips to Nominate

As the Democratic National Convention gets into gear, often will we hear the impassioned chant: "O-bam-a!" And when Sen. Clinton has her Denver moment, her Greek chorus of diehard followers will chant: "Hil-la-ry!" To those names we'd like to submit...

By Michael Cavna | August 25, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The E-Mailbag: "The Caption Contest Results Are In, Jeffy...!"

We could not let the Family Circus leave Washington without a proper sendoff. Lacking balloons, bunting, pinwheels, confetti, parade floats or a key-to-the-city, we followed the strip's dotted-line trail to the Monument, where we instead honored them with: a...

By Michael Cavna | August 22, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

The Morning Line: The Riffys: These Cartoons Are the Katt's Pajamas

After scouring the strips far and wide, we find before us a kitty after our own heart. At last, in Bucky Katt, here's someone on the comics page who appreciates -- nay, who understands -- the critic. In today's first...

By Michael Cavna | August 22, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Rant: Improving "Prickly's" Rundown City

Art, and the beauty therein, may be in the eye of the beholder. But right now, we're beholdin' today's "Prickly City" and -- try as we might -- we're not finding a whole lotta beauty. Now, to be fair, we...

By Michael Cavna | August 21, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

The Morning Line: Hot Cartoon Characters on Parade!

It's a debate as old as the beer commercial. The name of the game is: Which Fictional Character Is Hotter? As in: Rhett or Ashley? Ginger or Mary Ann? Or pretty much any of the characters in the current flick...

By Michael Cavna | August 21, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

The Riff: From Harvey Pekar, the Power of Honest Comics

Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner tell their tale in the film "American Splendor." (John Clifford/Courtesy of HBO/Fine Line) Comics are often tagged as pure escapism, but that limiting a label does some of them a disservice. Emotionally true comics...

By Michael Cavna | August 20, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Morning Line: Cartoons That Just "Kill"...

A standup comic once offhandedly shared with us what audiences laugh the most at: "Nothing 'kills' like death." If that's the case, then today's Post toons are the height of hilarity. From the philosophical to the literal, they're to die...

By Michael Cavna | August 20, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Interview With the Creator: Writer Brian K. Vaughan

"Y: The Last Man." (Courtesy of Brian K. Vaughan) He writes for DC. He writes for Marvel. He bags his second Eisner Award this year for his own creation, the apocalyptic comic-book series "Y: The Last Man" (for which...

By Michael Cavna | August 19, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: This Olympics Fever Just Won't Break

The Olympic marathon continues to hurtle by at the speed of sound -- as long as that sound is, say, the glacial golf dialogue in "Judge Parker." By "Olympic marathon," we speak not of the Beijing Games themselves but rather...

By Michael Cavna | August 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Interview: "Cul de Sac's" Richard Thompson

CUL DE SAC Strip (Richard Thompson) ">Enlarge Comic It's not often, when promised a "Q&A," you are delivered a literal question-and-answer. As in one Question, one Answer. But -- voila! -- here 'tis. "Cul de Sac's" Richard Thompson (Courtesy of...

By Michael Cavna | August 18, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Morning Line: 'Frazz' & the Evolution of a Comic Mystery

FRAZZ: Is it (primordial) soup yet? (UFS) Enlarge Comic When a cartoonist develops a rep for lacing his comic with sly references, we begin to read that strip in search of secondary cues and clues. Suddenly it's no longer just...

By Michael Cavna | August 18, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

The E-Mailbag: The Caption Contest That Does Not Insult You With Cash Prizes!

AND THE WINNERS OF OUR FIRST O-FFIC-IAL CAPTION CONTEST ARE... We put out a call for Caption Contest entries last week and your clever responses did not disappoint. The cartoon in question was a recent "Rhymes With Orange" strip...

By Michael Cavna | August 15, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (24)

The Morning Line: The Riffy Awards (For Better or for Worse)

Much business to take care of today, so let's get right to it... First, many within the cartooning community are a-chattering over this week's announcement that beginning Sept. 1, "For Better or For Worse" will move into what is being...

By Michael Cavna | August 15, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

The Riff: An Ode to "Calvin and Hobbes"

Bill Watterson's tot and tiger remain irreplaceable. "For all their seeming simplicity, the expressive possibilities of comics rival those of any other art form." -- Bill Watterson (2001) For a time as a teen, we spent countless hours studying...

By Michael Cavna | August 14, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (29)

The Morning Line: When Comics "Pull a Pastis"...

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE: Oh, Rat leaves his mark all right. (UFS)Enlarge Comic In today's "Pearls Before Swine," Rat coins a phrase that we feel compelled to appropriate without shame, embarrassment or royalty payment. The new phrase is "Pulling a Pastis,"...

By Michael Cavna | August 14, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (15)

The Rant: "Beetle Bailey" Must Shape Up or Ship Out

BEETLE BAILEY: It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that relevant ring... (KFS) Enlarge Comic In three weeks, "Beetle Bailey" will celebrate its 58th birthday. And to that we whoop: "Congratulations!" "What an accomplishment!" Oh, and one other...

By Michael Cavna | August 13, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (19)

The Morning Line: When Bad Art Happens to Good Characters

When a witty comic-stripper who has no pretension of drawing well gives us bizarre art, we get it. To quibble over the art is like complaining about the cinematography of a hilarious Christopher Guest mockumentary. Then, though, there are the...

By Michael Cavna | August 13, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Rant: DC Is the Funniest City...After Montreal?

When it comes to comedy, with all due respect, this month's GQ magazine has all the ham-handed insight of a Gallagher routine. We've no beef with Seth Rogen cracking the cover of the recent "Comedy Issue," you understand, and...

By Michael Cavna | August 12, 2008; 2:49 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: From John Edwards, Cartoon Lessons Learned

SALLY FORTH: Where parting is such sweet sorrow. (KFS)Enlarge Comic If there is one overarching Life Lesson to be gleaned from the whole John Edwards run-of-the-mill(worker) affair -- at least for cartoonists -- it is this: A pretty head of...

By Michael Cavna | August 12, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

The E-Mailbag: Now Taking Your Comments (Out of Context)

Time, now, to dip into the e-mailbag... Thanks for the interview with Stephan Pastis -- "Pearls" is required daily reading! Pig, Rat, Zebra, the crocs -- they're all great. Can't wait to introduce our baby (due in March!) to this...

By Michael Cavna | August 11, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Morning Line: The Olympic Bar Is Mighty Uneven

When you're a comic-stripper staring at that blank Bristol board, turning to World Events for inspiration can be a double-edged Exact-O knife. In the best of all worlds, you tap into the approaching zeitgeist with sparkling wit and eerie prescience....

By Michael Cavna | August 11, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

The Interview: Political Cartoonist Mike Luckovich

Mike Luckovich: "If Obama wins, he's going to be difficult. Maybe he'll have an idiot vice president." Politically speaking, this year has given much. From "Saturday Night Live" debate sketches to New Yorker magazine's controversial cover, political humorists have...

By Michael Cavna | August 8, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: When Laffs Are an Olympian Task

TANK McNAMARA: Let the synchronized-tween-gymnasts-on-steroids jokes begin. (UPS)Enlarge Comic As the glorious Olympic torch is raised aloft tonight and the world's ultimate athletes bask in the heart-warming glow of international camaraderie before battling friend, foe and Beijing "air," there is...

By Michael Cavna | August 8, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Interview: Political Cartoonist Signe Wilkinson

Signe Wilkinson: So why is Obama so enjoyable to caricature? "He's got great eyebrows and a great mouth and he's a lean, skinny guy. He came pre-packaged!" For Sunday's Post Style&Arts piece on political caricature, we talked shop with...

By Michael Cavna | August 7, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: Our First Caption Contest

RHYMES WITH ORANGE: Your caption here. Literally. (King Features) Enlarge Comic We knew this fateful day could come. We've been biding our time -- waiting, waiting patiently for that just-right cartoon for Comic Riffs's first o-ffic-ial Caption Contest. And this,...

By Michael Cavna | August 7, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

The Afternoon Line: When "Brewster" and "Sally" Collide

BREWSTER ROCKIT (Tribune Media) Enlarge Comic SALLY FORTH (King Features) Enlarge Comic So we're zipping through today's "Brewster Rockit," as our favorite space guy dissolves into a flashback loop, when suddenly we are struck by an intense flashback of our...

By Michael Cavna | August 6, 2008; 2:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: Political Cartoonist Steve Breen

Steve Breen. For Sunday's Post piece on political caricature, we talked shop with STEVE BREEN, the San Diego Union-Tribune's Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonist. Here's the full interview, in which Breen also shares his thoughts on his artistic idols, reader complaints,...

By Michael Cavna | August 5, 2008; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: "Judge Parker" & the Lemon Law

JUDGE PARKER: A smooth drive turns into one shifty proposition. (North America Syndicate) Enlarge Comic Damn you, "Judge Parker" -- you confound us and bedevil us like no other. You tempt us with sleek lines and winning curves, but then,...

By Michael Cavna | August 5, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Political Cartoon: An Endangered Line of Work

First, thanks for your e-mails of appreciation for the Political Caricature article in Sunday's Washington Post. Now, as promised, we continue the conversation about political cartooning ... For many years we heard the mid-decibel buzz that newspaper political cartoonists were...

By Michael Cavna | August 4, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Morning Line: The Eternal Search for "Calvin's" Kin

BIG NATE: Some readers come seeking Calvin 2.0. (NEA) Enlarge Comic Ever since Bill Watterson packed up his toys and went home, the deep longing for his creations to return doesn't seem to subside. Devoted fans hold out hope, commiserate...

By Michael Cavna | August 4, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Morning Line: When Frazz Razzes Rockwell

During his life, Norman Rockwell's name was rarely associated with controversy, and most of the debate since has centered on whether the Art World should recognize him as an "artist" and not just a mere illustrator. But it is refreshing...

By Michael Cavna | August 3, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

The Political Cartoon: When Satire Misses a Twist

In Sunday's Style&Arts section of The Washington Post, we discuss the art of the political caricature with three Pulitzer-winning editorial cartoonists: Steve Breen, Signe Wilkinson and Mike Luckovich. In the course of our interviewing Luckovich, he shared his thoughts on...

By Michael Cavna | August 2, 2008; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: That Vexing "Family" Tree

FAMILY CIRCUS: Who's the better gag writer: Bil or Billy? (King Features) Enlarge Comic Do not be fooled. Oh, "Family Circus" pretends to be a mild-mannered, stuck-in-the-'60s comic panel, but that is a mere ruse. Under the cloak of simplicity,...

By Michael Cavna | August 2, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The E-Mailbag: Now Taking Your Cheeky Comments...

The Top Ten List: We respond to your questions and comments... We were wrong, apparently, to call this blog Comic Riffs. Given our collective preoccupations in recent days, we should have dubbed it Comic Midriffs. The Week That Was, you...

By Michael Cavna | August 1, 2008; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Morning Line: "Beetle's" Buck[Naked] Privates

We read "Beetle Bailey" -- with its painfully dated gags -- and only one word comes to mind. Not "funny." Nor "quaint." No, the only term that often resonates is this: "pervy." BEETLE BAILEY: This man's army loves its privates...

By Michael Cavna | August 1, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

 
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