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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 08/21/2008

The Rant: Improving "Prickly's" Rundown City

By Michael Cavna

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 have beheld some mighty fine editorial cartoons by Scott Stantis, particularly when they're published in color. He even does some pretty swell political caricatures, in our humble estimation. The man can draw. And deftly so.

Somedays, however, we're at a total loss to appreciate his "Prickly City" style. And, as the commenter "Julia" stated so well the other day: "Is it just me or has Stantis' art gotten even worse in the last few weeks?"

To be clear, we have nothing against the ultra-thin pen line. Wiley Miller, for one, wields a beautiful fine-line, and his single-panel "Non Sequitur" strips especially impress us with their crisp craftsmanship. "Prickly City," on the other hand, sometimes looks as if the nearest felt-tip pen was short on ink -- a Flair on its last legs. Which might explain why in today's strip, that critter has, well, no legs.

When "loose" art doesn't have a leg to stand on. (UPS)
Enlarge Comic

Commenters like Julia, and us, don't want to witness the overly loose version of "Prickly." Mahler can have unfinished symphonies; Winslow and Carmen, we want to see finished.

By Michael Cavna  | August 21, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Rants  
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Xenophobia and jingoism. Always a great combination.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 21, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Every artist has his own style. It took me a while to visually appreciate PBS or South Park, so I could get into the humour, but the result was worth it.

With Prickly, well, it ain't worth it.

And sometimes it seems like he's trying to draw using a pen that's too fine for the newspaper, and other times it looks like the rough sketch that someimes accompanies the Sunday Zits.

Posted by: f2 | August 21, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I looks OK if you sit in a vibrating chair.

Posted by: Horacio | August 21, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he's baiting someone to fire him?

The artwork and the themes are rushed, as if he just doesn't care anymore.

Posted by: Ollabelle | August 21, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I try not to criticize people's art, because if that's how they want it to look than so be it. If his style is rough sketches, than who am I to judge? The problem is his work is inconsistent, which leads me to believe its half-@ssed and rushed

Posted by: Jesse | August 21, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

My guess, and it is *purely* a guess, is that Stantis might be having troubles with his drawing arm again as he did in December 2006 - Dave Astor of Editor and Publisher noted at the time, "[Matt] Davies will do the Dec. 11-16 episodes of the comic "in the spirit of bipartisanship" while Stantis recovers from rotator-cuff surgery."

Posted by: Mike Rhode | August 21, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm wondering what's going to happen when Obama wins in November. Stantis has already shown signs of seeing which way the wind is blowing, because he's taken a few mild potshots at his GOP overlords. If he's not careful, he'll stop getting emailed the official talking points every morning, and he'll stop being invited to the barbecues at John McCain's 7 or 8 houses.

Posted by: Barmy | August 22, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for picking up on this. I don't agree with Stantis' political views, but I think he can sometimes be pretty funny. These last couple weeks of strips, though - I can't even tell what's going on. It's not stylized - it's bad.

Posted by: Julia | August 22, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Santis' strip this morning (8/23) is embarrassing. So now all Democrats are Communists? Might have been funny in the 1950s.

Posted by: Murphy | August 23, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I would love to comment on specific comics, if only I could view them. The response each time I click on a specific comic is, "Not Defined". Can someone please help fix this problem?

Posted by: A. Knight | August 25, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Remember when Rumsfeld talked about Old Europe? Well, Stantis is 100% Old America. "Head fer the hills, Maw - there's Comm'nists on the loose!"

Or you could say he's 100% France too - stuck in his old old old ways.

Posted by: David | August 27, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

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