Archive: October 2008

Obama Wins? Yes, 'Doonesbury' Calls the Election!

Networks have long taken flak for calling elections early, but what are newspaper editors to do when a cartoonist "calls" an election several days in advance? That's the controversial question raised by next Wednesday's "Doonesbury," which Pulitzer-winning creator Garry Trudeau...

By Michael Cavna | October 31, 2008; 1:47 PM ET | Comments (27)

Who'll Win the White House? Cartoonists Issue Their Predictions

As TV's campaign pundits chirp like nocturnal birds of prey, the buzzwords can begin to blend together. Listen too long, and it all becomes its own nonsensical night-song. Honestly, bend an ear and you will nearly hear: "Spread-the-wealth-when-rogue-diva-field-dresses-Karl-Marx-then-international-crisis-but-media-in-the-tank-for-Joe-the-Plumber! ... You-betcha!"...

By Michael Cavna | October 31, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: Come Halloween, the Geek Shall Inherit the Mirth

Time once again for the Riffy Awards, which this week hew to a Halloween theme. And hands down, there is one comic prospect that frightens us right down to our double-wool socks: Namely, the thought of being cornered at a...

By Michael Cavna | October 31, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Reader Cartoon Contest: Time to Vote for Obama or McCain

To the notion of election commentary by civilians, some highfalutin pundits would tell you: "Don't try this at home. Leave it to the professionals, thankyouverymuch." To which we would politely reply: Pshaw. Poppycock. And cork your piehole. Comic Riffs takes...

By Michael Cavna | October 30, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Morning Line: When You Wish Upon an Upstart

Woe unto Dennis and Jeffy, a coupla down-on-their-luck dreamers who prove that today, the true visionaries live in single-panel land. The boy with the V-chip on his shoulder. (KFSEnlarge Comic There's "Dennis the Menace's" lovable titular scamp, declaring his vision...

By Michael Cavna | October 30, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Semifinals: Who Should Be Character-in-Chief?

As the real-life presidential election dwindles to less than a week away, so, too, do the cartoon candidacies. Since Friday, you the Comic Riffs Voter have narrowed the field of contenders for the top job -- namely, the comic creations...

By Michael Cavna | October 29, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: The Wordplay's the Thing--but Which Puns to Pan?

Puns to the left of me, double-entendres to the right. Or, as Shakespeare might have quipped: "Get thee to a punnery!" Mucking through today's funnypages is sticky stuff, indeed -- even for the comics, the wordplay is thick on the...

By Michael Cavna | October 29, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Riff: Stuck for a Halloween Costume? Try This Character at Home

Stumped for Halloween? For many grownups, the "what to go as?" question is particularly vexing this year. Sarah Palin and Barack Obama both seem way played-out as costume ideas, as does dressing as "the Economy." So as a reader service,...

By Michael Cavna | October 28, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

This Just In: The Post's Replacement for 'Opus' Is...

Hot off the cartoon wire comes this news: The loss of Opus is Keith Knight's gain. Keith Knight's edgy strip comes to The Post's pages. (UFS) Enlarge Comic Knight's self-titled comic "The Knight Life" will replace the retiring "Opus" in...

By Michael Cavna | October 28, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Rant: 'Garfield': Nine Lives, but Are They Worth Living?

Some comic strips, like great music, have soul. And then there is Garfield. Does anybody really know what time it is? (UPS) Enlarge Comic "Garfield" is the huge bubblegum pop hit that is catchy, that understandably appeals to kids --...

By Michael Cavna | October 27, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Write Your Own 'Toons for Fun and Profit

Economy got you down? Bills aplenty and stocks a-crashed have you considering that second -- or third -- job? Then it just might be time for you to consider an exciting new career as a Professional Gag Writer. Sound daunting?...

By Michael Cavna | October 27, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Painting Sarah Palin in a Comic Light

Comic-book artists have already portrayed the candidate as Sarah Palin the Book-Burner. Now they'll depict the veep candidate as Sarah Palin the Positive Female Force. TALES FROM THE CRYPT: Palin portrayed as a flaming censor. (Papercutz)Enlarge Comic Comic Riffs reported...

By Michael Cavna | October 24, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Mmm. Maryland Donut Shop Is Ready for Its Closeup

Zippy may be a pinhead, but give him this: the head of that pin is pushed into one really accurate map. Bill Griffith, you see, goes for true geographic realism. A Maryland toon can rest on its Laurel. (KFS) Enlarge...

By Michael Cavna | October 24, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Draw Your Own Obama/McCain Conclusions...HERE.

I've heard the sentiment expressed more than once. A week. And almost always, it's very well-meaning: "Hey, I've got a great idea for a political cartoon. Now, I don't draw so well myself, so maybe you could draw it. Listen...

By Michael Cavna | October 23, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: One Story for the Price of Two

Somedays, "Mark Trail" and "Judge Parker" seem like similar strips. Except for today, that is, when they are the EXACT same strip. Even the tree rodents know what lies ahead. (NAS) Enlarge Comic Do not forget the name "Jim Yelich"!...

By Michael Cavna | October 23, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: "Opus's" Berkeley Breathed

For a fella accursed with wings that won't work, few creations have soared as creatively high as Opus the Penguin. And joining him for that three-decade ride in such rarefied air has been his creator, BERKELEY BREATHED (who, we should...

By Michael Cavna | October 22, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: From Bill Watterson to Bil Keane

Somewhere, the lean, bespectacled Bill Watterson is sitting by a babbling heartland brook, delicately painting the changing October foliage while free of deadline or syndicate demands. We picture him peaceful, basking in nature's resplendent glory. Only then -- as we've...

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

This Just In: 2009's 'Black Panther' News Is a Bombshell...

The first modern black superhero is about to get a serious facelift -- even if we can't yet see under the mask. Marvel Comics tells us that come 2009, the Black Panther will have a new look. As an "exclusive"...

By Michael Cavna | October 21, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

The Morning Line: 'Zippy' Creator Draws on Real (Pungent) Maryland

I'm occasionally asked how I read "Zippy the Pinhead." Not why I read "Zippy," but literally, HOW I read it. My answer is always some variation of two elements: 1. I toss aside expectations of a traditional comic-strip "progression" to...

By Michael Cavna | October 21, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The E-Mailbag: Your Vote Here--What Should Replace Opus?

Some 200 newspapers are deciding what to do once Opus waddles off into the sunset next month -- and off their Sunday pages for the last time. As the fateful day nears, who will fill his flipper-sized shoes? (WPWG) So...

By Michael Cavna | October 20, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

The Morning Line: Readers, Time to Write Your Own Plotline

Judging by the ol' sundial on the wall, "Judge Parker's" dilettante sleuth Sam Driver has now been hanging in an exotic dancer's home -- under the pretense of helping on a murder case -- since, oh, 2005. Or so it...

By Michael Cavna | October 20, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The E-Mailbag: YOU May Already Be a "Cul de Sac" Contest Winner!

There once was a furball named Danders... Readers capture the many faces of the Otterloops. (UPS) As "Cul de Sac" celebrated its first birthday in syndication this month, Comic Riffs invited readers to show their short-form poetic appreciation for the...

By Michael Cavna | October 17, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: The Survival of the Funniest

What's the most enjoyable comic strip of the week? By a country mile -- or however far those crocs are absolutely walloping the ball -- it's gotta be "Pearls Before Swine." The game of his life. (UFS) Enlarge Comic I'd...

By Michael Cavna | October 17, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The E-Mailbag: Vote NOW for Character-in-Chief...

We've kicked off the nominating process. Now it's time to get serious about your presidential candidates. (And no, we don't mean Joe the Plumber -- thanks for flagging the funny and uber-timely New Adventures of Queen Victoria, "jimbo1949".) Which cartoon...

By Michael Cavna | October 16, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

The Morning Line: McCain Needs to Seek This Media 'Circus'

Some polls say John McCain is trailing badly in the presidential race, but my friends, do not put all your stock in such capricious surveys. No, to monitor the heart of the electorate, one must look for subtler signs. The...

By Michael Cavna | October 16, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Which Cartoonist KO'd Obama or McCain?

By Nate BeelerEnlarge Comic It's a cliched campaign battle-cry that politicians, pundits and newscasters inevitably resort to when Election Day looms near: "Now, the gloves are off!" By Mike LuckovichEnlarge Comic But as the nation's editorial cartoonists ramp up to...

By Michael Cavna | October 15, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Morning Line: Why Palin Beats Obama in the Funnies

The complaint comes in strong and frequent. "How can you media elitists live with yourselves," goes the common kvetch to The Post, "when you run so many BIG pictures of Obama yet so many teensy pictures of McCain -- when...

By Michael Cavna | October 15, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Five Webcomics to Keep Your Eye On...

Here in the land of Comic Riffage, whenever the subject of online comics comes up, some passionate readers will take one of two tacks. Either: 1. "You guys at WaPo should really run THIS cool webcomic in print!"; or 2....

By Michael Cavna | October 14, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

The Morning Line: The Surefire Solution to Surviving Comic Cutbacks

The news grows more gruesome by the month: Many newspapers keep cutting back their funnypages, in some misguided hope that they aren't also losing hundreds or thousands of comics readers in the process. The whole thing smacks of killing one...

By Michael Cavna | October 14, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Riff: How Cartoonists Can Cushion Our Pocketbook Pain

When cartoonists are the windows to our soul -- and wallet. (TMS) Enlarge Comic In these difficult and trying financial times, we thusly issue this heartfelt editorial -- nay, our open plea -- to our cartooning colleagues: When in the...

By Michael Cavna | October 13, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: The "Gotcha!" Cartoon

It's such ripe fodder, I'm half-surprised it hasn't wended its way into every third cartoon today. "Gotcha!" Bonus points for correctly using "media" as a plural verb. (TMS) Enlarge Comic "No mainstream media liberal games! You, Katie Couric, are the...

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

YOUR Vote Here: What Should Replace "Opus"?

Opus has packed his bags. Now is your time to yopp. Who will inherit Opus's dandelion-filled real estate? (WPWG) For those of you who remember your Seuss, you instantly recognize the reference to "Horton Hears a Who." Well, like the...

By Michael Cavna | October 10, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (67)

The Morning Line: Get Out the Joke

As we open the envelope, this week's Riffys resonate with electoral humor. Whether the results are rigged or not, the high court that is Comic Riffs stands by these results: The insults flew fast and spurious. (UFS) Enlarge Comic FAVE...

By Michael Cavna | October 10, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Riff: Time to Vote, My Friends: Who Should Be Character-in-Chief?

Now, nation, as we as all know, presidential politics have provided some of America's greatest slogans: "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!" "I Like Ike!" "You could do worse ... and always have!" That last one -- still our personal fave --...

By Michael Cavna | October 9, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (23)

The Morning Line: When Humanity Goes to the Dogs

We were weaned on Snoopy's thought balloons, then graduated to talking penguins and pooches. Now, we don't even blink when "Get Fuzzy's" Rob Wilco, aka the Virtual Agoraphobe, has extended dialogue with his shut-in pets and no one appears with...

By Michael Cavna | October 9, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Riff: The Funny Bone's Connected to the...Mind's-Eye

For our deeper laughs today, the funnypages are all about the visuals. Does Sherman cross the line? (KFS) Enlarge Comic "Sherman's Lagoon," for one, wades into comic-strip cross-pollination by invoking that famous -- and to some, infamous -- dotted line...

By Michael Cavna | October 8, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Obama! Palin! Who's Got the Best Line?...

As pundits and the press provide instant reaction to the political debates, there's one group that labors to keep up with this rapid campaign cycle: the nation's political cartoonists. Or, as artist Ruben Bolling says of cartooning during this quickly...

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

The Riff: Is "Beetle Bailey" Like "Mad Men" Without the Wink?

One is a fresh, Emmy-winning show with serious buzz. The other is a hall-of-fame cartoon that is often derided as stale and past its prime. So what could AMC's slick "Mad Men" and Mort Walker's old-school "Beetle Bailey" possibly have...

By Michael Cavna | October 7, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Morning Line: When Pastis Goes for "Peanuts"

Yesterday, "Pearls Before Swine's" Stephan Pastis was on the same wavelength as "Candorville." Today, he is on the same wavelength as Monday's baseball-themed "Peanuts." Deja-vu all over again. (UFS) Enlarge Comic Good grief, gnarly Rat. (UFS) Enlarge Comic Apparently Pastis...

By Michael Cavna | October 7, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

This Just In: OPUS, and Breathed, to Retire Next Month...

Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed is announcing today that not only will he retire his weekly strip "Opus" on Nov. 2 -- right before the election -- but that he himself is also walking away from his 30-year career in cartooning. His...

By Michael Cavna | October 6, 2008; 2:26 PM ET | Comments (57)

The Riff: Appreciating a Great Post Journalist

Gather 'round, friends. There's plenty of room in the back, near the water cooler and the wall o' Pulitzers. It is time now to take a moment to pay our respects to one of The Washington Post's most famous and...

By Michael Cavna | October 6, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Morning Line: When 'CNN' Is the Cartoonist News Network

Hey, kids, it's the official multiple-choice question du jour... News anchor Anderson Cooper appears in not one but two comics today because: (a.) CNN is the official choice of comic strippers the world over. (b.) Keith Olbermann wanted royalties and...

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

The E-Mailbag: Bucky and Beetle? Them's Fightin' Words

BEETLE BAILEY: No war, but a real commentary on war. (KFS)Enlarge Comic Some weeks ago, I offered thoughts on how to revivify "Beetle Bailey's" relevance. One of my toss-off suggestions: Have Beetle go to war. So imagine my surprise...

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

The Morning Line: All Palin, All the Time!

On the morning after the big debate, Sarah Palin continues to outpoint Joe Biden in at least one regard: The number of cartoon references she is inspiring. From the "Tales From the Crypt" series comes at least one book that...

By Michael Cavna | October 3, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (92)

The Interview: Alt-Political Cartoonist Ted Rall

Ted Rall: alt-cartoonist, reporter, new association prez, syndicate executive -- the portfolio still grows... (TED RALL) When we caught up with "alternative" political cartoonist TED RALL recently, his resume was as long as our arm -- and since then,...

By Michael Cavna | October 2, 2008; 11:17 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: The "Cul de Sac" Contest--YOU May Be a Winner!

CUL DE SAC: Be the first on your block to win a "Cul de Sac." (UPS)Enlarge Comic If you love the writing in "Cul de Sac," then it's time to do a little writing of your own. As the...

By Michael Cavna | October 2, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (22)

The Interview: "Iron Man" Writer Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction got his shot at Iron Man -- and sought to embrace new fans and honor the die-hards. (MARVEL) As the monster hit film "Iron Man" comes to DVD this week -- and Marvel and Paramount reach a...

By Michael Cavna | October 1, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: Market Blues? Political Strips Need to Bail Us Out

We're entertained by Tina Fey's latest eerie take on Sarah Palin. We smile as Stephen Colbert skewers failed bipartisan bailout efforts. We laugh at Bill Maher's new election-themed interview with Chris Rock. Healthy campaign humor abounds on the screen, but...

By Michael Cavna | October 1, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

 
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