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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 10/ 6/2008

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

By Michael Cavna

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 a large speaking role.
(c.) "Pearls Before Swine" and "Candorville" recognize Cooper for the fertile comic fodder that he is.

If you chose "c," then congrats. Stephan Pastis and Darrin Bell surely recognize that though Chris Matthews and Bill O'Reilly could be great fun, they are already -- as screen personas -- well into the realm of tele-caricatures. Big, bold and broadly painted. Anderson, on the other hand, makes for a slyer, wrier take.

The best political team in comics? (UPS) Enlarge Comic

Darrin Bell answers the briefs-or-boxers debate. (WPWG) Enlarge Comic

Pastis has seized upon Cooper's laugh -- which can startle if you've never heard it before -- while Bell plumbs the image of Anderson as intrepid correspondent, ready to brave the waters of Katrina or Vietnam's Nodung River. It's Martin Sheen in "Apocalypse Now," right down to his tighty whities.

Do Pastis and Bell go one step too far? Well, watch Anderson brave shark-infested waters -- and hear him laugh -- and you can judge both gags for yourself:


Is "Darb" free for unpaid speechwriting? (UFS) Enlarge Comic

GET FUZZY: Remember when Obama's campaign inadvertently copped a punch-line from Post cartoonist Tom Toles? Well, Bucky's last-panel kicker is so delicious today -- regardless of party line -- we half-expect the McCain campaign to begin pasting it on signs and buttons.

Peril is all a matter of perspective. (NAS) Enlarge Comic

MARK TRAIL: The visual effect of an attacking alligator crying for "Help!" makes for surreal fun -- as in "Help rescue me from this painful storyline!" Our official favorite Unintentional Laff O' the Day.

On the heels of The Post's comics poll... (KFS) Enlarge Comic

ZIPPY THE PINHEAD: In the Comic Riffs poll last week, roughly one-fourth of the 700 voting readers chose "Zippy" as the strip they would boot from The Post's funnypages. Judging by today's strip, though, Bill Griffith is making a plea (or meta-plea) to appear in the Baltimore Sun.

By Michael Cavna  | October 6, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Riff: Appreciating a Great Post Journalist


"Demo" was a LOL line. The whole strip was great. The "I've never heard anyone do that" was just the sort of trap I can see someone in a political "debate" falling into.

And I think Mark Trail is looking for a phone booth so he can change. He has to get the alligator before the magician in The Piranha Club gets hold of him and puts him in the act.

Posted by: f2 | October 6, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

When you can draw your attention away from the pixelish charms of Dixie Julep in today's Judge Parker, note the discrepancy between the 'Previously on Judge Parker' box setting the scene for those who came in more than a month ago by explaining that "Dixie admits that Dewey and Bill Duggan had a recent falling out!" and the dialog about the cause of the argument between Dewey and "Bob".

Huh? It's not Bill? Or maybe somebody's not paying attention

Posted by: Bill or Bob? | October 6, 2008 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I watched the AC vid and there's no laughter on there...what am I missing?

Posted by: confused | October 6, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

WRT the Anderson Cooper strips: it's not that much different from when Garry Trudeau skewers Geraldo Rivera or when he brings in his media personification, Roland Hedley. Whenever the person reporting the story BECOMES the story, it's fair game.

Posted by: Daniel J. Drazen | October 6, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Noticed the talking alligator immediately this morning. Why is it walking through the woods? Don't they frequent swamps? Why is she named 'Sue'?

Why is the lady wearing a business suit for her walk in the woods / not a swamp?

Why is Mark Trail's hair piece (with racing stripes) spinning around?

Judge Parker: Even the author has forgotten the point of this whole story arc. This has become a Stephen King novel where the author has no idea how it ends...

Posted by: JkR | October 6, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I didn't hear the Anderson laugh either...but bless YouTube's heart...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | October 6, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, do not find Anderson's laugh as startling, its actually entertaining to watch him laugh.

Posted by: Megan | October 6, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Funny Anderson Cooper, Ha. Seems the results are in, the most electable republican ticket would be Huckabee/Palin, not McCain/Palin this is according to a new poll at nearly 4 to 1 people would preffer Huckabee/Palin over McCain/Palin. Ha The RNC got it way wrong this time.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

In the first panel of Mark Trail, that 'gator looks downright cute and friendly. (I was going to say "cuddly," but I think that word is never appropriate for reptiles). It's probably yelling for help because the nasty lady is trying to hit it.

Posted by: Anonamoos | October 6, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I missed the poll, but I hope the Washington Post ignores those irony-impaired respondents clamoring for "Zippy"s expulsion from the Post.

I only read four Post strips daily: Zippy, Watch Your Head, Candorville, and The Piranha Club, and I would hate for any of them to go because the haters all have the squeakier wheels. You only hear from those of us who love particular strips when we get wind of someone advocating for their removal.

Posted by: Zipateer here | October 6, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Zippy long ran in the Baltimore Sun--including the Sunday strip, which the Post has never carried. Then when the paper was redesigned two months or so ago, the Sun took two pages of strips down to one, not only dropping strips such as Zippy and Rex Morgan, but compressing the remaining strips so greatly that some are downright distorted. It's a mess.

Posted by: Jack | October 7, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

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