Archive: November 2008

The Riffys: Dysfunctional Fun at the Forth Estate

As the tryptophan slowly wears off, I rouse to fulfill my honorbound duty to the hardworking cartoonists who made us laugh -- or wince with familial familiarity -- during Thanksgiving week. So without further adieu, this week's Riffy Awards: Putting...

By Michael Cavna | November 28, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: Today's Featured Cartoons, in Six Minutes or Less

During this busy holiday season, when your schedule is packed tighter than a turducken, 'Riffs offers a reader service: Here are your Six-Minute Comics (less if you speed-read), to save you valuable time. Happy holidays, Cartoon Nation. (WPWG) Enlarge Comic...

By Michael Cavna | November 28, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: Thanksgiving Comics, in Six Minutes or Less

Welcome, Cartoon Nation. During this busy holiday season, when your schedule is packed tighter than a turducken, 'Riffs offers a reader service: Here are your Six-Minute Comics (less if you speed-read), to save you valuable time. And Happy Thanksgiving. (UFS)...

By Michael Cavna | November 27, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Riff: Comic Riffs Gives Thanks

With Thanksgiving just hours away, Comic Riffs pauses to give heartfelt thanks to a handful of things. To wit: (UFS) Enlarge Comic 1. I AM THANKFUL THAT "Get Fuzzy's" Rob Wilco is on the front lines of the war on...

By Michael Cavna | November 26, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: Holiday Highlights in a Hurry

NECKLESS BOY MAKES PLEA TO SAVE TURKEY THAT STILL HAS ONE Some days, we feel positively sorry for the lovable scamp. Poor, poor Dennis: (KFS) Enlarge Comic Born without a neck, a change of clothes or even WALLS. No...

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

The Riff: Cartoonists Need Post-Palin Rehab

To the nation's topical cartoonists, this was the most soothing of balms. Whenever the all-too-painful symptoms of elusive news-cycles, too-complex issues or plain ol' gag-writers' block flared up, this was the cure-all -- a one-stop fix for all that ails...

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

The Morning Line: Your Holiday Comics in a Hurry.

As the holiday season finds our schedules packed as tight as a turducken, we here at Comic Riffs continue to offer a reader service. For those on the go, we feature the funnies in easy-to-digest headlines. So if you're in...

By Michael Cavna | November 25, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Rant: Just How Much Is a Political Cartoonist Worth?

Listen to political cartoonists, newspaper editors and readers and one thing quickly becomes plainly, painfully evident: In these downsizing times, there is no consensus on how much value to place on employing a staff editorial cartoonist. Opinions on the matter...

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

The Morning Line: For Busy Holiday Lifestyles: Comics on the Quick!

So many intriguing comics today, so little time for busy folks during the holidays. As a 'Riffs reader service this week, we will provide the top headlines: Your comics experience now shaved like so much turducken to the juicy essentials....

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

The Riff: Where the Wilder Comics Grow...

The language of television ever changes. Radio chatter has grown more liberal in recent decades. But the dialogue standards in a family newspaper's funnies remain, for the most part, stuck in 1952. Which stymies some comic-strippers who want to sound...

By Michael Cavna | November 21, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Morning Line: Rhymes With "Riffy"

RHYMES WITH ORANGE: Old gags? A consonant problem in comics. (KFS)Enlarge Comic "Rhymes With Orange" so rankles us today, we're compelled to begin this week's awards with our honor that rhymes-with-Riffy: the lowly Miffy. Most days, "Rhymes" delivers at least...

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

The Interview: "Watchmen's" Dave Gibbons

Whenever some backward-thinking cultural dinosaur questions the literary merit of graphic novels, the comic fan's most effective rebuttal can be a simple act: The "Watchmen" franchise heats up. (Dave Gibbons / DC Comics)Enlarge Comic Just hand the pitiable cretin a...

By Michael Cavna | November 20, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: Mark Trail, Split-Second Crackpot

"Mark Trail," you bedevil us like no other! Send out a search party for this lost balloon. (NAS) Enlarge Comic From gargantuan woodland creatures that are sometimes awkwardly foregrounded, to seeming "unintended double-entendres," the strip can both enchant and vex....

By Michael Cavna | November 20, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Plaudits Still Pour In for "Spider-Man's" Stan Lee

In Comic Riffs yesterday, Marvel Comic's Reg Hudlin ("Black Panther") offered his thoughts on "Spider-Man" co-creator STAN LEE's receiving the national Medal of Honor at the White House on Monday. Today, the testimonials continue to pour in to 'Riffs. Here's...

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

The Morning Line: When Sounds Have Just the Right Effect

In his new "10-pound" coffee-table book "Dilbert 2.0," cartoonist Scott Adams says he prides himself on a particular comic gift: His knack for coining the right word to match the desired sound effect. As one who has wrestled mightily with...

By Michael Cavna | November 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Political Cartoon: These Five Candidates Await Your Vote.

Nothing is quite as tantalizing to many cartoonists as a visual-heavy news story that lacks audio. Such a story just begs for sharp-witted satirists to fill in the blanks. As President-elect Obama visited the White House last week, viewers got...

By Michael Cavna | November 18, 2008; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Morning Line: When Evil Lurks Right Under Their Noses...

Our favorite character in today's funnies is not confined to any one strip, but rather makes conspicuous appearances in at least four features. Who is this cameo-happy fella, you ask? Why, this character -- to put a name to a...

By Michael Cavna | November 18, 2008; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: Steve Greenberg: Life as a Pink-Slipped Political Cartoonist

In this time of unremitting layoffs and buyouts of newspaper cartoonists, multi-talented artist STEVE GREENBERG still figured his position at the Ventura (Calif.) County Star was one of the safest in the nation. After all, Greenberg -- as a one-man...

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

The Morning Line: Newsprint? (Sigh.) We Remember Newsprint

Ah, looky here in today's "Mark Trail" -- that conniving feller in the third panel is luxuriating over an old-fashioned newsprint-type newspaper. Tarnation, what will this retro strip think of next? Ah, reading an old-fashioned newspaper... good times. (NAS) Enlarge...

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

Colbert Speaks: So What DO He and Obama Have in Common?...

Stephen Colbert, our favorite fake-news anchor on TV (he once stood still long enough to let us caricature him in person), is no mere mortal. Not since he's been immortalized in "Spider-Man." Early this year, Marvel honcho Joe Quesada, appearing...

By Michael Cavna | November 14, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: Rick Redfern Ghostwrites Our Riffys...

Oh, "Prickly City," will your barbs at the "elite media" never cease? Life as a "former Washington Post guy"... (UPS) Enlarge Comic Today, the coyote casually mentions that he's hired some "former Washington Post guy" to handle his ghostwriting. Oh,...

By Michael Cavna | November 14, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

Requiem for the Staff Political Cartoonist (2009)

The dire headlines come so fast and infuriating these days, it's rather like watching those sepia-toned, World War II-era newsreels -- the ones with the bold, fly-by headlines and clipped voiceover narration. We can imagine: "Newspaper Cartoonists on the March...

By Michael Cavna | November 13, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Morning Line: When We're With 'Sally,' Time Seems to Stand Still

Some days, we gallop through the funnies at a healthy clip, smiling while not breaking stride and then suddenly ... we hit "Sally Forth" and come to a full stop. Bam! All momentum is lost. But here's the thing about...

By Michael Cavna | November 13, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

The Riff: Obama Satire...Too Soon?

It finally happened. Six days after the election, Comic Riffs encountered our first official Obama Joke. Now, by "official" Obama Joke, let us be clear: We mean a professional humorist who makes a joke ABOUT President-elect Obama, in the wake...

By Michael Cavna | November 12, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Comic Language Still on a Low-Salty Diet

Standup comic Lewis Black loves to curse the censors. Literally. We were reminded of this the other night when chatting with Black after a performance. Black's philosophy, as he makes clear in his act: Among adults, there are no "bad"...

By Michael Cavna | November 12, 2008; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Superheroes: Spidey Spins Into a New Direction: Sex

Aside from establishing itself as one of Marvel's premier titles, Ultimate Spider-Man has become the definitive source for all things Spidey for at least one generation of fans. So you can imagine the hoopla when it was announced this month...

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

The Morning Line: A Day That Shall Live in 'Beetle' Infamy...

Today, "Frazz's" class -- by showing class -- deserves a good star. A cartoon nod to our veterans... (UFS) Enlarge Comic "Frazz" is the only strip on the Post's print funnypages noting that today is Veterans Day. Not that we...

By Michael Cavna | November 11, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

Sketchbook: Building a Better Obama Caricature

Our call to the nation's cartoonists went out last week: Now that Obama's won the election, it's time to raise their game when caricaturing the president-elect. But such a call to arms -- or drawing hands -- has zilch-o cartoon...

By Michael Cavna | November 10, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: The Funnies Feed Our Campaign Fix

It's not a phrase that's crossed our lips before, but we find ourselves chanting it today: Thank goodness for Al Franken. Yes, without the satirist-turned-politician -- and the recount in his race against Minnesota's Sen. Norm Coleman -- we would...

By Michael Cavna | November 10, 2008; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Political Cartoon: Vote for YOUR Favorite Obama...

Many of the world's political cartoonists literally drew inspiration this week from Obama's presidential ascension. Thankfully, many illustrators rose to the historic challenge. Comic Riffs noted earlier this morning that Tom Toles's day-after cartoon was superbly poignant -- and particularly...

By Michael Cavna | November 7, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: And the Riffy Award Goes to...

Time once again, cartoon fans, for the Riffy Awards. And as we open the first envelope, the winning comic for Fave Weeklong Strip is... Emotional (animal) rescue. (KFS) Enlarge Comic "Mutts." This week, Patrick McDonnell calls his series of animal-shelter...

By Michael Cavna | November 7, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Morning Line: Bucky Katt v. The English Language: We're the Winners.

If it please the court, we'd like to pose a question about comic justice: Why, when "Frank & Ernest" unleashes wanton wordplay, it often pains us -- yet when Bucky Katt goes on a mad punning spree, we're utterly tickled....

By Michael Cavna | November 6, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Drawing Obama: To Political Cartoonists, a Call to Arms

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NATION'S POLITICAL CARTOONISTS It's been a long, sometimes daunting road to Obama's presidential victory. Artistic mistakes were made along the way, and occasionally, some cartoonists did not display the necessary vision. But those mistakes are...

By Michael Cavna | November 6, 2008; 6:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Political Cartoon: Your Obama-Beats-McCain Caption HERE.

Here and now, let Comic Riffs state for the record that we enjoy MIKE LANE's political cartoons in the Baltimore Sun, and that this recent cartoon -- McCain peering through the mouth of Obama -- caught our eye. In the...

By Michael Cavna | November 5, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's Victory: 'Doonesbury' Prediction Didn't Win Over Every Precinct

Garry Trudeau might have felt comfortable "calling" Obama's victory in this morning's "Doonesbury," but not all the cartoonist's 1,400-plus clients were so at ease with a "Doonesbury Defeats Truman" scenario had John McCain won. Days before the actual win, Trudeau...

By Michael Cavna | November 5, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reader Contest: And the Winning Cartoon Candidate Is...Palin!

Even in political cartoons, readers still cannot get enough of those conjoined cultural icons, Sarah Palin and Tina Fey. Last month, we invited readers to submit their own political cartoons -- perhaps the second-purest form of voters having their voice...

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

The Morning Line: You've Got Jokes. And Then You've Got the Vote.

Today, my fellow comics readers, is of course an historic day. It's a day when many cartoonists, like the rest of the nation, feel the importance of our democratic right -- nay, our obligation -- to vote. So today, we...

By Michael Cavna | November 4, 2008; 8:37 AM ET | Comments (1)

Calvin or Pogo--Who Should Be Character-in-Chief?

With the presidential election a day away, Comic Riffs opens the polls to the OTHER big election: Namely, the finals for the "Character-in-Chief" readers survey. (UPS)Enlarge Comic Earlier this month, we asked readers to nominate which cartoon creations had just...

By Michael Cavna | November 3, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

My Fellow Americans, Hear a REAL Comical Speech

The ability to deliver a brilliant political speech with soaring oratory? It's a rare and awe-inspiring thing. Soon shall we see a "Cynical Act," a "Cynical Missile" or -- gasp -- the New England Cynics? (Creators) Enlarge Comic Behind the...

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

 
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