Archive: December 2008

The E-Mailbag: Guess the Fate of Sally Forth

SALLY FORTH: The plot -- and Ted's mental capabilities -- thickens. (KFS)Enlarge Comic "Sally Forth" has gotten so juicy, one inspired commenter was moved yesterday to foresee the story's climactic denouement -- the Big Reveal, as it were: "In Thursday's...

By Michael Cavna | December 31, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Morning Line: Gary Larson's Long Shadow

Has any single-panel cartoon ever left a more mammoth footprint than "The Far Side"? Cavorting cows. Hostage-taking deer. Punk porcupines. Beehived, cat-eyed dog owners. And of course, all those lab-coated scientists peering through Coke-bottle glasses. BREVITY (UFS)Enlarge Comic Gary Larson...

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

The Political Cartoon: The Staff Cartoonists Who Needed a Moving Van in '08

From the dozens of interviews with cartoonists that Comic Riffs conducted this year, it stands out as one of the most poignant lines -- a quote that still resonates in its personal nature. Fresh off of being pink-slipped by the...

By Michael Cavna | December 30, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: In Memoriam: The Man Behind the Pringles Can

Forget the punch line. Like a good lead, the real payoff in today's most intriguing Post strip is in the first panel. MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM (KFS)Enlarge Comic Today's "Mother Goose and Grimm" begins with the balloon: "So the guy...

By Michael Cavna | December 30, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Picking the Year's Top Plotlines

Looking back at the 12 months past, Comic Riffs basked in thousands of strip storylines, ranging from lively high jinks to deadpan plot twists. Of those, scores were especially memorable. Today, culling from a crowded field, 'Riffs offers five of...

By Michael Cavna | December 29, 2008; 9:32 AM ET | Comments (4)

Fave Fan Anecdotes: 'Pickles' & 'Candorville'

MOVING TOONS: CREATORS SHARE POIGNANT FAN ANECDOTES All week on Comic Riffs, in the spirit of the season, syndicated cartoonists share their favorite fan anecdotes -- telling us in their own words about their artwork that struck a particularly poignant...

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

The Morning Line: Opening the Christmas Riffys

It's the day after Christmas and I'm still recovering from indecipherable toy instructions and one relative's wicked "back-door" eggnog, so: Let's get right to it, Cartoon Nation. This week's Riffys go to today's cartoons that are so deft, they cut...

By Michael Cavna | December 26, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fave Fan Anecdotes: 'Pearls Before Swine' & 'Hi and Lois'

MOVING TOONS: CREATORS SHARE THEIR POIGNANT FAN ANECDOTES: All week on Comic Riffs, in the spirit of the season, syndicated cartoonists share their favorite fan anecdotes -- telling us in their own words about their artwork that struck a particularly...

By Michael Cavna | December 25, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: Christmas Comics, the Ultimate Stocking Stuffer

This morning, Enlarge Comic in the spirit of Christmas morning, 'Riffs gathers 'round the tree hoping childlike for new comics collections of "Get Fuzzy," "Dilbert" and Will Eisner's "The Spirit." And we wish you, Cartoon Nation, a Merry Christmas by...

By Michael Cavna | December 25, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Fave Fan Anecdotes: 'The Buckets' & 'Big Nate'

MOVING TOONS: CREATORS SHARE THEIR POIGNANT FAN ANECDOTES All week on Comic Riffs, in the spirit of the season, syndicated cartoonists share their favorite fan anecdotes -- telling us in their own words about their artwork that struck a particularly...

By Michael Cavna | December 24, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: 'Twas the Spoof Before Christmas...

Looking at "Pickles," we're with Earl. (WPWG) Enlarge Comic This time of year, we grow a tad sentimental for even some of our lesser strips that have disappeared since last year. So today, we swaddle the comics in old-school fashion...

By Michael Cavna | December 24, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Fave Fan Anecdotes: 'For Better or For Worse' & Signe Wilkinson

All week on Comic Riffs, in the spirit of the season, syndicated cartoonists share their favorite fan anecdotes -- telling us in their own words about their artwork that struck a particularly poignant chord with readers. Today, LYNN JOHNSTON and...

By Michael Cavna | December 23, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: When Santa's Act Ain't Worth Zip

As we here at 'Riffs count down the Christmas-week toons, the one that takes the (fruit)cake today is "Baldo" because, really, what is going on here? Has the store Santa simply forgotten to zip his fly? (UPS) Enlarge Comic (Not...

By Michael Cavna | December 23, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Favorite Fan Anecdotes: 'Speed Bump' and 'Sherman's Lagoon'

MOVING TOONS: COMIC CREATORS SHARE THEIR POIGNANT FAN ANECDOTES I was both intrigued and a little alarmed by the return address on the letter. It was early 1991, the United States was at war, I was in college -- and...

By Michael Cavna | December 22, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: 'Rockit' Man Achieves Liftoff

For the next five days, with the funnypages thick with elves, bells and reindeer scat, Comic Riffs will highlight our fave Christmas-week cartoons. Today, it's "Brewster Rockit" that gets its wings. (TMS) Enlarge Comic In the face of the yapping...

By Michael Cavna | December 22, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Riff: When the Funnies Go Verbose

In the middle of an interview some years back with Pulitzer-winning political-cartooning legend Paul Conrad, I asked about his extreme pithiness. The messages of his cartoons were often conveyed with striking visuals and short captions, and he loathed word balloons....

By Michael Cavna | December 19, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Morning Line: Riffys for Inspired Art and Cameos

Let's get right to it, Cartoon Nation -- time for this week's Riffys: In a week awash in Santa strips -- from cheesy mall Clauses to online naughty/nice lists -- 'Riffs' fave this week was "NON SEQUITUR." (UPS) Enlarge Comic...

By Michael Cavna | December 19, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: 'Candorville' Cartoonist Darrin Bell (Pt. 2)

Comic Riffs spoke with Los Angeles-based cartoonist DARRIN BELL , who yesterday shared thoughts here about his strip, as well as the comic industry at large. Today, we continue with Part 2, in which Bell talks more in depth about...

By Michael Cavna | December 18, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: When Art Goes to Hell in a HAND Basket--Or Not.

Comic Riffs has said before that, artistically, hands are our ultimate telltale sign. Masterfully rendered digits are their own small visual joy, while hamhanded palms, as it were, can drive to distraction. On this count, I must give a special...

By Michael Cavna | December 18, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Interview: 'Candorville' Cartoonist Darrin Bell

When Los Angeles-based cartoonist DARRIN BELL takes aim at a comic target, it's refreshingly difficult to predict just where he'll take you in his strip "Candorville." One week, the ghost of George Carlin is lecturing on humor and society; weeks...

By Michael Cavna | December 17, 2008; 12:35 PM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: 'Marimba' Is Music to Cartoonists' Ears

What are the odds, really? First, 'Riffs reads today's "Zippy" and learns that "God" does not play the kettledrum (as fittingly imposing as that might be) but rather the marimba. (KFS) Enlarge Comic Then in short order, we turn to...

By Michael Cavna | December 17, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Political Cartoon: Eyes Closed, Time Magazine Picks Its Top-10

Time magazine, in its swell of year-end lists, has selected its Top 10 Editorial Cartoons of 2008. To which Comic Riffs can only shake its head and wonder aloud: Is this some sort of well-meaning prank? A mischievous lark or...

By Michael Cavna | December 16, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Morning Line: Pick-Five: What Strips Should The Post Add?

Comic Riffs has little patience for ancient, frozen-in-amber comic strips that long ago died creatively -- whether or not their creators have. 'Riffs hasn't cast "Blondie" into that slag heap, however. Not that I wouldn't relish the chance to freshen...

By Michael Cavna | December 16, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

The E-Mailbag: Which Legacy Strip Should Get the Boot?

As 'Riffs increasingly gets word of new strips that syndicates are lining up to launch in the new year (next up, we hear: the cheeky action-adventure strip "Rip Haywire"), I can't help but wonder: Should The Post decide to pick...

By Michael Cavna | December 15, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (16)

The Morning Line: The Don't-Miss List: Today's Top Five

You might breeze through your comics at lightning speed, or you might mull them leisurely over your waffles or lox. Either way, in today's Post funnypages, there are Five Things Not To Be Missed. As a reader service, 'Riffs counts...

By Michael Cavna | December 15, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The E-Mailbag: Hamm vs. Colbert in a 'Mark Trail' Showdown

In recent days, Comic Riffs asked you, the keen-eyed reader, who should be cast in the lead role when "Mark Trail" -- in a perfect world -- is finally made into a movie. Jon Hamm or Stephen Colbert? Vote for...

By Michael Cavna | December 12, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: The Best in Threats

Let's get right to it, Cartoon Nation. It was a particularly interesting week as threats abounded on the "funny" pages -- from nuclear warheads to job cuts to male teen drivers. So in that spirit of laughing our way through...

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

The Interview: Pixar Animator Angus MacLane

The Pixar film "Wall-E" is beginning to scoop up critics' awards, but it was a much smaller film that I hotly anticipated when the "Wall-E" DVD recently hit consumer shelves. I'd heard about this short called "Burn-E," based on a...

By Michael Cavna | December 11, 2008; 12:45 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: Politicos Answer the Casting Call

Condoleezza Rice apparently makes for great cartoon fodder. Everyone from Aaron McGruder to Berkeley Breathed has co-opted Condi for sport, sassing or mockery. Today's "Curtis," though, invokes the secretary of state in a manner that skeeves me out even more...

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

The Riff: In Tough Times, Let Them Eat Cake--Or Candy

Give "Sally Forth" its just due, if not its just desserts. Today's strip offers an observation that not only elicits a smile, but also sends me scurrying to the company vending machines. The corporate structure: You are what you eat....

By Michael Cavna | December 10, 2008; 12:40 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: The Newspaper Is Ready for Its Closeup

Whenever I see a newspaper making a cameo within the funnies of my actual print newspaper, there seems to be a reflective quaintness about it all: An inky character who still values getting some of his news by reading inky...

By Michael Cavna | December 10, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Riff: All Politics Is Loco--and Amusingly So

Cartoonists are still grappling with how to comment on, get into, stir up and get laughs OUT of the incoming Obama administration. So it's an encouraging sign that today's "Candorville" and "Rhymes With Orange" have engaging takes of Operation Transition....

By Michael Cavna | December 9, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: Strong Stomachs Required

From probed eyeballs to ailing tootsies, today's funnies aren't for the squeamish. Before you dig into "The Piranha Club," for instance, you might wanna finish breakfast. (KFS) Enlarge Comic Somehow, waxing on about ingrown toenails -- let alone brain surgery...

By Michael Cavna | December 9, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Morning Line: 'Tis the Time for Painful Holiday Punning

Even if you're not a regular reader of "Dennis the Menace" and "The Family Circus," they are required reading today for one reason: "Some people call 'em reindeer, but I call 'em santalope." (KFS)Enlarge Comic They officially mark the start...

By Michael Cavna | December 8, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Interview: "Mutts" Cartoonist Patrick McDonnell

"Mutts" creator PATRICK McDONNELL has won some of the biggest awards in the cartooning biz, including the National Cartoonist Society's Reuben Award and Germany's international Max and Moritz Award. Yet it's safe to say that his honors for animal and...

By Michael Cavna | December 8, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Riffys: The Envelope, Please ...

As Sarah Palin gags began to subside from the funnypages, a new wave of topicality rushes in to fill the void -- namely, takes on life with Obama, life without a job and, as always, shtick about dropping one's drawers....

By Michael Cavna | December 5, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: The Art of Young Love

Two would-be hormonal Romeos, suddenly smitten with the dewy objects of their schoolboy desires. This week, we're particularly diggin' on how "Zits' " Jeremy Duncan and "Cul de Sac's" "Peter Otterloop," given their very different personalities, respond so in-character to...

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

The E-Mailbag: Vote for Your "Mark Trail"

Yesterday, 'Riffs put out the casting call for "Mark Trail: The Movie" -- the sendup flick that, in a just universe, should be made. Today, it's time to cull the hotly touted candidates, courtesy of commenters, e-mailers and the Caribou...

By Michael Cavna | December 4, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Rate That Mustachioed Menace

Some comic characters may fear layoffs in these troubled times, but certainly not the stock villains straight from Central Casting. In recent days, these mustachioed men are thick on the ground in the funnies, with work abundant and nefarious antics...

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

Another Cartoonist Layoff Today? Here's Your Call to Arms

Most of us can recite how Dr. Seuss, in grand sociopolitical metaphor, asked all of Who-Ville to be heard. The matter was dire, a community's very survival at stake, no matter how small. Ted Geisel, who did his share of...

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

The Morning Line: Time to Cast 'Mark Trail: The Movie'

Thanks to commenter "staxowax," Comic Riffs has its sights set on The Next Big Film Project. Mark Trail, get ready for your closeup. Your time has come. If only he can get loose from his contract -- and Salty. (NAS)...

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

The Riff: How to Avoid the Day-Old Gag

Comedy is all in the timing, the saying goes. The aphorism is usually understood to refer to tempo and pacing. Comedy, though, can also be in the timing of the cultural cycle. A word or phrase that plays for maximum...

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

The Morning Line: The Ultimate "Slight" of Hand

Comic Riffs has long said that how an artist draws hands is a telltale sign: Deftly rendered digits reveal an admirable attention to detail, if not a signature style. Along those lines, we have noted here before that "Sally Forth"...

By Michael Cavna | December 2, 2008; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Riff: Which Strip Should Be Hollywood-Bound?

As the holiday season's movie trailers assault my senses, they still, somehow, manage to pique my curiosity. What's coming up between now and Pixar's next biggie, "Up," I mull, in the world of animation. Scanning the pre-"Watchmen" filmscape, one category...

By Michael Cavna | December 1, 2008; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Morning Line: Voiceover: "In a World of Cinematic Comics..."

Comic Riffs comes here today not to bury, but rather to praise the cinematic cartoon. Whether a product of shrinking comics or changing reader tastes (or both), the funnies, overall, are far less cinematic in look than decades ago. And...

By Michael Cavna | December 1, 2008; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

 
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