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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 12/16/2008

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

By Michael Cavna

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 snark? A meta-joke in the mere selection of mostly pedestrian cartoons? Because if not, the larger question looms: What WERE you thinking? (If someone actually was.)

Granted, topical humor is about as absurdly subjective as, oh, a comics blog. And there are some very fine cartoonists on Time's list, including Bob Gorrell, Chip Bok and the Washington Examiner's Nate Beeler, whom I've championed as one of the field's bright young talents.

But still: THESE 10 'toons? Really?? I'd like to think that in any given WEEK, I could cull a stronger field.

You can check 'em out for yourself -- and 'Riffs is happy to hear your take. It's worth noting that at Alan Gardner's, even some fellow cartoonists find issue with these selections.


NPR reporter Sylvia Maria Gross -- who works for member station KCUR -- tells us she read Comic Riffs in order to report on the recent spate of editorial cartoonist layoffs. I'm glad to see this ongoing story get wider pickup. You can check out her report out of Kansas City, which centered on the Kansas City Star's Lee Judge. Notably, Gross quotes Judge as saying: "It's on everybody's mind -- How long is this profession going to last? How long are we going to be able to do this for a living?"


Unlike Time, 'Riffs won't claim that these are the BEST political cartoons on disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. These are, however, the six cartoons that particularly caught my eye, for various reasons.

STEVE BREEN (San Diego Union-Tribune) Enlarge Comic

GARY BROOKINS (Richmond Times-Dispatch) Enlarge Comic

DAVID HORSEY (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Enlarge Comic

MIKE LUCKOVICH (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Enlarge Comic

ROB ROGERS (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) Enlarge Comic

ED STEIN (Rocky Mountain News) Enlarge Comic

I leave it to you to determine what is "best." Which one of these half-dozen cartoons about the Obama-Senate-seat shenanigans is your favorite?

By Michael Cavna  | December 16, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  
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He really has the perfect face for caricature, doesn't he?

Posted by: oceanchild | December 16, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that TIME list appeared to have been assembled in 10 minutes, um, time. Any weekly compendium in Newsweek is guaranteed a better collection.

The couple watching TV in Rob Rogers cartoon makes the whole thing. Superb.

Posted by: JkR- | December 16, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Late for the morning, but I'd like to see

Arlo & Janis
Adam @ Home
Heart of the City
Stone Soup
Rudy Park
Clear Blue Water
Flight Deck
Loose Parts
Real Life Adventures

pick five.

also, I noticed that Red lost a letter to Santa. Heart (Heart of the City) found one. Hmmmm.....

Posted by: MAL9000 | December 16, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Nine of the "Top Ten" on Time's list were quite forgettable, but I did rather enjoy the "Daily Affirmation"!

Posted by: seismic-2 | December 17, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

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