Archive: January 2009

Miffys for 'Tank McNamara' and 'Curtis'

Morning, Cartoon Nation... One summer, while teaching a course in cartooning to teens, I found myself repeatedly emphasizing two recommendations: 1. Keep the writing tight. 2. Keep your characters' reactions authentic and true. If you can't do that, you'll never...

By Michael Cavna | January 30, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Who Best Captures Blagojevich's Hair?

Draw exaggerated faces long enough, and you also draw fire. That's one of the first lessons the professional caricaturist learns. I know that from creating thousands of syndicated caricatures and cartoons over the years, I've also drawn countless complaints....

By Michael Cavna | January 30, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: 'Dilbert' Creator Scott Adams

For many of his readers, it's easy to view cartoonist SCOTT ADAMS as a former real-life avatar of his oppressed officeworker, Dilbert. But chat with Adams for even a short time and you observe why Adams was able to leave...

By Michael Cavna | January 29, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

What Comic Do You Read Despite Yourself?

I'm relieved, somehow, to learn that it's not just me. Others suffer the same compulsion. I'm chatting with colleague Henry Allen about comics -- or more specifically, about how we READ comics. What we gravitate toward, what we avoid (if...

By Michael Cavna | January 29, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (27)

Is Obama a Comic Flip-Flopper?

Blogger Michael Cavna wonders if President Obama is flip-flopping ... on his choice in cartoons. Plus, predictions on the Cardinals-Steelers Super Bowl showdown.

By Michael Cavna | January 28, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Read Obama's Lips: Cartoonists Deal in Bizarre Caricature

I've tried to keep my lips sealed for some weeks now, hoping the whole nasty matter would correct itself. Unfortunately, since the Inauguration, it only seems to be getting worse. So now, my own gums must flap to flag a...

By Michael Cavna | January 28, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Poll: What's the Funniest Comic Around?

What's the funniest strip going these days? (Creators)Enlarge Comic Thanks to you all, 'Riffs has received more than 100 suggestions since last week. Now, it's time to start whittling 'em down. Sure, "funny" is as subjective as a "Judge Parker"...

By Michael Cavna | January 27, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

The Burning Question: Is 'Zits' Painting in the Off-Color?

Time to play, stump the band. (KFS) Enlarge Comic Morning, Cartoon Nation... So for nearly 24 hours, I've asked the same Burning Question of colleagues and friends, male and female. Now, because we've come to know each other so well,...

By Michael Cavna | January 27, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

What Caption Would You Create? Help-A-Cartoonist

Morning, Cartoon Nation... It's been seven years and, upon reflection, I'm still not satisfied. (Michael Cavna) Enlarge Comic Recently, I pulled this "Warped" cartoon out of a fat batch of originals and, re-reading, realized I hadn't nailed it. The art...

By Michael Cavna | January 26, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

If Dilbert Can Become a Billboard, Why Not Dagwood Too?

Back when publishing titan William Randolph "Does Yellow Make My Wallet Look Fat?" Hearst was going all Citizen Kane on his many minions, he used to order his comic-strip cartoonists to plug products in their Sunday funnies. Hearst owned the...

By Michael Cavna | January 26, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

Self-Deprecating Comics: The Blogger's Worst Nightmare

Morning, Cartoon Nation... We begin today with a supersized, ten-point Miffy Award, suitable for wall mounting. And a large-type plaque that reads simply: "Mark Trail." That's because Everybody's Favorite Stilted Nature Strip has crossed a line we cannot abide. The...

By Michael Cavna | January 23, 2009; 11:05 AM ET | Comments (7)

Obama Talk: 'Boondocks' Creator Disgusted With 'Gutter News'

It's enough to cause Aaron McGruder to consider going silent. At least when he's amid the media. Aaron McGruder (AP/Sony)Enlarge Comic "I don't have much of a stomach for this kind of thing anymore," the creator of "The Boondocks" tells...

By Michael Cavna | January 23, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

What Is the Single Funniest Comic Today? (*No Retirees)

"You write about comics?" asked the 30ish guy, somewhat intrigued. "I used to read the comics all the time, but I don't find 'em so funny anymore." "What was the last comic that you did find funny, " I asked....

By Michael Cavna | January 22, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (35)

When Political Cartoon Ideas Seem to All Look Alike

It's the risk you run often as a political cartoonist: Your craft relies on invoking and exploiting common symbols. Images laced with inherent power, poignancy or relevance. Yet when so many cartoonists are playing the same symbols, how do you...

By Michael Cavna | January 22, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will Batman Capture His Oscar Nod?

Comic Riffs launched last summer with our sights excitedly set on one particular movie release: "The Dark Knight." And in the inaugural 'Riffs poll, more than 5,000 of you predicted (most of you correctly) what "Dark Knight's" opening-weekend box office...

By Michael Cavna | January 21, 2009; 5:50 PM ET | Comments (4)

Aaron McGruder Hardly Hopeful About 'Non-Black' Obama

Obama fever may have spread across much of the land, but Aaron McGruder isn't prone to such feel-good political contagion. Aaron McGruderEnlarge Comic On the day before the Inauguration, "The Boondocks" creator gave a Martin Luther King speech at Earlham...

By Michael Cavna | January 21, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Inaugural Sketchbook: Scenes From Obama's Mall

Wit took on a different air in Washington on Tuesday. When a mass of more than a million people is sharing a sense of uplift -- reveling in a rolling lovefest, actually -- the moment's unjaundiced humor can take a...

By Michael Cavna | January 21, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

In Time for the Inaugural: View New Obama Portrait

As President Barack Obama strides to the high podium of history today, poised to deliver his brand of soaring oratory, there's one thing we can be nearly certain of about his speech: Most of the words to be heard will...

By Michael Cavna | January 20, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Drawing Comparisons: The Art of Obama

In keeping with today's theme -- that is, the very face of the inaugural -- Comic Riffs shares several Obama cartoons that caught our eye. DREW FRIEDMAN (The New Yorker)Enlarge Comic First: Last time Obama received such play on a...

By Michael Cavna | January 20, 2009; 2:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Inaugural Special: What's Your Favorite Obama Scene?

So many people besides President-elect Obama must industriously prepare for Inauguration Day: Inaugural committee members. Federal and local law enforcement. Entertainment planners. Let's see, we're forgetting someone obvious here, lessee.... OH, yes. The Vaunted Editorial Cartoonists. Come such an occasion,...

By Michael Cavna | January 19, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Bush Buh-Bye: End of One Comedic Era (Pt. 3)

As President Bush two-steps off to Texas, he continues to take jobs with him. (Richard Thompson)Enlarge Comic Last fall, Berkeley Breathed made good on his decision that Opus should time his last waddle-into-the-sunset to Bush's exit. Similarly, David Rees determined...

By Michael Cavna | January 16, 2009; 6:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

Caroline Kennedy: Running for U.S. Comics...

Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton have previously been chosen to be featured in laudatory bio-comic books that look positively at their lives. Now, Bluewater Productions announces its latest candidate to make the grade: Enlarge Comic Caroline Kennedy. She...

By Michael Cavna | January 16, 2009; 2:55 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: Mother Goose & Riffy

Morning, Cartoon Nation... So, if my name's Mike Peters, I've gotta figure I had a pretty darned good week. Let us count the ways: 1. The Columbia coffee farmers' federation (representing more a half-million growers) -- so miffed last week...

By Michael Cavna | January 16, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Cartoonists Bemoan the Bush Buh-Bye (Part 2)

For nearly all of this young century, political cartoonists on both sides of the aisle have been able to agree on one thing: President Bush has been very, very good to them. When one world leader gives so much --...

By Michael Cavna | January 15, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: Vote for Obama's (Other) Cabinet

Morning, Cartoon Nation... You're president-elect, about to become leader of the free world. You've got full and complete superpower over whom you pick to fill your Cabinet. There's just one catch: You must fill every position will cartoon characters. This...

By Michael Cavna | January 15, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Do "Zombie Comics" Have a Reason to Live On?

It's a riddle wrapped in an enigma trapped inside a coffin. A syndicated cartoonist, speaking recently to Comic Riffs, was mourning the lack of fresh blood in the funnies. "Corpse comics," the cartoonist called those strips whose original creators died...

By Michael Cavna | January 14, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

Obama the Comic Superstar: Stan Lee Explains All...

It's been an eventful year for Spider-Man -- and it's still January. Enlarge Comic Today, Marvel Comics releases a coveted inauguration-edition of the "Spider-Man" comic book (No. 583), in which Spidey gets a dap from President-elect Obama. Yep, two youthful-looking,...

By Michael Cavna | January 14, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Obama's Cabinet: Which Characters Would You Nominate?

Stan Lee -- comics legend and quick-wit extraordinaire -- did not miss a beat. I was talking with Mr. Lee this week about "Spider-Man" (look for the full interview with him in this space tomorrow) and he mentioned his reaction...

By Michael Cavna | January 13, 2009; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (7)

Our Inaugural 'Manhood Chart': Four Characters Square Off

Morning, Cartoon Nation... On the matter of one Ted Forth -- yes, the one and the same Ted Forth I constantly, endearingly call "Lady Hands" in this space -- I find myself in wholehearted agreement with a certain die-hard comics...

By Michael Cavna | January 13, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Line: Laughing in the Face of History...

Morning, Cartoon Nation... All too often in pop culture, the images of iconic figures are resurrected for low and sullied and -- here's the real crime -- uninspired motives. The mind turns to a swingin' Audrey Hepburn shilling The Gap...

By Michael Cavna | January 12, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

What Will You Miss About Bush? Top Cartoonists Tell Us

With Inauguration Day almost upon us, and President Bush moseying slowly toward the Crawford sunset, Comic Riffs posed one simple question to a dozen of the nation's leading political cartoonists: "What will you most miss about President George W. Bush?"...

By Michael Cavna | January 12, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (23)

The Riffys: Old-Media Picks for a New-Media Site

For this week, we award one big fat collective Riffy to four strips that satirized the current state of affairs in print journalism and the comics industry. Most every comic stripper we talk with these days is feeling the pinch;...

By Michael Cavna | January 9, 2009; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: 'Full Frontal' Language--Ban the 'Boob'?

Morning, Cartoon Nation... The other day, 'Riffs highlighted a coupla "red-flag" words that can rankle comics editors, if not cause the surly beast that is Rabid Reader Fury to rouse, rear its head and spew all manner of foul,...

By Michael Cavna | January 9, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Morning Line: When Comics Give Us the Come-Hither

Is it just me, or is it getting hot in here? "Other Women" -- lying in wait all over the comics, like lethal tarted-up harlots -- seem to be all the rage (and sometimes literal rage) this month. I must...

By Michael Cavna | January 8, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

'Mother Goose & Grimm' vs. Juan Valdez--The Lawsuit

THIS JUST IN: Cartoonist Mike Peters v. Juan Valdez "Mother Goose and Grimm" cartoonist MIKE PETERS is used to getting sued over his political cartoons. What he never anticipated was facing international legal action over a comic strip. Now, though,...

By Michael Cavna | January 8, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Riff: 'Best of' Lists Can Bring Out the Worst of Instincts

"Top Ten Editorial Cartoons." "Best Editorial Cartoons of '08." "Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year." This time of year, the swarm of alleged "best" lists gets so thick as to leave one feeling utterly, well, listless. How many such cartoon...

By Michael Cavna | January 7, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: When is a Gag Too Old to Be 'Topical'?

John Edwards's presidential aspirations may have died long ago, but his cheatin'-heart shenanigans continue to have one long shelf-life in "Candorville." Which prompts us to ask: What is the life span of campaign controversies as fodder, anyway? Are they eternally,...

By Michael Cavna | January 7, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Morning Line: Today's Topic? YOU Name It.

There are so many comic strips 'Riffs could highlight today. We could muse on how "Non Sequitur" quickly pivots from a "Calvin and Hobbes"-esque parent/kid setup to a grimmer Wiley-ian scenario. We could tread into theology with "Zippy." Or we...

By Michael Cavna | January 6, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (8)

The Interview: 'Brewster Rockit' Cartoonist Tim Rickard

BREWSTER ROCKIT: This week, iBot and Oldbot wage a war we have more than a little interest in. (TMS)Enlarge Comic It is hard not to be charmed by "Brewster Rockit" creator TIM RICKARD, who is chatting by phone from North...

By Michael Cavna | January 6, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Rant: Introducing a D-Day in the Cause for Comics

Speaking from an extremely self-serving place -- that is, as both cartoonist and writer of features -- I can say with full confidence and honesty: I find today's "Mother Goose and Grimm" to be the funniest cartoon of the year....

By Michael Cavna | January 5, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Morning Line: Dixie's Last Dance (RIP, Comic Stripper)

The Psycho Scottsdale Sharpshooting Stripper has died. Long live the queen of cross-hairs and catwalks. Yes, after lo these many weeks, Dixie -- our beloved, wacked-out Dixie -- is no more, gunned down over the weekend in one last, knife-lunging...

By Michael Cavna | January 5, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The E-Mailbag: A Last Look-back at the Comments o' the Year

Of the thousands of smart (and smart-alecky) comments made on the Comic Riffs blog this past half-year, a good number of reader reactions especially stood out. Here are a handful of faves amid a stellar field. Happy New Year, --M.C....

By Michael Cavna | January 2, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Morning Line: Riffys to Ring in the New Year

When "Brewster Rockit" recently spoofed current fiscal woes, some 'Riffs commenters (most notably "oceanchild") said they thought it was the best commentary on the economy they had seen. Anywhere. BREWSTER ROCKIT (TMS)Enlarge Comic Well, similarly, this week's "Rockit" deserves the...

By Michael Cavna | January 2, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Riff: Younger Spidey--and the Amazing Mark Trail?

In this excrutiating era of downsizing in the newspaper cartooning world, it seems the time has come for one obvious change. MARK TRAIL (NAS)Enlarge Comic My modest proposal: A single artist could now draw the characters of both Mark Trail...

By Michael Cavna | January 1, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Morning Line: No If's, And's or Buttocks

Some weeks back, 'Riffs wrote about the dance that goes on among cartoonists, syndicate editors and newspaper editors over "iffy" language. By that, we mean language that is far tamer than George Carlin's "Seven Words," but saltier than what you...

By Michael Cavna | January 1, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2009 The Washington Post Company