Archive: February 2009

As More Cartoonists Draw Severance, Honor Them While You Can

We're talking with ED STEIN, longtime political cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News. Make that the dearly departed Rocky Mountain News. After 31 years in his position, Stein learned yesterday that the Denver newspaper would print its final edition today,...

By Michael Cavna | February 27, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Interview: Drew Litton of the (RIP) Rocky Mountain News

I was in college, it was 1992, and I was trying to carve out a style, a voice, a tone to my newspaper cartoons. Over many long hours, it often felt like working in a vacuum -- a standup...

By Michael Cavna | February 27, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

'Doonesbury's' Ultimate Flashbacks: The Post to Rerun the Reruns

Last October, when "Doonesbury's" Rick Redfern took a buyout from his Washington Post, Comic Riffs wrote an "Appreciation" of our inkstained hero. Today, the real Washington Post hopes good ol' Rick (now a fellow blogger like ourselves) can appreciate an...

By Michael Cavna | February 26, 2009; 7:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Who's Your Cartoonist of the Year? Let the Voting Begin

Your nominees are in, the ballots have been counted and the accountants of PriceWaterhouseWatterson&SparkySchulz are prepared to announce the cartoonists who 'Riffs readers believe are most worthy of the Reuben -- aka cartooning's Oscar. Here are the Ten Contenders for...

By Michael Cavna | February 26, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (6)

Our Web Addiction? Why, We're Thrilled to Death

Everybody loves a parade, it's said, but consider how much more compelling it becomes when the grand marshal, on life support, is motoring past in an ambulance. Or, if you believe some news reports, in a hearse. Such is my...

By Michael Cavna | February 26, 2009; 8:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Funnies: The Rapid Rundown

Morning, Cartoon Nation... Quick, unfiltered takes on the morning's funnies: All week, something about ZITS -- and Jeremy's attraction to his tutor -- has unnerved me. At last, gazing at the strips, I've put my finger on it: Under all...

By Michael Cavna | February 25, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Mark Trail: One-Man Stimulus Plan

Morning, Cartoon Nation... Every so often, the planets align, the cosmic tumblers click into place and "Mark Trail"-- all all too commonly misunderstood as mere bizarro-perspective stilted-dialogue strip about a suspiciously chaste eco-photojournalist -- pauses to allow a rare, raw...

By Michael Cavna | February 24, 2009; 2:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

An Open Letter to NY Post Cartoonist: Time to Do the Right Thing

As an artist who myself, when under fire, has reflexively assumed the Official Editorial Cartoonist's Defensive Crouch, I feel compelled to reach out to the New York Post's controversial political cartoonist to advise -- nay, implore -- him with seven...

By Michael Cavna | February 24, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (56)

Lessons of a Fiery--and Fired--Cartoonist

As some call for the head of New York Post cartoonist Sean Delonas, insisting that he never work in that town again -- much less anywhere, amid the paper's "partial apology"-- it's intriguing to step back to think of hard-hitting...

By Michael Cavna | February 23, 2009; 1:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Vote: Who Deserves Cartooning's Oscar?

Morning, Cartoon Nation... Early every year, my ballot would arrive in the mail. And each time, for several years running, I would write in my vote for the cartoonist-of-the-year: Namely, several of my boyhood cartooning idols from "MAD" magazine. From...

By Michael Cavna | February 23, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (12)

The Post-Chimp Poll: Was the NY Post's Apology Pretty Sorry?

As we move into the "mea culpa" phase of the New York Post controversy, its political cartoonist Sean Delonas might want to ring up Don Imus's attorney for a little advice. Then again, throwing himself on the mercy of the...

By Michael Cavna | February 20, 2009; 11:45 PM ET | Comments (8)

The List: Our Top 10 Black Superheroes

As Marvel's female Black Panther character hits the comic stands and stalls, Comic Riffs pauses today to note two things: (1) How relatively few black superheroes there have been; and yet (2), how great and captivating some of them are....

By Michael Cavna | February 20, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (9)

Fave Five: The 'Best' Post-Chimp Political Cartoons

In the wake of this week's odious New York Post cartoon by Sean Delonas -- such an odoriferous whiff can linger for far longer than the "artwork" deserves -- Comic Riffs would like to turn your burning eyes toward some...

By Michael Cavna | February 20, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

'Stimulus Chimp': Political Cartooning's Larger Powderkeg

For political cartoonists, it was the powderkeg that was bound to blow. Sooner or later, an editorial cartoon published during the Obama administration was going to be viewed by many as incontrovertibly racist. As both cartoonist and critic, I'm half-surprised...

By Michael Cavna | February 19, 2009; 2:15 PM ET | Comments (29)

'The Stimulus Monkey': Is Today's 'NY Post' Cartoon Racist?

The Rev. Al Sharpton has denounced it. Some cartoonists and commentators have lambasted it as racist. Other commenters have declared that it's just a "bad" cartoon, but one lacking in ugly intent. And its editor has defended it. Today's New...

By Michael Cavna | February 18, 2009; 4:45 PM ET | Comments (189)

Talking "Black Panther: The Sex Change"

Marvel's new female Black Panther debuted this month, and with the first issue now on the stands, Comic Riffs caught up with Black Panther writer Reggie Hudlin to discuss the direction of the new BP series. David Betancourt: So...

By Michael Cavna | February 18, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Test Your Cartoon IQ: How Well Do You Know Your Characters?

If there's anything more interesting than a cartoonist, it is -- all too often -- his or her cartoon creation. And that's why 'Riffs returns today with the sequel quiz: Better Know a 'Toon: Get Up Close With the Characters...

By Michael Cavna | February 18, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (6)

Rate Yourself: How Well Do You Know Your Cartoons?

BETTER KNOW A 'TOONIST How much do we know, really, about the cartoon artists who entertain us daily? Sure, many of us know that Charles Schulz had a boyhood dog; that Bill "Calvin & Hobbes" Watterson had a boyhood cat;...

By Michael Cavna | February 17, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (9)

From Our Lips to the Creator's Ears?

Somewhere, I like to think, ever-sarcastic Sally Forth is listening at our door. Some weeks back, Comic Riffs drew and posted our first official "Ted Forth Manhood Index," in which we measured Ted's attempts to soon (in the chart's wording)...

By Michael Cavna | February 17, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

First Peek: Marvel Releases New 'Abe Lincoln' Comic Today

CELEBRATING ABE THROUGH CARTOONS Enlarge Comic As Americans celebrate Presidents' Day filled with a sense of gratitude, glory and suspicion that Lincoln must have really, really loved a good discount mattress, who better to appreciate our most heroic president than...

By Michael Cavna | February 16, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

The 'Best' Editorial Cartoons of the Week

Back when Barack, Joe, John and Sarah were all making daily headlines and punchlines, any newspaper political cartoonist worth his or her ink-stained assaults could attract at least a warm corner of the spotlight. Since the inauguration, though, with the...

By Michael Cavna | February 13, 2009; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Five Burning Questions: Take the Official 'Riffs Quiz

Morning, Cartoon Nation... So many head-scratching characters, so many unanswered puzzlers. Each and every day, if you're reading carefully, the comics seem to raise as many quirky questions as they answer. So today, 'Riffs will wade into these choppy waters...

By Michael Cavna | February 13, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

Now Polling: What Gets Your Vote for Best Art?

Enlarge Comic Time once again, folks, for my favorite interactive feature: The Wholly Unscientific Comic Riffs Readers' Poll. (*Your legitimate votes may vary.) Several days back, you offered your thoughts on which comic-strip's visual style is the most dazzling....

By Michael Cavna | February 12, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (8)

Today's Shopping List: 1. Beer; 2. Death; 3. Comics

As most everyone's father used to say, often with a trace of Wise Paternal Authority: "The only sure things in life are birth, death and taxes." Judging by the comics, though, not even that saying is a certainty. Survey...

By Michael Cavna | February 12, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Interview: Comedian/Cartoonist Demetri Martin of Comedy Central

DEMETRI MARTIN, the doodling comedian who debuts his own show tonight on Comedy Central ("Important Things With Demetri Martin"), is not easily defined. In any attempt to fit a description of him on a handbill, you might end up...

By Michael Cavna | February 11, 2009; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

What's Your Favorite Comic One-Liner?

I'm chatting with Comedy Central comic Demetri Martin about humor and the convo quickly turns to: Artful one-liners. I'm speaking with filmmaker Ken Burns about Mark Twain and the interview rapidly slides toward: Folksy one-liners. I call to catch up...

By Michael Cavna | February 11, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Caption Contest News: YOU May Already Be a Winner

With the terribly unscientific balloting looking to be completely on the up-and-up (small favors), Comic Riffs can declare a winner in the first official "Write-Better-Gags-Than-Cavna" Caption Contest. (Michael Cavna) Enlarge Comic The Post jurors culled the field to three finalists,...

By Michael Cavna | February 10, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (5)

Which Webcomic Are You Ready to Rally Behind?

My mission is simple, my agenda is transparent: With your help, Comic Riffs is champing at the bit to champion a great webcomic. Oh, this blog has touted webcomics before, natch, including "Achewood" and "New Adventures of Queen Victoria." But...

By Michael Cavna | February 10, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Smart Remarks: We Stop to Smell the Bon Mots

We've had so many sharp/provocative/brutally honest/flat-out funny comments in recent days that today, we stop to smell the bon mots. Now, to enjoy a choice sampling of the remarks from you, a fearless band of witty Riffians: Enlarge Comic Look...

By Michael Cavna | February 9, 2009; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (11)

What Comic Dazzles You With Its Art?

Somedays, when peering at the most visually striking strips, I can't bring myself to immediately read the text. It's not that I anticipate lame dialogue, or don't appreciate that strips are generally best read as a cohesive, coherent whole. No,...

By Michael Cavna | February 9, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

Are Too Many Newspaper Comic Polls a Sham?

It's the ugly little secret that, within the newspaper comics industry and among avid comics followers, is nobody's secret at all: Namely, that the frequently used Newspaper Comics Reader Poll might be long-standing, but it is hardly upstanding. It has...

By Michael Cavna | February 6, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (28)

The 'Riffs Poll: Fishier Than a Florida Recount

It was 3 a.m. and I couldn't go back to sleep, so I did what many a journalist -- if not many an American -- does when insomnia occurs in the Information Age: I clicked on my computer. I surfed...

By Michael Cavna | February 6, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (10)

Drawing Obama: My Life With Controversial Caricatures

Why is Will Ferrell's dramatic caricature of President Bush so different from, say, those of impersonators Frank Caliendo or Steve Bridges? "Because he's got a true comic 'take' on Bush," says Post colleague and drama critic Peter Marks, who's just...

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

What's the Steamiest Comic Strip? (Oh, So Many Contenders)

Panting? Petting? Lip sucking and, well, more lip sucking? Just what in the name of family comics is going down around here? Given all the libidinous hot-plot lines in comics lately, the family funnies may soon actually be "in a...

By Michael Cavna | February 5, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

When Comics Feel the 'Michael Phelps Effect'

I'm beginning to really worry about poor Rob Wilco. "Get Fuzzy's" favorite agoraphobe is obsessing something serious about "Dr. Strangelove" film reviews. From 1964. Talk about not being able to take criticism well (even formal arts criticism). For something that...

By Michael Cavna | February 4, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (1)

Who Drew It Worst? The "Bad" Art Poll

The Burning Question o' the Day is as straightforward as it is simple: Which comics display the worst art on the page? Straightforward, yes, but perhaps not as simple as it seems. One fan's trashy style is another fan's fine-lined...

By Michael Cavna | February 4, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Three Words You Just Can't Say on the Funnypages

Some comic-strip creators, such as "Family Tree's" Signe Wilkinson and "Prickly City's" Scott Stantis, have told Comic Riffs that the limits placed on even "PG"-equivalent language in the funnies are a frequent source of frustration. In other words: The...

By Michael Cavna | February 3, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (4)

What's Your Fave Webcomic? Noms Now Accepted

One thing's abundantly clear, based on yesterday's feedback from you, fellow Riffians: As many newspapers cut back on their print funnies, many cartoon fans keep migrating online to get their fill of comic fodder. And as they do, webcomics reap...

By Michael Cavna | February 3, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (34)

Write a Caption, Win a Cartoon

Morning, Cartoon Nation... So last week, I invited you to offer captions for my "Warped" cartoon, whose caption I've never really been happy with: (Michael Cavna) Enlarge Comic From your many clever entries (by comment and e-mail), a handful of...

By Michael Cavna | February 2, 2009; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (13)

How Do You Read Your Comics--Online or on Paper?

As I was hanging in the bookstore's Humor Section, as I so often do, a short streak whisked past. It was a boy of about 8, making a beeline for the comic-strip books. Within seconds, this Norman Rockwell Boy cracked...

By Michael Cavna | February 2, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

 
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