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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 02/20/2009

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

By Michael Cavna

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 smarter, sharper political cartoonists. Cleanses the soul, if not the retina.

This is just a sampling of good work from recent days. These Fave Five selections all take on economic matters in artful ways -- if only to immediately remind us that even strong critics of the stimulus bill can "voice" their displeasure without going vile. Their points are well-taken, and no animals -- let alone human dignities -- are harmed in the making of the cartoons. To wit:

With nary a dialogue balloon or caption, JOHN SHERFFIUS speaks volumes about the Obama Plan:

Likewise, STEVE BENSON deftly splits this cartoon into a two-fer: He plays off of Obama's open admiration -- and stated inspiration -- in regards to Lincoln, while supplying the witty visual twist. As they said in Abe's day: "Huzzahs!"

NATE BEELER, too, mines the stimulus plan for a smart critical take. There's gold there, without dipping into the dross.

By bringing it all back home, literally, MIKE LUCKOVICH delivers the point shortly, sweetly -- as we bask in the schadenfreuden of this couple's mortage pain.

And speaking out of journalistic self-interest, if not truly national interest, this cartoon by DAVID HORSEY is a tangy thing of beauty. I only hope the Seattle P-I will survive in such a fashion that the talented Mr. Horsey will retain a perch from which to sling these tart darts.

Ahh, to be reminded of quality political cartoons is a balm to the brain. Thanks, o Gang of Five.


I had the distinct pleasure a few days back of meeting JEFF KINNEY, the writer/illustrator who's deservedly continuing to enjoy phenomenal success with his "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" book series. Kinney, who stopped by the Post newsroom, noted that you can find "Big Nate" Island -- an online presence for the Lincoln Peirce comic strip (which appears in The Post), at their site,

Also: You can watch Kinney explain his writing -- from idea generation to character development -- to a bookstore crowd of smart young'uns in this video.

By Michael Cavna  | February 20, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Political Cartoon  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'Stimulus Chimp': Political Cartooning's Larger Powderkeg
Next: The List: Our Top 10 Black Superheroes


All this ruckus reminds me of Islamic rioting, looting, burning and killing because a handful of artists dared to create cartoons of Mohammad.

Black America is wisely not engaging in rioting, looting, burning and killing because of a cartoon.

However, history reflects this current displayed restraint by Black America has not always been true.

My hope is history will not repeat itself.

Okpulot Taha
Choctaw Nation

Posted by: PurlGurl | February 20, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Sweet tea! Sweet tea! Sweet tea!

More funnies and less political "cartooning".

Posted by: MSchafer | February 20, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

what's up with the dog taking a dump on the driveway in the Luckovich panel???

Posted by: sdp001 | February 20, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Today's IBD cartoon by Michael Ramirez on the is great:

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 20, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The problem is the quote in the cartoon in which the police shot dead a monkey. The quote can cause pain and/or happiness or leads to uproar. It it were "They'll have to find someone else to build the next $60B pyramid." some people may feel the pain, some people may feel happy, and NY Post would be called Holocaust denier.
But no matter what quote to put it the cartoon, I think it's a crime to put the smoking gun in the hands of the police. Their job is to serve and to protect.

Posted by: scooterlibre | February 20, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Love the SHERFFIUS for it's great concept, even if lacking artistic merit.

The Horsey next for quality concept and good artwork.

Now I'm looking forward to the artwork in Judge Parker to introduce us to the new hottie featured in a Mark Trail like blow up today....

Posted by: JkR- | February 20, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

To xenophile, PurlGurl, robinhood2, and those of similar ilk: you have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that racism, racist stereotyping, and ignorance are not dead, but thriving in this country.

We "Blacks" have been categorized, denigrated, dehumanized and portrayed throughout history (do they teach that subject anymore in school?) as apes, monkeys, 3/5 human by Mormons,and by every other perturbation you can imagine. Men of science used body part measurements and the most biased and flawed methods to justify racism, slavery, Jim Crow, genocide, and the Holocaust.

The hue and cry over this cartoon should be uniformly loud and intolerant. No responsible person should be encouraging any violence in this country which is already fraught with murder, self-serving fraud, incest, and serial acts of violence every day. Least of all should anyone add to the rash of violent threats against the President while he and his family deal with this unprecedented hate mongering of a world leader.

You cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theater, you cannot commit slander or libel with impunity, and you cannot suggest or encourage the assassination of a U.S. president. Freedom of speech has limitations, as freedom comes with responsibility.

It is sad and morally reprehensible that a people who claim to live and die by the Judeo-Christian ethic, forget the second of the two most important commandments: "Love thy neighbor as you love yourself." Then thou cannot do harm to any other man, in word or deed. If you need a good laugh, look at yourself in the mirror.

Posted by: MSAT | February 20, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

This chimp thing is total cr@p. How many times did I refer to Bush as Chimpy McFlightsuit? And I think the joke was implying that the stimulus bill was written by monkeys, not by black people- i.e. "Did you have a team of monkeys working all night on this one??"

Posted by: Terrorfied | February 20, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Chimpanzees are, actually, apes, rather than monkeys.

All technicalities aside, the rationale offered for the editorial intentions of this cartoon eludes me. I’m not at all clear how the Stimulus Bill is related to the story of the chimpanzee “Travis” and the tragedy that destroyed him. Seems to me a bit like discussing Alex Rodriguez’ current situation, and Academy Award nomination for Best Musical Score, in the same context. Perhaps the connection between “Travis” and the Stimulus Bill is as sinister as some have suggested.

Personally, I found the intent of the cartoon to be self-evident – much like any other typical political cartoon. I don’t see objectivity or any social or political value in this particular example of First Amendment privileges - and certainly nothing I would consider constructive. The author and the publication do, absolutely, have the guaranteed right to express themselves – however, the latitude of the First Amendment does have its practical limitations. As has been illustrated, it is the inalienable right of anyone and everyone to express or publish whatever character merits or flaws they may have – it is criminal, however, to promote assassination.

In the absence of constructive alternative suggestions; discounting attempts by anyone of any political affiliation, ethnicity or gender to find a solution to our grievous worldwide economic situation is easy, cheap, and self-serving. Depicting the violent death of one of our nearest biological relatives as an expression of a credible perspective? I’m afraid I must be missing the point – if, indeed, there is one to miss.

Of all the themes this cartoonist might have used to illustrate his conclusions and comments – this is the one he chose – with his publisher’s endorsement. Professionally, it falls somewhere below my expectations of hate-group graffiti. Politically, I consider it a grievous disservice to whomever it is intended to represent and support. Patriotically, I consider it a disgrace – an abuse of, and a gross insult to, the intents of our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

Posted by: thinkfirst2 | February 22, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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