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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 03/10/2009

Does Jessica Rabbit Really Bring the Sexy Back?

By Michael Cavna

Morning, Cartoon Nation...

First off, before we launch into the lambasting, we must give all fair credit and props to Jessica Rabbit. In a recent survey "conducted" by Cadbury Dairy Milk that asked respondents who the sexiest cartoon was, Cadbury's OWN Caramel Bunny only came in third.

It's mighty tough to beat the house, but the Press Association reports that Jessica and Betty Boop (what century are these folks living in?!) edged out the British Cadbury rabbit, who -- what a coinkydink! -- is now making a conspicuous return to billboard and magazine adverts, the candy-peddling company says.

This poll didn't seem to get much press on this side of the Atlantic until "Saturday Night Live" used it as a springboard/excuse over the weekend to bring back Andy Samberg's "Cathy" character. (Last year, 'Riffs roasted Samberg's take as being mighty stale, in the wake of so many other Cathy takedowns. This time around, though, the sketch was much freshened by Justin Timberlake's great Irving -- if not Jessica Biel's Jessica Rabbit.)



The real issue, here -- at least as real as any survey involving entirely fictional characters can be -- is that this survey's 1,000 respondents showed almost zilch-o imagination. In that lies the real sham and shame.

Jessica Rabbit? Really? That's like saying "Pamela Anderson" (the persona, not the person) is the sexiest woman on the planet. Not only is it a woefully simple-minded choice, but both are intentionally made up as overtly absurd cartoon characters.

Lower down on the survey's results (and apparently the dude contenders were either excluded or tossed aside like a cheap Dr. Manhattan thong) were Wilma Flintstone and "Scooby-Doo's" Daphne. At least those choices reflect a modicum of whit and whimsy. (If not a big ol' wink at the absurdity of it all.)

Last summer, Comic Riffs (never one to shun silliness) asked 'Riffsters who YOU thought the hottest cartoon characters are. Women characters from "9 Chickweed Lane," "Liberty Meadows," "Candorville" and "Judge Parker" were among the most-cited contenders (via e-mail), as were -- on the men's side -- Frazz and Brewster Rockit (below).


And while we're going the whole nine and delving to the depths of this giddy artistic silliness: How much more awkward can the positioning of Blondie's body get? Really?! In recent days, for instance, she's often drawn at an angle that has zero relation to the natural direction she would face. My best guess: The folks behind "Blondie," as it were, are tremendously intent on showing off her latest new pair of Spanx.

ELSEWHERE ROUND THE FUNNIES...

Behind the usual mind-games that "Mark Trail" and its perspective usually play with my head, another visual nuisance keeps cropping up. As Ken the Wife-Abusin' Deer-Wingin' Bankrupt Boorish-and-Gored Self-Loathing Shell-of-a-Man remains bedridden, the antics around him are enough to give a keen reader vertigo. His wife, Patty, and Mark Trail himself are circling his bed so rapidly, improbably -- between panels -- that alert readers have to mull whether there's some grander metaphor here.

Mark and Patty, in other words, seem to be literally running around behind his back.

Either that or the artist is just being lazy when it comes to making the dialogue balloons track sequentially. But such laziness would result in characters crossing the sightlines so often, they'd make Christian Bale fly into an on-set rage.

Nah. I prefer to stick with the Grand Metaphor idea. It's so much sweeter when dwelling on Ken's karmic comeuppance, Bucky-style.




By Michael Cavna  | March 10, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Comments

I was happy to see "Liberty Meadows" reference in the article, as i have been a huge fan of that strip ever since.....well, ever since it had another name, "University 2(squared) and was published in the University of Maryland student paper. The character Brandy from that strip was always a sexy favorite of the fans, even though she never dressed or acted gratuitously. In fact, i even went so far as to get one of the best pictures the artist ever did of her as a pin-up style tatt.
But for a character i didn't see mentioned: Francine Smith from "American Dad". and YES, i meant to list the mom and NOT the daughter. The mom-Francine-has a crazy side that is rarely seen, and that is something appealing. FOr pete's sake, she lives with a CIA agent husband, an alien refugee, and a german who's brain has been transplanted in a goldfish. so she can put up with a LOT of crazy insane stuff and shrug it off easily. But when she snaps, she SNPAS. THAT makes her fun. what did Jessica rabbit have? long legs and huge chest. Nice to look at, but that's it. Looking. not much going on in her head.

Posted by: caffeinator | March 10, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

So, why should comic characters face the front of the page like theater actors cheating to the audience? Wouldn't it be fun to see Blondie and Dagwood do the same scene from a completely different view? What would it look like to Daisy?

:-)

Posted by: MSchafer | March 10, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

heh, heh, ....he said spanx....heh, heh


Did Wilma really finish above Daphne, or is the listing above irrelevant?

Posted by: JkR- | March 10, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wilma Flintstone wasn't even the sexiest character on her own show -- Betty Rubble was far sexier...

Posted by: ewa2rva | March 10, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

so, where are the actual poll results? And where was Penelope Pitstop on the list?

Posted by: staxowax | March 10, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to point out the placement of the nurse's hand in the first MT strip. Mark, Mark, Mark, what are you up to?

Posted by: marshlc | March 10, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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