Archive: May 2009

As 'Up' Tops Box Office: We Pick Our Favorite Pixar Films

"Up" (REUTERS/Walt Disney Co/Pixar/Handout) "Toy Story" (DISNEY PIXAR) As Pixar studio's 10th feature film, the 3D balloon-questing "UP," descends on theaters this weekend -- and easily tops the domestic box office at an estimated $68 million -- Comic Riffs...

By Michael Cavna | May 31, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

The Funnypages As We (Barely) Remember Them

Our quickie roundup of some of the day's most intriguing strips: 'RED ROVER' (WPWG)Enlarge Image RED AND ROVER: This strip often feels like a blend of present-day and a nostalgic "Leave It to Beaver"-esque yesteryear. If it IS nominally present-day,...

By Michael Cavna | May 29, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Interview: 'UP' Animator Bob Peterson of Pixar

Bob Peterson arrives at the premiere of Disney Pixar's 'Up' in Hollywood on May 16. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images) As Pixar's balloon-questing movie, "UP," lands in theaters today, it represents just the latest cinematic adventure for its writer and co-director,...

By Michael Cavna | May 29, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Act Now: Your Four-Minute Comics Workout!

Attention, Cartoon Fans! Act now and take advantage of our one-time offer (well, our only time today). Here's a chance to enjoy today's funnies in under four minutes. No obligation -- enjoy while supplies last... 'CUL DE SAC' (UPS)Enlarge...

By Michael Cavna | May 28, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (8)

The Interview: Animator/Filmmaker MIKE JUDGE (Pt. 2)

Mike Judge (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) In the interest of full transparency, Comic Riffs and animator/filmmaker MIKE JUDGE share many of the same influences. Not just some creative ones -- Terry Gilliam, Chuck Jones, Harvey Pekar and Charles Schulz, to...

By Michael Cavna | May 28, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Interview: 'Goode Family' Creator Mike Judge (Pt. 1)

MIKE JUDGE, co-creator of the Fox series "King of the Hill," poses in front of an illustration of the animated character he voices, Hank Hill, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ric Francis) As animator/filmmaker MIKE JUDGE nearly wraps up his...

By The Reliable Source | May 27, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

More Strips Deliciously Sexy -- What's Your Beef?

I try hard not to see synergy where none really exists. I refuse to invent trends (despite the ol' journalist's crack that in your cheesier news publications, it only requires 2 1/2 examples to label something a "trend"). And...

By The Reliable Source | May 26, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

Holiday Quickies: 'Family Circus' Gets Its Male Mojo A-Workin'

Before the barbecue and ballgames, a rapid holiday roundup for those on the go: 'FAMILY CIRCUS' (KFS)Enlarge Image FAMILY CIRCUS: This -- THIS! -- is when it's a crime that "Family Circus" is only a single panel. The Lamp...

By The Reliable Source | May 25, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (6)

In the Lines of Duty: A Cartoon Tribute for Memorial Day

Sometimes it takes a current war to remind some of us to fully honor and appreciate the fallen Americans from every war. Thankfully, in newspapers 'cross the land, platoons of cartoonists pause to remind us, too, why we pay...

By The Reliable Source | May 25, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cartoon Oscars: The Reubens Award Winners for 2009 Are...

THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE: THE WINNERS FOR THE 2009'S REUBENS ARE: 'NON SEQUITUR' (WPWG)Enlarge Image DAVE COVERLY can continue to be grateful that his colleagues "don't read" "Speed Bump" -- because he rode their tongue-in-cheek lack-of-readership all the way to...

By The Reliable Source | May 24, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Cartooning's Oscars: This Weekend, Lines Will Be Crossed!

(courtesy of NCS)Enlarge Image It's time, once again, to honor the year's best in cartooning by handing out the funkiest-looking trophy in the land -- picture the Blue Man Group having vaguely tawdry relations with an inkwell -- to...

By Michael Cavna | May 22, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Vote Now: Which Nancy Pelosi Cartoon Holds Water?

Can House Speaker Nancy Pelosi weather the current Beltway scrutiny? We know not, perhaps because we're overly focused on a more immediate question: Can Madam Speaker withstand the slings, arrows and Sharpies of a horde of cartoonists? Dick Cheney's...

By The Reliable Source | May 21, 2009; 1:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

'Garfield Reverses Garfield' & Other Meta-Games

'MARK TRAIL' (NAS)Enlarge Image It's the best comics meta-game I've heard in many moons. Posting here yesterday, commenter "filfeit" -- melding the "Pearls Before Swine" and "Mark Trail" threads -- suggested thusly: "I think reading Mark Trail from right-to-left improves...

By The Reliable Source | May 21, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (5)

Call for Entries: "Eat My (Animated) Shorts!"

The Fox network couldn't have picked a better online street-corner to do business. Here at Comic Riffs, we've long been fans of Aniboom, the online animation studio that routinely features stellar work. (Just the other day, 'Riffs featured the...

By Michael Cavna | May 20, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

In China, It's the Year of the Rat-and-Pig

'PEARLS BEFORE SWINE' (UPS)Enlarge Image Occasionally, spurred by a precise confluence of caffeine, outside artistic inspiration and blank-eyed deadline desperation, we cartoonists decide to get seriously meta. To play with the comic-strip form itself. To literally break fourth walls....

By Michael Cavna | May 20, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (9)

The Interview: 'Comic Riffs' Blogger Michael Cavna

'STEVE GREENBERG' (Courtesy of Steve Greenberg and Cagle.com) One danger of publicly bemoaning the state of the Endangered Newspaper Comics Industry for a living is that fellow journalists begin to contact you to speak authoritatively on the state of...

By Michael Cavna | May 19, 2009; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Line: 'Risque Business' in the Comix

'JUDGE PARKER' (NAS)Enlarge Image Going forward, Cartoon Nation, we shall heretofore officially call it the Judge Parker Rule: Namely, if your strip's life is in doubt or on the outs, then skin is suddenly in. Yesterday, we teased "Judge...

By Michael Cavna | May 19, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (8)

Afternoon Quickie: Putting the 'Strip' in Comic Strip

Let's say my comic strip has just been freshly resurrected, back among the living on the funny pages of The Post. Now, to avoid getting bounced again anytime soon, my mission as a creator becomes clear: I must draw...

By Michael Cavna | May 18, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (8)

President Ba-Spock Obama? The Highly Logical Vote Is Yours

Barack Obama is Frozone from "The Incredibles," some say. Haha -- nice try, but no: Obama is Frazz, others contend. Are you blind? Obama is -- and will always be -- Sidney Poitier's classroom disciplinarian from the '60s flick "To...

By Michael Cavna | May 18, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Interview: 'SNL' Writer/Animator Robert Smigel

Robert Smigel: The man behind "Ambiguously Gay Duo" and "X-Presidents." (Gino Domenico/AP File Photo) Tomorrow night, "SNL" wraps an especially stellar season -- from Tina Fey's Sarah Palin to Justin Timberlake's charismatic hosting -- and Sunday night, NBC will...

By Michael Cavna | May 15, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Morning Line: They Shoot Lame Gags, Don't They?

'FRANK AND ERNEST' (NEA)Enlarge Image Today's pathetic "Frank and Ernest" is the proverbial last straw. The gag relies so squarely -- almost solely -- on the topicality of the word "bailout" that we're forced to declare: It is time for...

By Michael Cavna | May 15, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (5)

Size Matters? An Insecure Croc's 'Tail of the Tape'

Poor, poor Croc. It's tough enough to be a domesticated reptile trying to date and mate with the wet dudettes of your swampy species. But it's quite another, apparently, to be saddled with insecurities about, um, "tail size." 'PEARLS...

By Michael Cavna | May 14, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

Reader Poll: Which Cartoon Grads Make the Grade?

As college and high school graduations near and grads seek work, perhaps there's only one career that's benefiting from the unfortuate timing: the nation's political cartooning. As always, tough times make for fertile fodder. Today, Comic Riffs -- also...

By Michael Cavna | May 13, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Quickie: Good Cat, Bad Spidey

RIFFING, AND RIFFLING, THROUGH THE MORNING TOONS... 'GET FUZZY' (UFS)"> 'GET FUZZY' (UFS) 'GET FUZZY' (UFS)">Enlarge Image GET FUZZY: Some of Bucky Katt's qualities are beginning to alarm me. Specifically, the ones that he and I apparently share. A...

By Michael Cavna | May 13, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (13)

Animated Reactions: A Few of Our Favorite Shorts

The Maryland Film Festival unspooled in Baltimore in recent days, and notably, the lineup included several films by one of my favorite short-form animators, Bill Plympton. I've been an avid fan of Plympton's color-pencil lines since the Oscar nominee's work...

By Michael Cavna | May 12, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Twitter Satirized in Just a Few Characters

In recent months, Comic Riffs interviewed a number of syndicated newspaper cartoonists (from Scott Adams to Mike Luckovich) about whether they've Twittered or Tweeted or Twitpic'd or Twibed. The vast, vast majority of such cartoonists -- unlike many of their...

By Michael Cavna | May 12, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

'Superhero' Michelle Obama: Armed & Dangerous

A few months back, Comic Riffs reported that Bluewater Productions would issue a "Female Force" comic book featuring Michelle Obama. Well now, Bluewater announces that its Michelle issue has sold out and that it's ordered a second printing. The difference...

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

The Morning Line: One Order of Crushed Garfield, Please

'GARFIELD' (UFS)Enlarge Image Garfield sometimes entertains, more often rankles and irritates -- but today, he flat-out mystifies. Or rather, the artwork flat-out mystifies. In today's final panel, Garfield -- at least in black-and-white -- is apparently supposed to be...

By Michael Cavna | May 11, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (9)

Box Office Poll: Just How Much Will 'Star Trek' Prosper?

Chris Pine, left, and Zachary Quinto in a scene from J.J. Abrams's "Star Trek." (United States Entertainment) The big question at the box office this weekend: Just how much will "Star Trek" prosper? Most reviews of the franchise's 11th...

By Michael Cavna | May 8, 2009; 10:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Swine Flu? Forearmed Is Forewarned

"Dilbert" creator Scott Adams (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) Time for Friday's Reading List, when we catch up with fave items of the week... 1. Swine flu hygiene has inspired Scott Adams to muse about safer forms of salutation on...

By Michael Cavna | May 8, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

When Is a Cop Doughnut Joke TOO Stale?

The question on our morning table today: When is it time to retire a gag? Tell a joke about bad airline food -- even on Amateur Night at the local Komedy Klub -- and you're instantly branded as a...

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

Mother's Day: Give the Gift of Cartoons

Mama's Day is still a few days away, but as a thoughtful reader service -- in case you need a reminder today to send that card, those flowers or that economy-spurred plea to move-back-home -- Comic Riffs offers a holiday...

By Michael Cavna | May 7, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

'Sally Worth'? Now Taking Your Fave Cartoon Mash-Ups

Morning, Cartoon Nation... Today, I laughed with -- and decidely not at -- "Sally Forth." The reason: The mish-mashup of the would-be band name "REM Speedwagon." 'SALLY FORTH' (KFS)Enlarge Image Once I got past the startling possibilities of Mikey Stipe...

By Michael Cavna | May 7, 2009; 7:15 AM ET | Comments (3)

When Obama Drives the Funnies

In real life, President Obama may be making man-of-the-people burger runs to Arlington. But in "Candorville"-Land, Obama is Harry Truman (the meta-year is 1948) crossed with an upper-crust FDR (right down to his ivory cig-holder). Regardless of setting, though, Darrin...

By Michael Cavna | May 6, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Frazz Affront: Top-Five Picks to Become a KidsPost Strip

"Frazz" fans have spoken, and their battlecry is clear: Move "Frazz" back to the main comics pages. Puhleeze. When "Judge Parker" was resurrected recently in The Post, "Agnes" was bumped to KidsPost. But then the newspaper decided to return snarky...

By Michael Cavna | May 6, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (18)

The Interview: "Maus's" Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman in his Manhattan studio last October. (Helayne Seidman for The Washington Post)Enlarge Image ART SPIEGELMAN is most famous for his comic Holocaust narrative "Maus," but the cartoonist's career spans so much more -- from his underground comics in...

By Michael Cavna | May 5, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Frazz's Turn: Which Strip Should Go to KidsPost?

Morning, Cartoon Nation... 'AGNES' (Creators)Enlarge Image Blame it all on Judge Parker. Because the Judge and Sam Driver and Abbey and Randy and Sophie ultimately proved so appealing to Post readers, their strip's return meant something had to bounce to...

By Michael Cavna | May 5, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (34)

Mr. Spiegelman Goes to Washington

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman in his Soho studio in Manhattan last October. (Helayne Seidman for The Washington Post) Legendary cartoonist ART SPIEGELMAN is coming to Washington D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery of Art tonight for a little talk. The advertised topic of...

By Michael Cavna | May 4, 2009; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (2)

Luddites Unite! What Is This Thing You Call a 'Blog'?

Morning, Cartoon Nation... 'PICKLES' (WPWG)Enlarge Image My favorite comic of the day? Without a doubt, it's "Pickles,"because Brian Crane gets the truth and tone of the language so very, very right. All this week, Opal is bemoaning technological change. She...

By Michael Cavna | May 4, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Even X-Men Know: Today's Free Comic Book Day

As Homer Simpson once uttered with such sage insight: "Nothin' a month?! I can swing that!" Today, as all the good fanboys and -girls know, is officially Free Comic Book Day -- the one time each year when superheroes, sci-fi...

By Michael Cavna | May 2, 2009; 12:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Interview: 'Slowpoke' Alt-Cartoonist Jen Sorensen

Until last year, I had read the alt-comic "SLOWPOKE" on occasion, but I had not really READ "Slowpoke." That is, I had not pored over it as a book collection, in which editorial cartoonist Jen Sorensen's superbly ironic worldview comes...

By Michael Cavna | May 1, 2009; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (2)

'Wolverine' Poll: You Tell Us--How Much Will It Make?

(courtesy of XXX) Comic Riffs blogger Michael Cavna and his superhero-lovin' Post sidekick David Betancourt attended a press screening of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" earlier this week. Cavna thinks the film will satisfy the bigger "popcorn" audience, largely because Hugh...

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

 
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