Archive: June 2009

The Comics Minus 'Garfield'? Time to Defend That 'Toon

Yes, folks, it's time once again to play: Defend That 'Toon! 'GARFIELD' (UPS)Enlarge Image Last week, Comic Riffs asked readers: Were you editor, would you cancel "Hagar the Horrible" from your funnypages -- and the response was almost squarely...

By The Reliable Source | June 30, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (29)

Bernie Madoff: Can Cartoons Do Him Justice?

THE MORNING LINE: The a.m. roundup of today's 'toons, from the scams to the shams... Bernie Madoff, the man whose very surname is such a dead-giveaway of a pun, even "Frank & Ernest" would be hard-pressed to deliver more...

By Michael Cavna | June 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

The Morning Quickie: Of Junior Gags and Sophomoric Humor

THE MORNING LINE: The quickie a.m. roundup of today's 'toons... 'BIG NATE' (UFS)Enlarge Image SLY LANGUAGE AWARD: Back in the day, I was not able to get the world "tool" in the newspaper. Well, at least not like this....

By The Reliable Source | June 29, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

Best of the Sunday Funnies: The Eeriest Cartoon You'll Read Today

Rounding up 'Riffs favorite Sunday 'toons... "Pearls Before Swine" cartoonist Stephan Pastis has told Comic Riffs that he typically draws many, many months ahead of schedule. Which makes it all the more poignant -- or just friggin' eerie --...

By Michael Cavna | June 28, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

Michael Jackson Goes Where Angels Fear to Tread

Sizing up the spate of Michael Jackson cartoons... 'JOHN DARKOW' (cagle.com) 'PATRICK CHAPPATTE' (cagle.com) 'PERAY' (cagle.com) 'PETER BROELMAN' (cagle.com) In the wake of Michael Jackson's death, more than a couple of political cartoonists struck upon the same essential idea:...

By The Reliable Source | June 27, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Does This Michael Jackson Cartoon Cross the Line?

'MIKE LUCKOVICH' (Atlanta Journal Constitution) There've been cartoons of tribute (spotlights, moonwalk moves and single sequinned gloves). We've seen cartoons of snarkiness. But perhaps none has been immediately more of a visual lightning rod than Mike Luckovich's response to...

By Michael Cavna | June 26, 2009; 6:00 PM ET | Comments (7)

The Most Poignant Cartoon of the Week

Leave it to Beeler. In the wake of the fatal Metro crash this week, the Washington Examiner's NATE BEELER drew the most poignant image I saw about the tragedy. It has just the right tone, the right feel. 'NATE...

By Michael Cavna | June 26, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (3)

Michael Jackson: The King of Popular Cartoons

They both seem utterly of their time, almost frozen in amber and ink. The uni-gloved, sequinned-socked, moonwalking Michael Jackson of the "Thriller" era, sparkling in Sgt. Pepper's-style jacket. And, on the funnypages, "Bloom County" -- another peaking-in-the'80s icon that...

By Michael Cavna | June 26, 2009; 7:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Mark Sanford to Smartphones: What This Riffster Is Reading Now

Obama-swatted insects. Hoax instead of hope. Smartphone envy. And the global mourning over Neda. Here are five editorial cartoons that top the 'Riffs Reading List for the day -- followed by my Mark Sanford Picks o' the Day. If...

By Michael Cavna | June 25, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (1)

When Does a Common Punchline Wear Out Its Welcome?

'BREWSTER ROCKIT' (TMS)Enlarge Image 'MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM' ' (KFS)Enlarge Image Wanna get a quick guffaw? Want to see your friends, neighbors and frenemies double over in a gut-busting fit of laughter? Then your mission is clear: Know your...

By Michael Cavna | June 25, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

'Riffs Gallery: Best of the 'Twitter Iran' Cartoons

When it comes to the role of social networking amid Iran's violent post-election uproar, comic Bill Maher may have had the satiric line of the week: "Twitter didn't save Iran. Iran saved Twitter." Political cartoonists, too, have been mining...

By The Reliable Source | June 24, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (5)

Beware All Ye Who Love--Or Loathe--Barry Manilow

THE MORNING LINE: Today's quickie a.m. roundup, from the sliced to the diced... 'PEARLS BEFORE SWINE' (UFS)Enlarge Image My prediction about today's "PEARLS BEFORE SWINE": Cartoonist Stephan Pastis will soon be hearing from Barry Manilow's people. Not his attorneys,...

By Michael Cavna | June 24, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (6)

Countdown to Comic-Con: "Cul de Sac's" Maiden Voyage

If there's anything more fun than talking "San Diego Comic-Con" with a decades-long attendee, it's the polar opposite: A chat with a Comic-Con rookie who can only imagine what awaits. "Cul de Sac's" Richard Thompson (Courtesy of Richard Thompson)...

By Michael Cavna | June 24, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Countdown to Comic-Con: Stephan Pastis's First Impression

Today, with San Diego Comic-Con exactly one month away, Comic Riffs -- which will trek West to cover the four-day event -- officially begins its Countdown to Comic-Con. I first discovered the 'Con in the '80s, when both of...

By Michael Cavna | June 23, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

And Now for Something Completely Different...

The a.m. quickie roundup, from the yawning to the spawning... 'ZITS' (KFS)Enlarge Image A topical pun. A talking-animal gag worthy of Chuck Jones. And absolutely nothing related to adolescence. Today's "ZITS" is all but a must-read because it is...

By Michael Cavna | June 23, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Is 'Hagar' Not Horrible? Time to Defend That 'Toon

HAGAR THE HORRIBLE (courtesy of KFS) Enlarge Comic Today, we introduce a spankin'-new Comic Riffs feature titled "Defend That 'Toon," which each week will test the reader popularity of this or that particular comic strip. First up: "Hagar the...

By Michael Cavna | June 22, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (17)

Laura Linney? O, Who Will Answer Our Casting Call?

THE MORNING QUICKIE: The early a.m. roundup of 'toons, from the cinematic to the melodramatic... Enlarge Comic JUDGE PARKER: As the Evil Cheerleader Moms of Doom storyline continues to unnnnfold like a creaky lawn chair, there are elements of...

By Michael Cavna | June 22, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

Sunday Funnies: We Pick Best of the Father Day's Bunch

Today's Sunday funnies offer some swell non-holiday 'toons -- the art in "Zits" and the tartness in "Pearls Before Swine" are particular stand-outs -- but since it's Dad's day, Comic Riffs spotlights six father-themed strips: 6. THE SWEETEST: "BALDO"...

By Michael Cavna | June 21, 2009; 9:10 AM ET | Comments (4)

The Interview: 'Twitter Bird' Artist Simon Oxley

Simon Oxley, who designed the Twitter logo. (Noriko Oxley) Japan-based illustrator SIMON OXLEY is not a cartoonist, but rather a brilliant artist with a truly comic sense of humor. He has created thousands of whimsical illustrations, yet most of...

By Michael Cavna | June 19, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Gallery: Sharpest Editorial Cartoons of the Week

We had the continuing Iranian election controversy. We had the continuing Palin/Letterman brouhaha. But for this Riffster's money, these three editorial cartoons had the best aesthetic payoffs in recent days. The Comic Riffs gallery is now open -- links...

By Michael Cavna | June 19, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A.M. Quickie: Presenting the Morning Picks

From today's funnypages, the early a.m. quickie... 'GARFIELD' (UPS)Enlarge Image MOST BLESSED DEVELOPMENT: Now here's a plot twist that seriously piques a Riffster's interest. Plus, now it's all beginning to make some kinda sense. Garfield held New Threat Liz...

By Michael Cavna | June 19, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (3)

So Many Swell Comics--Or Is It Just Me?

The quickie roundup of today's cartoons, from the good to the better than good... Some days, an inordinate number of comics seem uncommonly good and unusually inspired, as if something were in the collective water of cartoonists. Either that...

By The Reliable Source | June 18, 2009; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (2)

Reader Poll: Cast Your (Rigged) Vote for Best 'Iran Election' Cartoon

Yesterday, one 'Riffs reader asked why so relatively few Palin/Letterman political cartoons were populating the landscape. Well, perhaps it's partly because the election-aftermath in Iran is just so politically hot -- and so important -- that it merits days...

By The Reliable Source | June 18, 2009; 8:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Why Sean Hannity Should Play 'Captain America'

Sean Hannity, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert (Fox News; MSNBC; REUTERS/Steve Manuel/USO/Handout) So as we begin in earnest to cast a star for "Captain America," The Movie, some of the early offerings by 'Riffs readers are inspired. On look alone,...

By Michael Cavna | June 17, 2009; 1:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

You Must Remember This: A Kiss That's Just a Miss

The quickie roundup of today's 'toons, from the trite to the true... 'ZITS' (SOURCE)Enlarge Image It's time, obviously, for an intervention. The sweetly green Jeremy Duncan sucks -- or more precisely, OVERsucks -- at Liplocking 101, and it quickly...

By The Reliable Source | June 17, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (9)

Reader Poll: Who Nails the Palin/Letterman Brouhaha Best?

An Alaska politician who still has one serious "Q" rating. A TV host who remains America's favorite late-night curmudgeon. And a national controversy involving family and taste and sexuality that refuses to ebb. It's all too tantalizing for some...

By Michael Cavna | June 17, 2009; 8:00 AM ET | Comments (11)

You Be the Editor: What Should Be the Fate of 'Family Circus'?

'FAMILY CIRCUS' (KFS)Enlarge Image In her introduction to "Best American Comics 2008," cartoonist Lynda Barry -- in editing the anthology -- professes her fanlove and attachment and devotion to "Family Circus" and "one of the greatest of all time,"...

By Michael Cavna | June 16, 2009; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (56)

Predict That Plot: The Mark Trail Edition

'MARK TRAIL' (NAS)Enlarge Image Time once again to play "You Guessed It," in which certain strips are so ripe for predicting the plotline that we pause to, well, predict the plotline. We start with today's "MARK TRAIL," in which the...

By Michael Cavna | June 16, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (6)

Now That Captain America's Reborn: Who'll Play Him in the Movie?

'CAPTAIN AMERICA' (Marvel Comics) Has anyone checked Arlington National Cemetery to make sure the monument's still there? The news this week that Steve Rogers is being resurrected beginning July 1 -- for the five-comic-book series "Captain America Reborn" --...

By Michael Cavna | June 16, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Reader Poll: Who Draws Lil' Kim Jong-Il Best?

The Don King 'do! The Mr. Magoo shades! And the endless stream of wee fatigue-green outfits that make him look as if he shops at "Baby Fidel" for boys. For many political cartoonists, at least, KIM JONG-IL is an artistic...

By Michael Cavna | June 15, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Are Dogs Really the Best Judge of Human Character?

THE MORNING LINE: The early a.m. roundup, from the inspired to the creatively tired... 'NON SEQUITUR' (UPS)Enlarge Image I've had dogs. I've had cats. There was the odd rabbit, box turtle and garden snake (though not in the same...

By Michael Cavna | June 15, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

Best of the Sunday Funnies: We Pick 'Em

A deftly drawn monster in "Prince Valiant." A big warm-and-fuzzy in "Mutts." And fun at Manny Ramirez's (female-fertililty) expense in "Tank McNamara." All in all, a pretty fair week for the Sunday Funnies. That said, Comic Riffs' Top Three...

By Michael Cavna | June 14, 2009; 9:00 AM ET | Comments (7)

Eat Your Heart Out, Wonder Woman. Here Comes OPRAH!

On the heels of creating comic books featuring such women as Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Caroline Kennedy, Bluewater Productions' "Female Force" will next spotlight... 'FEMALE FORCE' (Bluewater Prod.) ... OPRAH WINFREY. To which Comic Riffs has just one...

By Michael Cavna | June 13, 2009; 1:15 PM ET | Comments (1)

The Interview: Dan Wasserman's Inside Line on the Boston Globe's Labor Woes

DAN WASSERMAN (Courtesy of Dan Wasserman / Boston Globe) This week, Boston Globe political cartoonist DAN WASSERMAN -- responding to his newspaper's vote to reject a new labor deal -- created a brilliantly distilled cartoon. Because the New York...

By Michael Cavna | June 12, 2009; 9:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

The Wildest Haircut in the Comics Belongs to...

THE MORNING LINE: The early morning roundup, from the eye-catching to the (literally) head-scratching... 'SPIDER MAN' (KFS)Enlarge Image Seeing Wolverine this week in "Spider-Man," I'm entranced anew by a visual that never fully strikes me when watching Hugh Jackman...

By The Reliable Source | June 12, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

Sonia Sotomayor: Creator Explains His Controversial Piñata Cartoon

Comic Riffs recently posted the controversial cartoon about Sonia Sotomayor -- in which she, as a strung-up piñata, awaits a wallop from GOP elephants -- and we invited you to vote with your reaction. Of the 500-plus respondents, 42...

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

Create Your Own Cartoon Character: What Should the 'Mainstream Media' Look Like?

The early a.m. roundup of cartoons, from the trite to the true... 'CANDORVILLE' (WPWG)Enlarge Image How do you feel about the mainstream media? Or make that: the Mainstream Media, the Fourth Estate, the Prominent Collective Entity that so often...

By Michael Cavna | June 11, 2009; 7:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

How Newsweek's Guest Editor Let Us Down (That Means YOU, Mr. Colbert)

'MIKE LUCKOVICH' (Atlanta Journal Constitution / courtesy of cagle.com) A hearty tip-o'-the-hat today to Stephen Colbert -- which in ever-ironic "Colbert-speak," of course, actually means that we're taking him to task with a vigorous "wag of our finger." Tsk,...

By Michael Cavna | June 10, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Morning Quickie: When Our 'Toons Enter 'The Twilight Zone'

The early a.m. roundup of cartoons, from the eye-catching to the head-scratching... Okay. Either I or the comics are just a little off today, based on these Five Telltale Signs. I'll let you be the judge as to who's...

By Michael Cavna | June 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

Obama in the Muslim World: Who Spins It Best?

Many cartoonists I know are prone to leaping, panting like puppies, at the mention of two simple words: "Road trip." Short of hitting the wild blue yonder themselves, though, the second-best thing for many political cartoonists is when a...

By Michael Cavna | June 9, 2009; 1:50 PM ET | Comments (7)

If You Like 'Pearls Before Swine,' THIS Video Is for You:

When it comes to promotion, "Pearls Before Swine" creator STEPHAN PASTIS truly takes matters into his own hands. So much so that Pastis will endure bloodied noses, projectile plush toys and bleep-happy, expletive-laced rants in order to peddle his...

By Michael Cavna | June 9, 2009; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (1)

Morning Quickie: Root for 'Get Fuzzy' to Hit the Bricks

THE MORNING LINE: The a.m. roundup from today's pages... 'GET FUZZY' (UPS)Enlarge Image INSIDE JOB: What's this now? Rob the Quasi-Agoraphobe is once again actually contemplating...leaving the homestead? If Rhode Island is what it takes, then -- a-men, brother...

By Michael Cavna | June 9, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Reader Poll: Does Religion Belong on Your Comics Page?

'MALLARD FILLMORE' (KFS)Enlarge Image From Charles Schulz to Johnny Hart, expressions of spiritual faith have long found sanctuary on the comics page. On the other hand, relatively few creators choose to do this -- and syndicate editors commonly warn...

By Michael Cavna | June 8, 2009; 11:45 AM ET | Comments (15)

What to Buy a Cubicle Dweller Who Has Everything

The morning roundup, from the eye-catching to the head-scratching... 'DILBERT' (UFS)Enlarge Image THE REAL DEAL: Today's "Dilbert" is even more satisfying when you realize that when it comes to birthday revelry, the "Scott" is question is apparently the comic avatar...

By Michael Cavna | June 8, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

David Carradine: The (Super)Man, the Myth, the Monologue

It's a word! It's a name! It's the "Superman Speech"! In the wake of DAVID CARRADINE'S death in Thailand, a friend reminds me that it was Carradine who delivered the second-best entry on our list of Top Quentin Tarantino...

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

Reader Poll: Is the Sotomayor Cartoon Offensive?

(Creators Syndicate / courtesy of Cagle.com) Oh, what would Jim Lang think? About seven weeks ago, the longtime cartoonist at The Oklahoman -- he was a fixture there for 58 years, retiring last fall -- died after an illness....

By The Reliable Source | June 5, 2009; 3:30 PM ET | Comments (7)

'Riffs Picks: Best of the Day--and Week

The best and the rest: A rapid roundup of today's cartoons... 'PEARLS' (UPS)Enlarge Image FAVE WORDPLAY O' THE DAY: "Pearls Before Swine" has been having a stellar week, and today's punning is the perfect topper. Thing is, often I --...

By Michael Cavna | June 5, 2009; 2:45 PM ET | Comments (2)

The Interview: 'Mallard Fillmore' Creator Bruce Tinsley

Bruce Tinsley (Courtesy of King Features Syndicate) BRUCE TINSLEY, ironically, had no designs on becoming a comic-strip artist. Nearly two decades ago, he was a political cartoonist, a practioner of the single-panel, non-continuity ever-topical format at the Charlottesville Daily...

By Michael Cavna | June 5, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (5)

Let's Get Small: Life With the Incredible Shrinking Comic

If you can read this type, then perhaps the newspaper print comics aren't too small for you to read. Yet. At the recent National Cartoonist Society's Reubens gathering in Los Angeles, there reportedly were the usual state-of-the-industry panel-chats and...

By Michael Cavna | June 4, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (25)

Dagwood & Doonesbury vs. the Anti-Defamation League

THE MORNING LINE... 'BLONDIE' (KFS)Enlarge Image If comedy's all in the timing, then today's "Blondie" is the Swiss watch of comic strips. That's because Dagwood Bumstead is discussing the Anti-Defamation League taking action against a comedic form of entertainment...

By Michael Cavna | June 4, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (11)

Heart of the Matter: A Memo to DreamWorks Animation

It's all too clear to see: For its next project, DreamWorks Animation should consider rendering the wizard of Oz. That's because L. Frank Baum's character could gift the studio's next 3D cartoon with the one thing it might just...

By Michael Cavna | June 3, 2009; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

Dick Cheney, Cartoon Cross-Dresser?

Morning, Cartoon Nation. Today's comics roundup, from the eye-catching to the head-scratching... PAT BAGLEY (courtesy of cagle.com) 'CANDORVILLE' (WPWG)Enlarge Image MOST DISTURBING DEMI-TREND: Once is mildly alarming. Twice verges on disturbing. I speak, of course, of a coupla cartoonists'...

By Michael Cavna | June 3, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Buzz Is Back: 'Toy Story 3' Trailer Toys With Our Expectations

With "Up" ruling the box office over the weekend, Pixar/Disney has been savvy enough to begin ratcheting up awareness of its next film, "Toy Story 3," which is still a full 12 months away from landing at your local...

By Michael Cavna | June 2, 2009; 8:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Huffington Post and Sotomayor Draw Fire

It's not just the content of political cartoons that can generate heated debate. These days, even their very existence can result in someone suddenly writing in a huff, if not a Huffington. Back in April, a HuffPost contributor named...

By Michael Cavna | June 1, 2009; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (3)

Does 'Fatal Attraction' Plot Pass the Rabbit Test?

The morning's breakneck roundup of eye-catching -- or head-scratching -- cartoons: SALLY FORTH (to view strip, click HERE): Is Ted Forth a walking meatbag of delusion, or simply just pathetic? Francesco Marciuliano seems to knowingly toe that very line....

By Michael Cavna | June 1, 2009; 9:30 AM ET | Comments (3)

 
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