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Posted at 7:05 AM ET, 06/26/2009

Michael Jackson: The King of Popular Cartoons

By Michael Cavna

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 would feature Steve Dallas copping all of Michael's best moves.

In the wake of Jackson's death Thursday at age 50, the images of Jackson cartoons -- and animated Jackson parodies -- come streaming back, from Rankin-Bass "Jackson 5ive" cartoons to "SNL" spoofs.

Today, Comic Riffs -- which drew its own share of Jackson 'toons in the '80s -- offers some of the more notable Jackson cartoons:

1. It seems only fair to start with the Saturday-morning "Jackson 5ive" cartoon whose look perfectly reflects the animation of the era:

2. Then, of course, there were the "Bloom County" strips that can, upon reflection, ring with a certain less-innocent melancholy now .

3. His moves soon became so iconic that many amateur animators -- using everything from stick figures to artist's models -- practiced trying to capture his fluid moves. This "Daminator" short is a deft example.

4. Slicker animation, such as "Dance Time," also found inspiration in Michael's music and his moves.

5. And now, upon Jackson's death, political cartoonists begin to draw their take on his memory, from the elegantly simple -- such as THIS cartoon by the Ottawa Citizen's CAM CARDOW -- to THIS more bracing cartoon by the Atlanta Journal Constitution's MIKE LUCKOVICH.

Michael Jackson, may he rest in peace.


THE 'RIFFS INTERVIEW: Berkeley Breathed bids adieu to "Opus."

By Michael Cavna  | June 26, 2009; 7:05 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Most Poignant Cartoon of the Week


Cardow nailed it....just perfect. A true and fitting "toon. It is a keeper.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | June 26, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

In today's onliners:

I usually look at Yenny because, well, it's nice to look at. But today's is pure Chuck Jones.

The critter is an iguana who hangs around. Sorta like The Fusco Brother's wolverine or Bob the Squirrel (only not so ubiquitous).

Posted by: filfeit | June 26, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

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