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Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 06/11/2009

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

By Michael Cavna


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 merits Capital Letters Of Import in print?

I ask because in today's "Candorville," cartoonist DARRIN BELL depicts -- as he often does -- the Mainstream Media with a less-than-pleasant physical embodiment. Just look at the guy. This character is purposefully soft and doughy -- so lacking in muscle tone that one wonders whether he's ever chased a story in his life.

Bell also gives "MSM" Man a vaguely "Chris Matthews" visage, but adds closely set, beady eyes (thus, a not-so-trustworthy set of peepers); draws him devoid of eyebrows (perhaps suggesting he's incapable of critical discernment and furrowed-brow skepticism); and gives him a mouth large enough to swallow an entire casaba melon -- all the easier for gullibly swallowing sensationalistic, fact-challenged stories.

"Candorville" has rendered MSM Man so thoughtfully that this all meris the Official Comic Riffs Reader Question o' the Day: If you were to draw Mainstream Media as a cartoon character, what features and attributes would you give him/her?

(Uncanny vision -- or shortsightedness? Brave, broad shoulders -- or no spine t'all? A true, steady mouth-piece, or a forked tongue? Your options boggle my journo mind...)

ELSEWHERE...


'LIO' (UPS)Enlarge Image


FVOD (FAVE VISUAL OF THE DAY): An inspired visual comes courtesy of "LIO," as Mark Tatulli leads our eye artfully across the panel. Nicely executed.



'AGNES' (Creators)Enlarge Image

WHAT AILS YA: It takes a mighty confident comic strip to leave itself wide open: By stating that its title character is writing "second-rate comedy for the medically frail." For such inspiration, "AGNES" need only cast her bespectacled eyes elsewhere around the page. (We won't name names. Well, yet.)



'BLONDIE' (KFS)Enlarge Image

THE EATER-NET: I'd love to see -- courtesy of The "BLONDIE" Bump -- how much that traffic to the sites Foodbook.com and Foodbook.org spikes tomorrow. And to repay the favor, both sites should feature the proper recipe for a real Dagwood sandwich.



'MARK TRAIL' (NAS)Enlarge Image

I, MARK, HATE APOSTROPHES: "My name is Mark Trail. In case YOU had not noticed, I think you will want to hear that I -- unlike other characters in my strip -- refuse to use any word that is a contraction. And I think YOU will read my stiff and stilted manner of speech and realize it is a symbol of my utter moral rectitude. I am Mark Trail, a Human Overstarched Collar. If you do not appreciate this, YOU are the one whose mind is in trouble."

By Michael Cavna  | June 11, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: Sonia Sotomayor: Creator Explains His Controversial Piñata Cartoon

Comments

Mark Trail is Data in disguise. That would explain a lot.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 11, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

I've been saying for years that the MSM is really just a bunch of High School students, considering how insanely prurient they've become in recent years.

While there are some great exceptions, it seems that anything that has an element of a sex scandal with a young woman takes precedence. Or if they think they are "stinging" something, instead of doing the research on a complex subject (like the pre-recording of the Obama Inauguration quartet, because playing outside in subfreezing cold is actually technically nearly impossible).

That they totally swallowed everything the Bush administration handed out to them on bulleted lists and have turned news into entertainment (instead of reporting and commentary), well, that just speaks for how stupid they think the American populace has become. I think they grossly underestimate, and we should be insulted as a whole.

Darrin Bell did a good job, but I think a locker room analogy would work just as well.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 11, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Anytime someone brings up "the Mainstream Media," I tell them to consider the alternative: the Fringe Media. Which IMO looks like Rush Limbaugh dressed like Captain America. Me, I think Walt Kelly nailed the look of the MSM back in the day with the character of the reporter from Newslife magazine.

Posted by: drazen1 | June 11, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

There should be TWO mainstream media characters, at least. The TV people love it when you lump them all together. The press, not so much maybe. Although we have Krauthammer and Geraldo Rivera, granted, overall the press is superior to the yakking class.

Posted by: Jumper1 | June 11, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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