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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 07/18/2009

Strip of the Week: Supersize Your Comics Complaint

By Michael Cavna


In a fairly inspired week of comic strippage, one strip stood out from the rest...


'DOONESBURY' (UPS)Enlarge Image


This week's Riffy Award for Strip O' the Week goes to "DOONESBURY," which tackled the sticky matter of the Incredible Ever-Shrinking Comics. (And that's those that survive overall funnypage shrinkage at all.)

"Doonesbury," which has the clout to run larger than most, takes on the issue ever deftly with this strip. And now, here's my wish: Every reader who cares passionately about seeing their print funnies run at a halfway legible, visually stimulating size should clip THIS "Doonesbury" and mail it to their local Newspaper Comics Editor -- with a nicely phrased note attached, to explain just how much this issue matters.

Will it make a difference? Who knows? If nothing else, some editors might think twice before micro-shrinking their comics yet again.

ELSEWHERE...

Now, the Riffys for some of the more clever and/or impassioned comments of recent days:


"I don't understand the "This comic is terrible...PUT IT ON THE KIDS PAGE" strategy. Why should kids have to suffer?"...
--Posted by: jakeok


"Unfortunately, newspaper censors would never have permitted 'Zits' to depict the organ that is actually at the root of the matter."
--Posted by: kilby


"Somebody draw me a cartoon gun and hand me some cartoon ammunition. I will jump into the strip, walk to Dennis' home, and ring the doorbell. When he answers, I will empty my cartoon gun directly into his adorable li'l zombie skull.
--Posted by: bucky_katt


"Why is it automatic that it's men shoving corks into Senator Gillibrand's mouth? I'm a woman and I've have loved for her to figuratively 'put a cork in it' or 'put a sock in it.' "
--Posted by: Chasmosaur1


"If today's comics are 'in heat,' I don't see how you cannot mention Agnes's nipples..."
--Posted by: pltrgyst


"Palin's resignation flies in the face of American history. Things are getting tough in Alaska and now she says it's over.
Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
--Posted by: jimbo1949 (invoking the great bit from "Animal House,' natch).


"Classic line from Squidward when the question is asked: 'I don't know why anyone would want to wear their underwear on the outside,' to which he replies 'Oh, I can think of some.' "
--Posted by: Neale


...and lastly, this -- because this Riffster suspects, in my heart of hearts, that "seismic-2" understands this blog even better than I do.


"Thanks for the memory
Of riffing on the strips, cartoonists' awkward slips,
Each morning's comics blogs where you gave us all those tips,
How lovely it was!

Thanks for the memory
Of censors who wouldn't budge, of Mark Trail's toxic sludge,
And how we got the Washington Post to bring back the Judge,
How lovely it was!

Many's the time that we riffed
And many's the time we were miffed
But then Cavna applied his gift
To make us moan, with a homophone

And thanks for the memory
Of polls that kept the score, your interviews and more,
You might have been a Rat or Pig but you never were a Boar
So thank you so much!"

--Posted by: seismic-2

By Michael Cavna  | July 18, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Rants, The Riffs  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is 'Dennis' Merely a Menace? Time to Defend That 'Toon
Next: Save Frazz: What Strip Would YOU Send to KidsPost?

Comments

"I'm a woman and I've have loved for her to figuratively 'put a cork in it' or 'put a sock in it.' "

Really?

Why??

Because she exceeded her so-called time limit by seventy seconds, even though she spoke for half as long as any of the men?

Seventy seconds hardly qualifies any person as being long-winded.

Obviously, you dislike her for some other reason. Supposing you tell us what it is or -- as you say "put a sock in it."

Posted by: prettierthanyou | July 18, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

This is a case where online readers are even more at a disadvantage than usual. If I were reading newsprint, I could use a magnifying glass, but it doesn't help to zoom in on a JPG or GIF, they only get grainier.

I think the last word in the final panel is "inherited", but I'm not sure. Perhaps someone with access to a printed copy could confirm this?

Posted by: kilby | July 18, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

>> prettierthanyou:

Re your question to Chasmosaur1 about elaborating on what she meant, I'll let the commenter explain herself for herself (if she so wishes). But I should note: I cite the "why is it automatic?" question here because artistically, I tried to determine whether they were all "male hands" or not. Ultimately, of course, that was a stereotypical conclusion I couldn't quite jump to.

A side point to some, but still a question of artistic execution (as hamhanded as it may be).

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | July 18, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Kilby, when I'm faced with that situation (as I too was for this strip) I'll right-click and save the image, then go to my word processor and paste it onto a blank page. Which I can enlarge to, if need be, up to 500 percent of the original size.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 18, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

prettierthanyou:

Okay, I'll be fair - I would like many Senators to put a sock in it. Actually I had posted a huge elaboration on this concept the same day, and for some reason - despite there being nothing even approaching obscene language in it - the WaPo comment-moderating software ate it.

Many Senators - Senator Gillibrand included - love to hear themselves talk. Her job was to simply introduce Judge Sotomayor - that should have been a simple and brief task.

Was Senator Leahy a bit of a prat for cutting her off? Yeah, he was. And I'd like to take my entire hosiery drawer and uncork most of my modest wine collection and utilize it exclusively on Senator Graham. ;)

But here's the thing: the strip was drawn by a Bill Bramhall - a New Yorker - for a New York paper - the New York Daily News. He was lampooning both Senator Gillibrand (HIS Senator), and the Senator Leahy, et al for criticizing her. If you look at his catalog, he mostly lampoons New York politicians and situations, with occasional forays into national affairs.

NOW took this completely out of context. And I'm sorry - I'm a woman who has worked in two different fields traditionally considered to be "men's". The harder you look for offense, the more you will find it, even if it wasn't meant. And the more easily you take offense, the less like people are to take you seriously when actual, serious offense was meant.

NOW is being very "Chicken Little" over this small thing, while ignoring the fact that a) Senator Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton (a man could easily have been tapped) and b) Judge Sotomayor is a more than able candidate for SCOTUS. All the positives about women's equality on display here, and they're complaining about a political cartoon?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 18, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I actually did save the image - I even went direct to the original source, but it was the same JPG. In this case, since the "print" resolution of the final panel has already been quartered, blowing it up just produces grainy pixels, and does not resolve the original question: is that word 'inherited', or something else?

But then again, this is exactly the point of the joke: if you can't even read the text, then it doesn't matter whether the caption was funny or not.

Posted by: kilby | July 18, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Chasmosaur1 :

"Many Senators - Senator Gillibrand included - love to hear themselves talk."

What is the evidence that this is true of Gillibrand in particular? Surely not overspeaking by seventy seconds -- without a stopwatch.

"Her job was to simply introduce Judge Sotomayor - that should have been a simple and brief task."

That was everybody's job, including that of Chuck Schumer -- who had ten minutes, net.

"But here's the thing: the strip was drawn by a Bill Bramhall - a New Yorker - for a New York paper - the New York Daily News."

But the NY Daily News has been uniformly hostile to Gillibrand. Perhaps its reporters and editors are auditioning to become Rupert Murdoch's pets, since it's been reported that Rupe plans to buy the DN from Mort Zuckerman.

"He was lampooning both Senator Gillibrand (HIS Senator), and the Senator Leahy, et al for criticizing her."

He was not lampooning Senator Leahy at all.

"If you look at his catalog, he mostly lampoons New York politicians and situations, with occasional forays into national affairs."

I am a NY journalist and I am familiar with Bramhall's oeuvre. I don't blame Bramhall -- I blame the Daily News editors who supervise the cartoonists who work for the paper.

"NOW is being very "Chicken Little" over this small thing, while ignoring the fact that a) Senator Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton (a man could easily have been tapped) and b) Judge Sotomayor is a more than able candidate for SCOTUS. All the positives about women's equality on display here, and they're complaining about a political cartoon?"

Would Leahy have interrupted Gillibrand if she were a man? That's NOW's real issue. And how many of the senators who spoke before Gillibrand exceeded their allotted ten minutes and were NOT interrupted?

And the DN cartoon was excessively insulting. In fact, Gillibrand is not thoughtless blabbermouth (as portrayed here) who habitually needs to be interrupted and seventy seconds is surely no basis upon which to label any public figure as "long winded."

Posted by: prettierthanyou | July 18, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

prettierthanyou:

Fair enough. However, I note that you didn't comment on my thought that if you look for offense, you will find it.

(oh - and DUH - a NYC-based paper is going to be critical of a former rep for a district that extends so far north? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked. Because the NYC area thinks *so* highly of the rest of the state. *snort*)

I can't get up in arms about every statement that every person makes every minute of the day. And the MSM is particularly egregious about exhibiting them - most papers have a slant or crusade of some form, and have since the days of William Randolph Hearst.

If, as you point out, that the NYD has a slant towards Gillibrand, then that makes this cartoon even LESS consequential. If it's part of their usual slant, then critics of the Senator will applaud it, and supporters will condemn it, as if it were a negative article. People with no strong opinions will just gloss over it as undeserving of attention.

Besides, these are the same men who grabbed onto Judge Sotomayor's "Wise Latina" comment and just wouldn't let it go. Do we expect them to treat junior female senators the same way they treat their male colleagues? It would be nice, but the reality of that is "no." I grew up around DC (and even grew up with the kids of Senators and Congressmen) - the interpersonal relations of Congress (especially in recent years) can on occasion be like an elementary school playground, writ large.

And by the way - I'm noting the Senator herself hasn't seemed to comment on the cartoon. If she's not upset, why belabor the point? It actually doesn't make her look good, since the press will mostly cover the cliches and then reinforce them.

The best way to make something unimportant is to NOT cover it at all. With all the other things the Fourth Estate doesn't seem to think merit coverage these days, I think this tempest in a teapot can be added to the pile.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 18, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you 2 put a sock in it?


:)

Posted by: JkR- | July 19, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Returning to the topic of Doonesbury, today's (Mon. July 20) strip reveals that Mike's college-student daughter is sleeping with her boyfriend. Will there be a furor like there was all those years ago when Joannie and Rick got busy (and there were a week of strips to get to that reveal) or has the culture changed enough that it'll be no big deal?

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 20, 2009 7:12 AM | Report abuse

No blogs today? Is MC on VAC?

Just a comment on Sunday's Queen Vic. One picture said 10,000 words, the visibly shaken Cronkite announcing the death of JFK. 45 yrs later I'm still affected by the sudden loss of innocence. The 50's were finally over and we would be the worse for it. All captured in a single frame.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | July 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

> No blogs today? Is MC on VAC?

Not on VAC, but traveling to Comic-Con, I would imnagine!

Posted by: seismic-2 | July 20, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Stephan, Stephan, Stephan, didn't your mother tell you it isn't nice to dis old ladies, and Mary Worth must be at least 147.
Also LuAnn FINALLY got to the "punch line"! Its been a long time coming, but its totally worth it. I'm going to smile all day!

Posted by: 2old2readcomics | July 21, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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