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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 08/ 5/2009

Text Ths Fnny Car2n? LOL!

By The Reliable Source

The a.m. roundup of print cartoons, from the vexing to the Texting...

For political cartoonists, some subjects spring eternally fertile. The cost of health care. Civil liberties. Bank fees. And the ability of human texting habits to hold a palm-sized mirror up to our own idionsyncratic idiocies.

Here are four Texting-While-Driving toons of recent vintage that caught my eye. After checking out this quartet, you're invited to Vote for Your Fave.


MIKE LUCKOVICH (courtesy of

JIMMY MARGULIES (courtesy of

GARY VARVEL (courtes of



POLLS BEFORE SWINE: Some months back, "Pearls Before Swine" creator Stephan Pastis called and we got to talking comics readership polls. Soon, it seemed, our vocabularies kept gravitating to the "S" and "T" portion of the dictionary, as the four same words kept cropping up: Sham. Scam. Travesty. Tragedy. (Relatively speaking, natch.) Well today, Pastis trots out the best "s" of all when dealing with the half-basked methodology of most comics polls: Satire.

Comic Riffs applauds this strip -- (insert roar of crowd here) -- as well as the sentiment. And to refresh, here's what Pastis said to Comic Riffs back in February:
"Cheating in polls seems to be more rampant than ever. And that cheating appears to have pervaded not only the voting, but in the comments newspapers solicit about comic strips on their site. This would all be 'fun and games' but for the fact that many editors actually rely on these polls, and therefore, it determines our living."

Reading that, I realize I forgot one relevant word that follows "sham." That would be: Lowdown dirty SHAME.

JUDGE PARKER' (NAS)Enlarge Image

NO REPORTERS?: "No reporters." "No lousy hotel beds." Funny how often those two concepts are linked in the public perception. Is that because we're seen as dogged intrepid journalists who'll sleep in a random series of ratholes if that's what if takes to Get. That. Story?

OR: Is it simply because civilians look at the attire of too many rumpled reporters and immediately think of the "casual" style: "Lousy hotel bed"?

Hm. Too late to make that question rhetorical?

'MARK TRAIL' (NAS)Enlarge Image

O WINGED MUTANT: You want PROOF that those drums were toxic? Just look at how super-sized these chemicals have rendered the forest's avian creatures. As a climax, we can only hope that a Hitchcockian form of karmic justice will rain down from the not-so-friendly skies.


"Cul de Sac" creator Richard Thompson points out on his blog how he appears in a recent Sunday "Lio" strip.


COMIC POLLS: Are too many readership surveys a sham?

By The Reliable Source  | August 5, 2009; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  The Comic Strip, The Morning Line, The Political Cartoon  
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After voting for the only pen & ink drawing among the four, I was astonished to see that it was actually leading in the poll. Maybe I'm not the only person who thinks that a good editorial cartoon looks more dignified in black & white. But then of course, the rest of the blog talks about how these polls are always rigged, so who knows...

Posted by: kilby | August 5, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

A couple of years ago, when we opened, there were a couple of people who would submit 'nopes and then vote thousands of times ~ 10's for their own, 1's for anyone elses. No prize for being #1; in fact, it's safe to say no-one cared At All, Ever. But they stuffed the box. When I wrote a script to back out their votes and submit 1000 1's for their posts, I got nasty e-mails complaining that I was "gaming the system". Go figure.

Maybe next time I'll just precede all of their posts with "I am a cheat: " instead. :)

Posted by: filfeit | August 5, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

That's, in case anyone's looking for it. It's been a while since it was updated by us.

Posted by: filfeit | August 5, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

There was an even larger -- hawk-size -- chickadee in Mark Trail last week, and they're normally significantly smaller than blue jays (today's bird). Definitely scary stuff in those drums, and apparently they've been there a while, since whatever it is affected the squirrels before the birds. Wonder what will happen to Andy, who was sniffing around them? Perhaps an adaptation of the Hound of the Baskervilles is the next story line?

Posted by: nvanative | August 5, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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