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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 09/21/2009

Fave Five: The Cartoons Now Catching Our Eye

By Michael Cavna

From all across the mighty web, here's the Official Comic Riffs Fave Five Cartoons list right now...

5. In a mere three panels and four balloons, this strip from Saturday pulled off the trifecta: It made me (1) laugh (2) then smile (3) then re-read for an aftershock chuckle. Commentary so sly, I'm reminded precisely why the "MY CAGE" bird (or platypus) sings. (And a shout-out to seismic-2 for alerting us to this day's "Cage.")

4. I may not respect myself later in the morning, but at this hour, I'll admit it: I am a weak-kneed sucker for two things graphically:
(1.) High contrasts.
(2.) Cool cross-hatching.
Which is why I'm utterly seduced by Eduardo Barreto's handiwork in today's "JUDGE PARKER." If only Maestro Barreto could lay hand on "Dennis the Menace," I'd love to see what the Mitchell parents would look like after they'd been Barreto'd. One thing's for sure: The sexiness ratio would spike to 11.

3. I've said it before: Some of my favorite writing in all of webcomicry regularly burbles up from the balloons of "PENNY ARCADE." And speaking of: Definitely worth a read is coverage of the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. Ben Fritz, reporting for The Los Angeles Times' "Game World," writes this about opening day at the expo.


2. I'm riveted by this "MARK TRAIL" for entirely tangential reasons: I'm transfixed by the fact that the creative masterminds at Team Mark Trail have broken the unwritten Rule of Villainous Facial Hair and left one of the baddies nearly nekkid in the sideburns department. I mean, what is with the Ricky Shroder doppelganger? He should be sporting mutton chops the size of Berber carpet samples. Ohh, something's amiss in Lost Forest, alright. (Perhaps a gator ate 'em?) Even Mark Trail was rendered senseless by the shock of it all.

1. Our top pick for today is what's looking now to be the last published political cartoon to be drawn by former Baltimore Sun editorial cartoonist MIKE LANE.

Daryl Cagle, who has syndicated Lane since he left the Sun (Lane reportedly took a buyout in 2004), has said that Lane will stop drawing editorial cartoons for syndication.

The owner of the Cagle Cartoons syndicate writes:
"I'm saddened to write that one of the great editorial cartoonists has decided to retire. Mike Lane, who drew for the Baltimore Sun for decades and was one of the very first cartoonists to form our little syndicate, is calling it quits."

Lane recently had open-heart surgery Cagle had reported. On Cagle's blog, Lane himself wrote: "My quitting editorial cartooning has come because it's time, not because of my health. Which is quite good, notwithstanding."

Comic Riffs has featured Lane's work numerous times over the past year; below is that last syndicated cartoon. We'll miss your work, Mike -- and congratulations on a stellar career.

Your sense of humor and quality may -- nay, will most assuredly -- vary. If you've got favorite cartoons today, Riffsters, feel free to share the link..

By Michael Cavna  | September 21, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Comic Strip, The Morning Line, The Political Cartoon, The Webcomic  
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I think I would like the Judge Parket crosshatching in that case if it was more than just a single shade of it followed by black. I'm guessing it's supposed to represent the texture of her dress, but just having that single medium-light shade throws me off (especially since her undershirt is as dark as her shadows). Maybe it's a case of looking better in B&W than in color.

Posted by: tidalwv | September 21, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say as the sober comics professional I am:

OMG!!! We made it in the body of the 'Comics Riff' blog!!!!

I mean, we've made it in the comments a fe times (like seismic-2's posting yesterday. Thanks seismic-2!), and usally we're mentioned nicely as being underappreciated, a strip people look up on the web to read because it's not in their local paper, a suggested new strip for the Post, and an example of strips that get 'over-looked' in newspaper polls that skew older (uh...not that I've been paying attention or anything) but I always figured people probably just thought that it was me or Melissa writing those. :D

This one can think I wrote this. :)

You've made my day sir.

(Uh...I hope one I post this it doesn't come off too 'Navin Johnson/"I'm in the phone book!"'-esque, it's just 'My Cage' gets a TON of fan-mail and but very few professional write-ups so I figured +we're doomed to obsurity/ 'cult status'. :) )

-Ed Power
Writer O' 'My Cage'

Posted by: mycagecomic | September 21, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

oh, and the '+' symbol before 'we're' above was from my son who hit the keybord as I hit send.

It's hard to key w/a 1 year old on your lap. ;)

Posted by: mycagecomic | September 21, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

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