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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 09/24/2009

From Tom DeLay to Mickey Mouse, Our Five Fave Cartoons This Minute...

By Michael Cavna

From Tom DeLay's cha-cha to Steamboat Willie's whistle, here are our fave five cartoons this minute, culled from across the mighty mighty Web...

5. DANCE AS A BIPARTISAN THREAT: With all the verbal gusto of Judge Bruno, Comic Riffs gives the Houston Chronicle's Nick Anderson a "10" for his take(-down) in this Tom DeLay cartoon. What really elevates the cartoon in our eyes is the depiction of DeLay as entertainer -- the face, that energy, that outfit. Slyly and wryly -- all in good fun -- the cartoonist-turned-TV-critic brings The Hammer down.

4. THE FAMILY TRIAGE: Leave it to today's "Beetle Bailey" to drop this little bombshell as if it's no big deal. Why, you can't just drop it like a hot "K.P." potato, O House of Walker! For the love of Otto, this news tears a mondo hole in the very fabric of our comics genealogy. Because this now means that Sarge and Lois Flagston (see: "Hi and Lois") are related, which begins to raise other paternity issues with all comics created by the Walker/Browne Estates. In other words: After more than a half-century, fellas, what other genealogical depth-charges are you hiding for fear of discovery? Honestly, sadly: The kids are always the last to know.

3. SPEAKING OF CARTOON SPAWN: Now that Marvel Money has surged yet further in value -- backed by those lofty Disney Dollars -- let a new round of litigation begin. Just back in January, a lawsuit was filed that named Marvel mastermind Stan Lee and Marvel Entertainment, among others. Which came not two years after Stan Lee Media sued Marvel Entertainment.

Now, the heirs of Jack Kirby -- who co-created many Marvel characters with Lee -- has filed a copyright lawsuit against Marvel and others. (Which comes shortly after the heirs of "Superman" co-creator Jerry Siegel filed a copyright suit against DC Comics and Warner Bros.)

So what's the take-home lesson of all this, besides the fact that lawyers for comics media companies are getting richer than Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark combined? It's that someone should mine this for rich cartoon humor. Fortunately, in this "PvP" STRIP, Scott Kurtz does just that. And elegantly so.

2. THE FORELEG FATHERS: "Mount Ruffmore"?! Yes, today's "GET FUZZY" gets the nod for best-played Pun O' the Day. But the strip also raises a larger debate: What famed pooch -- in addition to Snoopy, Lassie and Benji -- SHOULD get his snout carved into the rock of Mount Ruffmore? (Odie? Marmaduke? Satchel himself?)
Comic Riffs is now fielding all candidates if you've got 'em.

1. THE NEW MOUSE HOUSE: Bloomberg News is reporting today that the brand-new Walt Disney Family Museum -- housed in three buildings at San Francisco's Presidio Park -- is set to open Oct. 1. And the museum will be chock full of animation cels, mementos, audio/video displays (200 monitors--niiice) and yellowing artworks, including the earliest known sketches (from 1928) of the primordial Mickey Mouse.

Among those behind the effort to fund the $110 million museum is Diane Disney Miller -- as in, Walt's 75-year-old daughter. "I want people to know who he really was," says Miller of her father, who died in 1966.

In honor of the museum's completion and impending opening, our Top Cartoon Picks of the Day are a pair of early Disney animations: (1) 1928's "Steamboat Willie," which is credited as being the first animated film to synchronize image and sound; and (2) 1932's "Flower and Trees" -- which is hailed as the first animated film in three-strip Technicolor.

Some eight decades later, let the good times -- and virtual projectors -- roll:



By Michael Cavna  | September 24, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Animation, The Comic Strip, The Morning Line, The Political Cartoon, The Webcomic  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Riffs Interview: Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz Dives Headlong Into Being a Comic-Book Creator
Next: From Spiders to 'Surrogates': Our Five Fave Cartoons This Minute


Re Sarge Snorkle being related to Beetle Bailey. Is he upset because now he can't have the love affair he'd planned with Beetle's sister Lois?

Posted by: GreatStoneFace | September 24, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't know whether the suit by Jack Kirby's heirs has any legal merit - and I'm always suspicious of these second-generational proceedings - but it is surely true that Kirby was treated shamefully (whether legally or not) by Marvel, a company that was in no small part sustained through the popularity of Kirby's work. Stan Lee was handsomely taken care of, because the comics company was in fact his own family's business, but Kirby didn't even qualify for a pension. (His widow finally got paid one through a big posthumous wrangle.) Whether or not Kirby's estate is entitled to any money due to copyright, his family is surely entitled to some apology for his poor treatment, just out of decency.

As for the fourth pooch on Mount Ruffmore, (in keeping with today's Disneyana theme) I suggest Pluto. Since Pluto is no longer considered a planet, we should at least make it part of the Earth.

Posted by: seismic-2 | September 24, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I nominate Andy, Mark Trail's dog, for Mt. Ruffmore. He would have a speech bubble coming out of his head.

Posted by: CafeBeouf | September 24, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Going along with the "caged" theme in this week's "Get Fuzzy", I would nominate Guard Dog (from "Mutts") for Mt. Ruffmore. However, from the standpoint of "famous dogs", Pluto and/or Goofy are probably better bets. Perhaps Satchel simply couldn't decide between the two, or maybe the syndicate didn't want to rub Disney's fur the wrong way.

P.S. If Sarge's DNA relationship to Beetle is anything more than a one-time non-joke, then it is time to officially declare that the syndicate has "jumped the shark", and give that space on the page to a non-zombie.

Posted by: kilby | September 24, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Nominations for Mt. Ruffmore:
Spike from Tom & Jerry
Doggy Daddy from Hanna Barbara/Yogi Bear

I would second Guard Dog from Mutts but he's not quite classic enough

Posted by: capecodner424 | September 24, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I've just seen the full length of Steamboat Willie for the very first time, but I'm not surprised that every time it is used as the "origin" of Mickey Mouse, the only clip that is ever shown is the beginning, when Mickey is at the wheel of the boat. The rest of the film is funny, but Mickey indulges in a surprising amount of gratuitous animal abuse, perhaps more than a modern, politically correct audience would be willing to accept, or Disney would want to admit.

The "Flowers and the Trees" film was much more interesting, containing loads of precursors that were expanded upon in Disney's Fantasia. The images of the trees (particularly the grey one) bear a haunting resemblance to the Ents in the Lord of the Rings movies, which is quite ironic, considering how much Tolkien despised anything related to Disney's "fairy tale" style.

Posted by: kilby | September 24, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

CafeBeouf wrote: He would have a speech bubble coming out of his head.

Unless it was designed by Jack Elrod. Then it would be coming out of his butte.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | September 24, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

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