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Posted at 9:05 AM ET, 10/ 8/2009

Riffs' Picks: From Genesis to an Editor's Exodus, Today's Fave Five Cartoons

By Michael Cavna

From holier-than-thou editors to R. Crumb's adventures in Eden, today's Fave Five cartoons culled from across the mighty mighty Web...

5. THE FIRST SWINE OF DEFENSE: As is so often its wont, today's "PEARL BEFORE SWINE" provides one of our heartiest laffs of the a.m. And if this particular strip is soon hanging on every other writer's wall in the land, that is a just and worthy reward. Ahh, those ol' "hard-headed editors": Can't live with 'em, can't bury 'em beneath the newly pitched office furniture behind Conde Nast.

4. A PAIN IN THE GAS: As Comic Riffs chatted up this strip with the Wise Copy Editor who oversees Post comics production, the conclusion about this "PICKLES" strip (once it was approved by highers-up) was swift: Were the words "gas hole" popping up in an edgier, more acidic strip (hel-LO, "Prickly City"), this salty pun would never see the light of Post newsprint. Somehow, though, in the fuzzier context of Nelson and his grandfolk, it all seems about as tee-hee "naughty" as a roadside-repair scene in "A Christmas Story." ("Only I didn't say 'fudge.' ")

3. THE BIG SHLEBOWSKI: We here at Comic Riffs are hardly accustomed to contemporary pop-culture reference in our "MUTTS" bowl. As with the aforementioned "Pickles" strip, half the small joy of surprise today is all about contextual location, location, location. Who knew Earl and Mooch were such Coen Brothers fans? (And who knows just what tomorrow might bring: Bowling shoes? A Preston Sturges tribute? A woodchipper? Who knows, now that the proverbial Mooch is out of the bag.)

2. HOW TO COMPUTE A HAIRDO'S VOLUME? TRY FORMULA 500: Some days, Comic Riffs is a shameless hussy for a quirky turn of phrase. Today, we give it up for Wednesday's "NEW ADVENTURES OF QUEEN VICTORIA." Or more precisely, the last-panel line: "Your hair smells like algebra." Note to Pab Sungenis: As soon as you get that printed on a hefty "T," we'll take a coupla "XL's," if you please. (And if we pay my credit, will you throw in a copy of that new book, "Suffragettes Gone Wild!" coming out Nov. 10? Like that -- see? -- how we wove in a shameless plug?)

ANNNND No. 1 on our comical list....

1. SLOUCHING TOWARD EDEN: 'Riffs has long been intrigued by what just might be The Graphic Novel Event of the Year. I've actually lain eyes upon R. Crumb's long-discussed, much-awaited first graphic novel, "The Book of Genesis Illustrated." I have not seen enough, however, to endorse the venture yet. At this point, I'm still deeply intrigued by the collision of Genesis's sacred tone (which the cartoonist quotes verbatim, sans satiric tweaks) and Crumb's fleshy beings in all their thick-lined, cross-hatched earthiness. Then again, in Crumb's-eye view, Adam could never be anything but the ultimate and original Mr. Natural.

Comic Riffs is curious what you think. Here's a look at the beginning (as it were) of his book (as adapted from His book):


By Michael Cavna  | October 8, 2009; 9:05 AM ET
Categories:  The Comic Strip, The Graphic Novel, The Morning Line, The Webcomic  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Color Me Curious: Where Should 'Cul de Sac' Reside on Sundays?
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I'm already sending you a book, Michael, because I have a quote from you on the back cover:

Posted by: PabSungenis | October 8, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I've read before (for instance, in the Wikipedia entry on "Mutts") that Mooch likes to quote from "The Big Lebowski", but this is the first time I've actually seen him wearing the bathrobe. McDonnell must have liked the movie. I did not, so there's no way I would know that it's supposed to be a movie quote unless Mooch actually WAS wearing the bathrobe.

Posted by: kilby | October 8, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the Youtube clip. It's interesting to see what Crumb does strictly as an illustrator, without tampering with the story. While it's not exactly William Blake, it is pretty well-done Crumb, and I look forward to seeing his treatment of Noah and the ark, for instance. Do you suppose he might take on "Revelation" for an encore?

Posted by: seismic-2 | October 8, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The Crumb work: A cross between Sunday School art and the hippy "free art" from the 60s. Doesn't work. It is, in fact, boring.

Posted by: lindaandeilenah | October 8, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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