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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 02/14/2011

CUPID'S NIB: Our 10 Eye-Catching Valentine's Cartoons of the Day

By Michael Cavna

From bitter to the sweet, sometimes it takes the skewed but humane eye of a cartoonist to put an occasion like Valentine's Day into properly humorous view.

Be it snarky V-Day some e-cards or today's home-page Google Doodle tribute to Robert Indiana's Pop Art, some humorists and artists celebrate the holiday with a visual flair. And Comic Riffs is also now hosting the Nick Galifianakis Cartoon Caption Contest, in which readers can enter their caption for V-Day art from the syndicated Carolyn Hax column illustrator.

Now, from the Otterloops to Charlie Brown, here are 10(ish) of the most eye-catching Valentine's Cartoons of the Day:

valculdesac.JPG (image: courtesy of Richard Thompson / Universal Uclick)

1. As Richard Thompson notes on his blog, his strip "Cul de Sac" was born seven years ago today in The Washington Post Magazine, with this sketch of little pseudo-Alice hoisting a valentine. Writes Thompson:

"This proto-Alice is a little weirder looking than the more recent model. But I like the sketch a lot, and I wish I could draw the strips so loosely. Drawing things in little boxes cramps looseness and forces the lines to behave and stay in place."

Happy seventh birthday, Cul de Sac.


2. Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott offer their swell take from the harried land of multi-child domesticity.


3. Courtesy of The Post's humor columnist and his son, today's strip is best described as ur-Weingarten.


4. Today's "Bizarro" is not labeled as explicitly a V-Day cartoon, Comic Riffs, in fact, would be a mite disappointed in Dan Piraro if he did -- we prefer to have love's skewering served just the way he dishes it.


5. Ahh, love in full Bloom. Frequent New Yorker cover artist Barry Blitt rendered judgment with this self-adoring portrait of Michael Bloomberg, for an issue that hit newstands earlier this month. Bloomberg's reported response to this cover was: " "I like what I see in the mirror, and I hope everybody here does."

As for the artist, Blitt said he mulled making Sarah Palin or Wikileaks's Julian Assange the apple of their own eye for this illustration -- but that Bloomberg emerged as the best candidate.

valfitz.jpg (Image: courtesy of Cagle Cartoons)

6. A rose by any other name would iSmell as sweet.


7. Not unlike our reliance on "Bizarro" snark, we would similarly feel forsaken if the satirists at Taiwan-based Next Media Animation didn't puncture Cupid's heart with a real-life tale of stalker-y "love."


8. Earl and Opal remind us so much of some of our relatives, we smile with the acknowledgment of comfortable, truthful familiarity. Bra-vo, Brian Crane.


9. Canadian comic-book artist/writer Ty Templeton, on his blog today, recalls his first paid Spider-Man art gig: Fifteen years ago, he was drawing Spidey valentines with such messages as "Stick With Me!" and "You Make My Spider-Sense Tingle!" (He also recalls quarreling with his artist wife over their coloring.) Templeton also points to this art for an Amazing Spider-Man cover from 2009 -- in which Mary Jane Watson is in the picture of Spidey's life.


10. And speaking of strawberry-haired girls: What would Valentine's be without helping Charlie Brown wallow in his unrequited love for the Little Red-Haired Girl, whom Chuck first fell for a half-century ago this year, when he uttered the words: ""I'd sure like to eat lunch with that little red-haired girl ... ." Creator Charles "Sparky" Schulz's real-life inspiration for the LRHG was Donna Johnson, who actually dated the cartoonist for years but who spurned his marriage proposal and wed another man.

According to biographer Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Sparky said of this relationship:
"I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is."

Even though "Peanuts" is now in "Classics" reruns forever, we keep hoping -- with all the die-hard optimism of Chuck himself -- that the final-panel ending, someday, will change.

Happy Valentine's Day, Charlie Brown.

By Michael Cavna  | February 14, 2011; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  General, Superheroes, The Animation, The Political Cartoon  | Tags:  Baby Blues, Barney & Clyde, Bizarro, Cul de Sac, David Fitzsimmons, Next Media Animation, Peanuts, Pickles, Spider-Man, Ty Templeton  
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