Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The next Slowpoke book is now up on Amazon! I'm still tweaking the cover art, but this is pretty close to how it will look in the end.
I've never pre-ordered anything -- the concept always seemed a little strange to me -- but in fact, pre-orders are very important in determining how many copies Amazon orders. Early sales give me good mojo going forward. So, if you want to do a good deed, place your order today, and be assured of receiving the book as soon as it comes out in the spring. Consider it a present to your future self... and to me!
(There's also a small financial incentive -- you'll get 5% off whatever already-discounted price Amazon will be selling it at when it's released.)
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The "Terrorist Busters" logo that I mention in the cartoon has apparently existed for a few years, but it exploded across the blogosphere just last week. For a peek at the original, go here. It's still unclear to me whether this is an example of CIA "humor" or a semi-serious undertaking. In any event, the design is an object lesson in Things Not to Do With Photoshop. Also, the terrorist is just plain anatomically incorrect. Look at his left arm, the one not holding the gun. It appears to be tapering to a point (this is more pronounced in the original than in my rendition). Either he blew up his forearm making an IED, or somebody needs to take some life-drawing classes.
I'm not above making Ghostbusters references myself (see "Memebusters" cartoon from last year). But then, I'm a cartoonist, and the CIA is... well... the CIA. I guess it's nice to think that someone there has a sense of humor. Maybe the logo is intended as an ultra-ironic statement on War-on-Terror jingoism and bad Photoshopping. In that case, it would be very sophisticated.
I think ectoplasmic green is my new favorite color.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This strip began with the headless cow. I've been thinking lately that there needs to be a new kind of meat. Beef is full of cholesterol, E. coli, and possibly prions that will turn your brain into a sponge. Fish can contain mercury and PCBs, and other pollutants if it comes from places like China where it is often farmed in fetid water. As for pork, well, I'm ethically conflicted about eating something smarter than my dog. Actually, I am ethically conflicted about eating most animals, though I do eat some meat. My vegetarian readers would probably say these are just a few of many reasons to give it up entirely. But wouldn't it be nice if we could develop a new kind of meat that grew more like a vegetable? I would love to go running through fields of meatballs. Anyway, I decided to tie the cow into the larger topical framework of Nobel Prize losers, since, you know, they just named this year's winners.
As part of the scholarly research that goes into every cartoon, I looked up gummi bears on Wikipedia. Here is the official definition:
A Gummy bear is a small, rubbery-textured confectionery, roughly 1 centimeter long, shaped in the form of a bear.I couldn't have said it better myself. Though it seems 1 cm is a bit small for a gummi bear.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
In his blog yesterday, Paul Krugman linked to a highly entertaining article about Richard Mellon Scaife's acrimonious divorce. Billionaire Scaife has lavishly funded all kinds of wingnuttery -- read David Brock's Blinded By the Right for an understanding of his enormous influence. His current wife, "Ritchie," discovered that he'd been boffing a prostitute and all hell broke lose. My favorite part is this bit about Scaife abducting his estranged wife's dog:
The real fight, though, was not over the Shreve & Co. finger bowls. It was over the dog. Specifically, a yellow Labrador retriever named Beauregard, who Ritchie has told friends is a direct descendant of a pooch belonging to a king of England. Until March 2006, the animal was in Ritchie's hands, living with her and the Pietragallos. Then one day, Beauregard was scooped out of the Pietragallos' back yard and whisked around the corner, to Richard's house on Westminster.Now that's cold.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saw this new one the other day: "Saying there are too many children in the world is like saying there are too many flowers."
Hmm.I don't know that anyone is saying there are too many children, per se. I guess this is a statement dismissing concerns about overpopulation? Or maybe it's about abortion? Whatever the case, I think there is a slight difference between a hyperabundance of daisies and a species devouring a limited amount of resources at an unsustainable pace.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The cartoonist's-eye view, taken from my perch at SPX.
This was, by my count, my tenth Small Press Expo. I began going in 1997 and have gone every year since, except for 2001 when it was canceled due to 9/11. The show has grown a lot since those early days, and I daresay the crowd is a lot more diverse. It's nice to see comic book geekery knowing no racial or gender boundaries.
My sincere apologies to anyone who came looking for me on Friday afternoon and didn't find me (and I hear there were a few of you). My weekly cartoon deadline is Friday afternoon, and I was holed up in my friend Warren's house in Bethesda slaving away on the thing. I had fully intended to get it done ahead of time, but was not quite as successful this year as I was last year. In the past, Friday afternoons at SPX have tended to be pretty quiet, with most people showing up after work. Not so this time around, from what I gather.
Friday night I attended an event featuring Washington Post cartoonist Richard Thompson, creator of "Richard's Poor Almanac" and the newly-syndicated strip "Cul de Sac." Richard was apparently in the crowd at the Cartoonists With Attitude slideshow at Borders in July, unbeknownst to me. We were introduced, and he kindly lobbed a couple questions to me as I sat in the audience during his public interview. (One of them came as I was immersed in his portfolio, which was being passed around. I felt like the kid in the back of class caught reading comics instead of paying attention. Which in fact, I was.)
Saturday I was more responsible, and stayed at my table for much of the day (see photo above). As always, thanks to Warren and his cats, and Mike R. for schlepping me around.
Monday, October 15, 2007
This cartoon continues where "Least Effective Forms of Political Activism" left off. A couple weeks ago, I came across an eloquent and poignant blog post written by a veteran of Iraq. Impressed, I checked the person's bio, where she referred to herself somewhat jokingly as a "commie" and a "feminazi." While I understand the impulse to refer to oneself ironically using the invectives of Limbaugh & co., I couldn't help but find myself a little saddened. Because when you use these words to describe yourself, even jokingly, you're still letting the bastards define you.
There are exceptions, I suppose. Somehow the "¡Ask a Mexican!" column is done with enough sophistication and humor that I think it actually tears apart the stereotypes. (It also works because its readership, people who pick up alternative newsweeklies, tend to be a fairly educated bunch who get what he's trying to do.)
But most of the time, the effort to reclaim regressive epithets fails as a political strategy. I've said this before, but among the worst is "tree hugger." Not wanting industrial waste in my bloodstream has little to do with the quasi-spiritual groping of conifers, yet that is how those of us concerned about the environment have been branded. I mean, I like trees as much as anyone -- I'm sitting underneath a lovely dogwood right now as I type this -- but the term "tree hugger" is loaded with connotations of hippie-dippy emotional hysteria. (See "Kneejerkin'" cartoon for an example of how people oppose pollution but reject the environmentalist identity.) Using it playfully/ironically to reclaim it from the anti-science crowd may make us chuckle, but it's not the way to build a movement.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
As we approach Halloween, we're going to see plenty of oh-so-original editorial cartoons featuring Hillary as a witch. You can take that one to the bank.
I'm not a big Hillary fan -- I think she's inconsistent and panders too much -- but it would be nice if we could move beyond the wicked witch stereotype for female politicians. I remember seeing one of Pelosi after the manufactured plane controversy. Makes me wonder what sort of powerful woman would not be drawn as a witch.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
In case you haven't seen the announcement on the front page of this website, I'll be at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda this Friday and Saturday. I'll probably be bouncing back and forth between the Cartoonists With Attitude table and Alternative Comics table. If you're in the area, please come by and say hi. More info
Also, on Thursday the 11th, I'll be presenting cartoons at the Bethesda Barnes & Noble along with several other CWA members, including Ted Rall and Keith Knight. Underground cartoonist Kim Deitch will be there as well. Show starts at 7:30pm; the store is at 4801 Bethesda Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814.
GOP pointmen like the odious David Brooks spend a lot of time trying to paint mainstream progressives as out-of-touch, ivory tower elites. But if anything, that distinction goes to the so-called "neocon intellectuals" like Norman Podhoretz, the inspiration for Dr. Plonk. Podhoretz and his ilk are at the epicenter of the country's disastrous foreign policy of the past several years. In a May Wall Street Journal editorial, he says he prays with all his heart that we will bomb Iran, making the usual facile comparisons to World War II. He lionizes Bush as "a man who knows evil when he sees it" (snort) and who has been "battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other [president] in living memory." Well. I'm not too keen on Iran getting nukes myself, but the neocons' insistence on bombing our way out of every problem has been amply demonstrated to be a bit, oh, unrealistic. And really, even Podhoretz should know this administration is certainly not the one to entrust with another military campaign.
Other tidbits about this cartoon: after making up the name "Plonk," I found out that it's an old geek term for blocking the posts of annoying users on usenet. "Plonking" someone involves adding them to your kill file. Perfect, huh?
And speaking of stopped-up toilets, "Big Fat Whale" cartoonist Brian McFadden recently did a fine strip employing them as a different metaphor of sorts.
From Paul's latest column:
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
In response to the Republican-initiated Congressional resolutions condemning the MoveOn ad about Petraeus, some House Dems have drafted a resolution condemning Rush Limbaugh's dismissal of troops opposing the Iraq war as "phony soldiers." But unlike the Dems who caved on the MoveOn issue, the Repubs are unified in support of Rush. Says Jack Kingston (R-GA):
“He is a talk show host. He has a right to speak out and say what he thinks.”Of course! And grassroots political organizations like MoveOn don't. It all makes sense now.
If only Bush supporters applied this open-mindedness to political cartoons they don't like.
Mr. Kingston is preparing a resolution praising Limbaugh if the Dems move forward with their resolution.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
On a whim I decided to Google "Zonad" after posting this week's cartoon, only to find out there is an obscure Irish film by that title. Apparently it's about an escaped convict who tries to convince people he's an alien. The director has just started reshooting the film, so Zonad could be a household word before long. In Ireland, anyway. You heard it here first!
(As regular readers of this blog know, I visited Ireland just a few weeks ago, but did not encounter any mention of Zonad. That gag has actually been sitting in the notebook for several months.)
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