Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I'm excited to announce a cool project I've been working on for a while: a cartoon search engine that allows you to locate Slowpoke strips using keywords. Right now the database contains most of my cartoons from the past five years or so, and some even older classics. It's still a work in progress -- I'm continuing to refine it -- and I invite you to try it out and let me know how it works for you. Have I overlooked some obvious keywords? Is something funny coming up in the results? Any and all suggestions will be helpful.
Slowpoke cartoon search
TPM's coverage of eccentric megaswindler Sir Allen Stanford provided the inspiration for this one, right down to the mustache on Mr. Perkins. Between touting his Antiguan knighthood and pretending to be related to the founder of Stanford University, Sir Allen is a hilarious douchenozzle of the first order. Although he probably isn't so funny to the people whose money he lost.
(UPDATE: Doh! I just saw in an old altweekly lying around my house that my colleague Ruben Bolling had a P.O.N.Z.I. acronym gag in a "Tom the Dancing Bug" cartoon from a few weeks ago. I hadn't seen it before I drew this, I swear.)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Because the Bush administration fubared the response to Hurricane Katrina, government can't do anything right.
Related cartoon: Government Haters
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Now that I've poked fun at people for discussing the Delonas chimp cartoon controversy ad nauseum, here's a giant blog post discussing it some more. A cartoon historian friend of mine weighs in:
I wish to attribute this controversy to an all too pervasive case of Ignorance.I think the distinction about who actually wrote the stimulus bill -- legislators, with the help of white economic advisers -- is worth noting. The other day, I heard Democracy Now assert as fact that the cartoon portrayed Obama as a chimp. There are ways to discuss why the cartoon is problematic without making such a sweeping claim.
That said, the president tends to be used as a symbol for policy, whether he is the literal author or not. I also see how people who were unfamiliar with the chimp mauling story could have easily misinterpreted the cartoon. As a rule, I don't cater to the lowest common denominator, but when you're dealing with such a charged image, you need to be extra-mindful of how your audience might perceive it. In this regard, the cartoon failed utterly.
(I'll admit that I did obsess over the New Yorker's Obamas-as-terrorists cover last year, but that was less out of anger than because I thought it raised interesting questions about context and satire.)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
how many pixels are being spilled over that Delonas chimp cartoon. As a professional cartoonist, I give you my expert opinion: Major-league hack drew a lame editorial cartoon combining two news stories, probably without racist intentions, but with a degree of tone-deafness that takes your breath away. Next controversy, please.
Kevin Moore has posted a nice comic about the whole matter.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What is the state of the peanut recall now? Any product made with nuts since Iran-Contra? I've lost track. But it's frightening to think of some backwater peanut plant run by negligent yahoos having so much power over our economy's snack sector. For more horrors of mega-industrialized food, I recommend reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
For the second panel, I was trying to think of the grossest things one could possibly find in a food processing factory. What sprang to mind was the time I was in a grocery store in Pennsylvania, and I thought to look at the ingredients on a tin of scrapple. And there I saw it: the word "SNOUTS." Snouts, I tell you! That's where they wind up! As you can see, that moment left an indelible impression on me. Seeing as fresh snouts are apparently perfectly edible, I made the snouts in my cartoon rotten and slick with Astroglide, as though employees had been engaging in some very strange kink right next to the conveyor belt.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
While I don't think print media is quite as doomed in the long run as many people are saying, I do find myself thinking about what I'd do if I needed a day job again. Trolling for prawns sounds pretty nice, in the abstract.
The pug panel was inspired by an article I read in the NYT a couple years ago about how pugs have been bred to such blocky proportions that they can no longer reproduce on their own. A description of the process nowadays:
Kolesar positioned her bitch, Birdie, on the floor. Woody sniffed rambunctiously and mounted. As the dog began his dedicated thrusting, the unlikelihood of him ever managing the transaction on his own was plain. And so, as planned all along, Jutta Beard crouched behind him and concluded things with an expeditious right hand. In an instant, she was holding up a plastic bag with a dime-size clump in its corner.No matter how bad things get, take heart in the fact that you aren't wanking off pugs.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel often blogs about nature, so I thought I would too. This Pileated Woodpecker has been hanging around my house all weekend. Actually, there are two of them, a male and a female. They're big birds, and very cool.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Stop reading these posts, you!
Do not read this post. I repeat, do not read this post.
Friday, February 06, 2009
I'm wryly enjoying watching the year 2009 play out exactly as I predicted in my "Year Ahead" comic.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Because, as I've said before: when you compromise with insanity, you're halfway to insanity.
If you absolutely must get your bipartisanship on, you might find some semblance of consensus-building between the various factions of the Democrats in Congress. But, as Paul Krugman wrote today in a blog post that ties in nicely with this cartoon, to try to reconcile basic economics with the alien worldview that informs the Republican Party is an exercise in foolishness.
My colleague Matt Bors has interviewed Kevin Allman, editor of the Gambit Weekly, on the current state of the altweekly industry, and how comics fit into that. Allman reiterates what I've heard from other editors -- namely, low page counts due to low ad revenue are creating a crunch for space. (Though I would pack that space with cartoons, of course!)
Also be sure to check out Kevin's magnificent takedown of the Huffington Post after it stole content from the Chicago Reader.
He also notes in the interview that his paper pays its freelance bloggers, as they produce "content with value." Likewise, C-VILLE Weekly actually paid me for my election blogging. Yet Arianna Huffington can't spare a dime.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Seeing as this cartoon from two weeks ago is now making the rounds on Reddit, I feel I should explain a couple things. Most people seem to get it, which makes me glad. But a few people are reacting in a simplistic way that I fully anticipated.
First, let me state that I am not anti-technology. I sent my first email in 1993, when the college kids who make up today's "free culture" movement were still playing with alphabet blocks. I even worked for several years at the Electronic Text Center of the University of Virginia Library, preparing old copyright-free texts for online publication.
I think some people are reading my cartoon as a condemnation of all internet commerce, which isn't really the case. Their perspective seems to be "People want stuff online, including me, so tough cookies. Adapt or die. Ha ha!" What really bugs me about this attitude is that it's completely devoid of empathy for the people for whom the internet poses very real financial problems. Journalists, writers, artists, musicians, printers, publishers, independent retailers... the list goes on. Yes, the future will be largely online. But you don't have to crow about it. I don't cackle over the woes of laid-off factory workers whose jobs have been shipped overseas.
The loss of local stores is also a loss of community, a very real loss of public space in an increasingly homogenized country. But I guess the aesthetics of physical reality don't matter so much for people who spend their lives playing World of Warcraft in their tighty-whities (no offense to my gamer readers, just trying to make a point).
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