Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday morning toons: Finding elbow room in the Big Arena of Political Self-Mutilation

Have to hand it to Newt Gingrich: In a week when Sarah Palin rewrote both American History and a classic Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, and Anthony Weiner had to enter rehab to save his political career after using Twitter to send pictures of his junk (makes you wonder what kind of rehab that's going to be, doesn't it?), it's hard to imagine how anybody else could elbow their way out into the Big Arena of Political Self-Mutilation.

But Newt managed. Of course, he had help from his staff.

Today's selections were retrieved from the dumpster behind the Gingrich 2012 headquarters (currently for rent), and come from the cartoon pages at Slate, Time, Mario Piperni,, and Daryl Cagle:

p3 Picks of the Week: Mike Luckovich, Pat Bagley, Mike Keefe, John Darkow, Michael Ramirez, Steve Sack, Rob Rogers, Nick Anderson, Tom Toles, Steve Breen, and Monte Wolverton.

p3 Best in Show: Chad Lowe.

p3 Award for Most Peculiar Father's Day Message: David Fitzsimmons.

p3 Award for Articulating the Popular Rage: Joel Pett.

p3 Commendation for Being Nicer to Them Than They Deserved: Michael Ramirez.

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Cam Cardow (Canada), Evans (New Zealand), and Petar Pismestrovic (Austria).

Ann Telnaes commemorates Sarah Palin's ride.

Mark Fiore presents Dogboy and Mr. Dan, as they explain the importance of not raising the federal debt ceiling -- or something like that.

Taiwan's Next Media Animation examines the all-important question: What does Weinergate mean for "30 Rock?"

Not just in Mad Magazine! Iconic artist Jack Davis was also all over a couple of generations of TV Guide covers.

Mixed feelings about this: Mel Blanc, the legendary talent known as "The Man of a Thousand Voices," will be returning -- sort of -- to the big screen in two new animated shorts from Warner Bros. The shorts, "Daffy's Rhapsody" and "I Tawt I Taw a Putty Tat," will use material that Blanc recorded half a century ago. No detailed word on what Blanc materials will be used, or how. I worry that it may end up being a triumph of gimmickery (recycling Blanc and 3D animation) over good story and art. Croth your fingerth.

Tom Tomorrow celebrates those staunch defenders of our most fundamental constitutional liberties and protections, the Democrats. Actually, for me, this one is too near the truth to be very funny.

The K Chronicles notes another nail in the coffin of irony.

Tom the Dancing Bug thinks somebody owes Longfellow an apology.

Comic Riffs reviews three of the biggest Weinergate toons from the week.

Red Meat marks Father's Day with a touching moment of bonding between Ted Johnson and son.

The Comic Curmudgeon may have spotted a "Hagar the Horrible" first!

Portland homeboy Jack Ohman brings you the compressed history of the United States.

Guest animation Claude Cat was one of Warner Bros' B-list stars. First appearing in 1943, he was paired with other B-listers, though never with one of the big guns like Daffy or Porky. Several of his stories are good, but this is my favorite: "Two's a Crowd," directed by Chuck Jones in 1950, story by Michael Maltese, voices by Mel Blanc (not sure who does the wife's voice), and music by pun-loving Carl Stalling. (When the puppy bites Claude on the nose the first time, the music is "Laugh, Clown, Laugh;" when Claude wafts out of the washing machine, it's "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles;" when the puppy's eating out of Claude's bowl, it's "Mama's Little Baby Loves Short'nin' Bread.") Although this is still early enough that the animation quality would support broad physical gags, Jones was already perfecting the twanging-whisker/dilated-pupil reaction that would work so well with Wile E. Coyote (and later, The Grinch and Max). The ceiling gag never gets old for me. Ever.

(Note to Facebook friends: If you're reading this in FB Notes, you'll need to click View Original Post, below, to see the video.)

p3 Bonus Toon: Jesse Springer looks behind the scenes at Oregon graduation ceremonies.

Test your toon-captioning skills at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.)

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