Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday morning toons: Civil War in Cartoonistan

Our rule for the day: Start a war with political cartoonists at your peril.

Other rules:

If you're famous for not reading (clemency petitions, National Intelligence Estimates, that sort of thing), or for reading at the first-grade level (The Pet Goat, that sort of thing), don't expect everyone to be impressed that you've opened a library.

Never get between a member of Congress and the plane that will take them back to their district to explain why they won't restore sequestered funds to Head Start, Meals on Wheels, etc.

Today's toons were selected from the material that was too deep for the Bush Library,  from among the week's pages at Cartoon Movement, GoComics,, Time,, Daryl Cagle, and other fine sources.

p3 Picks of the Week: Mike Luckovich, Jack Ohman, John Cole, Joe Heller, Mike Smith, Adam Zyglis, Dave Granlund, J. D. Crowe, Matt Wuerker, Jen Sorenson, and Monte Wolverton.

p3 Best of Show: Lee Judge.

p3 Legion of Merit: Pat Bagley.

p3 Distinguished Flying Cross: Chris Weyant.

p3 World Toon Review: Sherif Arafa (Egypt), and Cam Cardow (Canada).

The Bush Legacy, Part 1: Walt Handlesman, Bill Day, Chris Weyant, Jim Morin, Joel Pett, Nick Anderson, Mike Luckovich, Pat Bagley, John Cole, and John Darkow salute the opening of the George W. Bush Library and Petting Zoo.

The Bush Legacy, Part 2: How bad do things look for the erstwhile political dynasty? Ann Telnaes detects friendly fire.

Mark Fiore hints that some of our current problems may go back a long, long time. (Maybe even longer than six thousand years?)

Taiwan's Next Media Animation tells the sad story of the cartoon love that dare not speak its name.

Several p3 regulars' works appear in Cartoonists Demand Action to End Gun Violence calling on Congress to show some spine. But the best part? Narrated by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julianne Moore. Could this be the signal that “Boogie Nights II” is getting the green light?

Around here, we usually just call it “harmonic toon convergence,” write it off to the pressures of deadline work, and move along. But last week Ted Rall, who is well on his way to becoming the Abe Simpson of the cartooning world, shouting angrily at every cloud that passes, went off on how derivative and uncreative he found the general run of political cartoons responding to the Boston Marathon bombing. In his defense, he admits it's a “rant.” The replies in the comments section are priceless; most are by Ralls' colleagues, delighted to wear his scorn as a badge of honor and gleefully comparing notes on who seems to have offended Rall the most often or the most deeply.

And speaking of civil war within Cartoonistan: Daryl Cagle, a p3 mainstay almost from the beginning of the p3 Sunday toon round up, is in the soup up to his lower lip, and I can't say I feel a lot of sympathy:
[Cagle published] two cartoons from this week [which] address whether the surviving Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, should be read his Miranda rights. On Sunday, Cagle’s viewpoint expressed in the cartoon was that Tsarnaev — like the suspects in the 2012 Aurora theater and 2011 Tucson-area supermarket shootings — did not deserve to be read the rights. By Monday, Cagle published the same visual, but with the caption changed to express that “All of them” deserved to be read their rights.
Seriously. Follow the link; they're the exact same cartoon, with the punchline text changed. And that triggered what Mike Cavna of the Washington Post diplomatically called a “kerfluffel.” Cagle's explanation? “I changed my mind.” You may experience no surprise in learning that Tom Toles went after Cagle, improbably calling him “The Osama bin Laden of cartooning.” p3 regular Ann Telnaes wrote on her site:
This is a clear case of a cartoon syndicate trying to maximize profits by offering the same artwork but changing a few words to address both ideological sides of an issue. An editorial cartoon is supposed to have a clear point of view. Let me repeat that: an editorial cartoon is supposed to have a clear point of view; it should reflect the opinion of the creator. Otherwise, it’s not an editorial cartoon but just a cartoon. Distributing this kind of work demeans and devalues the profession.
But the final word goes to Oregon expatriate Jack Ohman:
I'm sure Daryl now wishes he had just remained silent.

Anything he says and does can be held against him.

And speaking of Jack Ohman, last week he made a new pen-pal, if not necessarily a new pal. Judge him by the people who are pissed at him, that's what I say.

And just to calm things down a little, here's good news: Scott Stantis, Pat Bagley, and Steve Breen known p3 associates all – have been cleaning up at the awards.

Tom Tomorrow examines This Week in #Fail (including a special Pre-Emptive Bonus #Fail!).

Keith Knight draws a disturbing parallel.

Tom the Dancing Bug has a really great thought: One Day at the Offices of Nerrex Arms, Inc.

Red Meat's Ted Johnson has a disturbing problem – and is he smiling in the third panel, or not? The difference is potentially alarming.

The Comics Curmudgeon explores a terrible literary irony: a guy named “Hi” who's “soul-dead.”

Is there a tomato can in the house? If this 1943 wartime Popeye had been called “The Pet Goat,” instead of “The Hungry Goat,” it would have fit in perfectly with our Bush-heavy theme this week, but it would have made no sense in a wartime story about scrap metal drives. Directed by Dan Gordon, with story by Carl Meyer, animation by Joe Oriolo and John Walworth. Uncredited: musical director Sammy Timberg and voice actors Jack Mercer as Popeye, the Admiral, and the kid, and Arnold Stang (who would reappear the same year as Popeye's pal Shorty) as the titular Capra hircus.

If your browser won't display the embedded version, click here.

“The Hungry Goat” is reminiscent of another, much better-known cartoon from the same year, Bugs Bunny's “Falling Hare.” Both involve planes and bombs, and both involve a nonhuman antagonist (Bugs' tormentor was a gremlin) who gets the best of the hero, which never happens otherwise. And both resolve the story by breaking the fourth wall. Just thought I'd point that out.

The p3 Big Oregon Toon Block:

Matt Bors pays tribute to America's can-do spirit.

Jesse Springer A Very Special Oregon Fairly Tale:

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

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