Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday morning toons: Looks like they picked the wrong week to be a kid on an armed border

Update: Oliphant link is fixed. (No way to treat a p3 Best of Show!)

But then, I suppose there are never any good weeks for that, are there?

Also, it was a bad week to be traveling by air. But on the up side, looks like the House Republican plan to further avoid doing their jobs by suing Obama for his dictatorial behavior will have to wait until after everyone goes on vacation because, you know, priorities. Also, for conservatives, the long game of packing the federal courts with conservative judges, begun in earnest during the Reagan years, was bearing fruit in the DC Court this week.

I have to say, I wasn't really looking forward to the Disney re-launch of the Star Wars franchise next year anyway, and if I have to contend with the drip, drip, drip of leaked stories and production shots – Look! You can see the back of Mark Hamill's head, right there! – on a regular basis between now and December, 2015, I'm going to be even less interested. "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," and "Avengers: Age of Ultron," I'm look at you, too. (Look! Here's a moodily-lit photo of part of Batman's costume!). The comic-book blockbuster films are doing that a lot right now too, because of ComicCon 2014, an event from which the studios are generally sucking most of the oxygen. I think Comic Strip of the Day nicely captured my own feelings about CC: It would be nice to be able to say I'd been to one, but it's no longer the kind of thing I'd want to go anywhere near. And at least there's the fun of The Onion providing the definitive take on the steady, measured, and cynical leaking of crumb after crumb of behind-the-scenes manufactured "news" on upcoming blockbusters of inevitability.

Today's toons were selected in a very hands-on process by director Michael Bay from the week's offerings at McClatchy DC, Cartoon Movement, Go Comics, Politico's Cartoon Gallery, Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoons,, and other fine sources of toony goodness.

p3 Best of Show: PatOliphant.

p3 Legion of Merit Award: Marshall Ramsey.

p3 Certificate of Harmonic Toon Convergence: Scott Stantis, John Darkow, and Mike Lester.

p3 Aviator Wings: Mike Luckovich.

p3 "One Is a Tragedy, But 57,000 Is a Statistic" Medal: Joel Pett.

p3 World Toon Review: Patrick Chappatte (Switzerland), Paresh Nath (India), and Petar Pismestrovic (Austria).

Ann Telnaes hears the jingle of spurs somewhere near the Texas/Mexico border. Do not forsake me, oh my darling!

Mark Fiore wonders: If the glasses didn't make him any smarter, will deploying the National Guard make him any tougher?

Tom Tomorrow finds that outrage is a delicately balanced thing.

Keith Knight reviews Great Chokes in New York History.

Tom the Dancing Bug brings the return of Super-Fun-Pak Comix, including the further adventures of Percival Dunwoody, Idiot Time Traveler from 1909.

It's Red Meat's Karen and Milkman Dan as you've never seen them before!

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon has both a Moral and a Motto. Not bad.

Comic Strip of the Day considers, among several other things, the problem of dog-years.

He's my super-duper dream man! Yesterday, Portland's Northwest Film Center screened all 17 of the classic 1940s theatrical Superman shorts. Nine of these (generally the better ones, I think) were done by Fleischer Studios before they were bought out by Famous Studios, where the remaining eight were done (albeit with mostly the same artists). As a tribute to NWFC bringing these beautiful works back to the big screen, if only for a day, here's "She-Sick Sailors," in which Bluto impersonates the Man of Steel (although, as you'll see, the "S" on his costume inexplicably disappears early on) in order to cut Popeye out of the running with fan-girl Olive. Directed in 1944 by Seymour Kneitel from a story by Bill Turner and Otto Messmer, "She-Sick Sailors" covers some familiar ground – when will Olive learn to make sure all her windows and doors are closed before she has an argument with Popeye? But it also has a couple of moments that struck your humble narrator as pretty damned dark when he was a kid. Uncredited voice work: Jack Mercer as Popeye, Jackson Beck as Bluto, and Mae Questel as The Slender One. Sammy Timberg, uncredited musical director, worked in a couple of bars of the Superman theme (which he also composed) when the comic book Superman rescues the train, and again, briefly, when Bluto delivers the "Superman to the rescue" line. Timberg also plugs in a musical cue I have never understood: After Popeye has been shot point-blank with a tommy gun (spoiler!), we hear a bit of Chopin's "Funeral March," followed by . . . a few measures of "Love in Bloom," a 1934 ballad mainly associated with Bing Crosby (another Paramount star) or Jack Benny, but certainly not with one-sided shoot-outs. What's it doing here? It's a puzzle.

Update: When I listened to the soundtrack again last night (here at p3, we do it all for you, dear readers) I noticed for the first time five notes – right before Popeye's line "Hey! You ain't proved nothin' yet!" – that could be the beginning of "Love in Bloom," meaning its first appearance is as the love theme of Olive and "Superman," and the second an ironic joke on Olive, since "Superman" has become less dreamy and Popeye narrowly missed being massacred despite Olive's change of heart. Hm.

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Cheated and Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman considers the limitations of the "black box" – or in this case, the yellow one.

Possibly Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen has good news for nation-states with territorial problems: Help is just a free phone call away!

Matt Bors reveals what can happen when closely-held corporations begin to dabble.

Will Jesse Springer ever find contentment with Oregon's healthcare delivery system? The odds don't look very good.

Test your toon captioning superpowers at The New Yorker's weekly caption-the-cartoon contest. (Rules here.) And you can browse The New Yorker's cartoon gallery here.

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