Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday morning toons: Either they didn't get the point, or they refused to get the point

First, I mourn the death of Leonard Nimoy, but you had to do something better than a "Live Long and Prosper" reference, or Spock giving the Vulcan hand-greeting to Saint Peter, to make the cut today.

And while I'm being an angry old man, I find it puzzling that artists like Mike Lester, Henry Payne, Chip Bok, and Steve Breen, who must rely on some (presumably not-insubstantial) part of their living from internet distribution and syndication, oppose the FCC's 3-2 party-line ruling this week protecting net neutrality. Can they really cut off their own noses to spite Obama's face (at least now that it's safe to do so)? Do they worry that their work will be less available now? As artists who depend on social media, you really have to hate All Things Obama a lot to do anything but take this quietly as a win and move along. I included the links just for irony's sake.

Still it sounds like good news that the FCC has ruled that the big internet-access companies can't charge you extra for top-speed access to p3. We're all pleased about that around here, since it's widely understood that fluctuations in our traffic could decide the corporate fate Comcast, Verizon, and Sprint.

Today's toons were selected from fake Bill O'Reilly dispatches covering 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 (tie): Chan Lowe, John Darkow, and Nick Anderson.

p3 Legion of Merit: Tim Eagan.

p3 World Toon Review: Terry Mosher (Canada), Ingrid Rice (also too Canada), Petar Pismestrovic (Austria), and Tjeerd Royaards (Netherlands).

Ann Telnaes presents the Giuliani Physical Test for Patriotism. Hint: It favors some parts of the body more than others.

Mark Fiore comes across with one of his best: America the Rudyful.

Tom Tomorrow says, Think fast! Or not at all, which is apparently an equally valid option.

Keith Knight looks at the trials of Boston.

Tom the Dancing Bug goes beyond a famous 1978 SNL/Steve Martin sketch (although apparently not famous enough to get milked for the SNL40 celebration a couple of weeks ago) to look at the tough life of a scientist back in the day.

Red Meat's Mister Wally savors the seaside.

The Comic Strip Curmudgeon celebrates a ridiculous Spider-Man denoument, but it also gets points for reminding me of a wonderfully silly three-part Mission: Impossible story from 1970 called "The Falcon," in which Nimoy, as Paris the Great (a magician/master of disguise who replaced Martin Landau's Rollin Hand on the IMF team), performed a magic cabinet stunt for a royal court that involved Paris wearing a latex mask of Noel Harrison's character, over which he wore another latex mask of himself. It was complicated, not least of all the part about understanding why the double-layered Paris didn't look like his head was the size of a basketball. And that is my Nimoy tribute for today.

Actually, no it's not. This is. Because this image always makes me laugh. Michael J. Fox once told Johnny Carson that he knew he'd "made it" when Mort Drucker drew his face.

Comic Strip of the Day explores deep, dark fears.

Chief, don't you think that's a dangerous mission? The first of seventeen Superman animated shorts from the 1940s didn't actually have a title, but it's known as "The Mad Scientist." Directed by Dave Fleischer in 1941, it featured Bud Collyer as Clark/Superman (he went on to voice the Man of Steel in the subsequent radio series all the way to the dreadful 1970s mess "Superfriends") and Joanne Alexander as Lois, plus Jack "Popeye" Mercer as the Mad Scientist and Jackson Beck as Perry White, plus musical direction by Sammy Timberg (listen for the following trombones mixed into the Superman theme as the Daily Planet building starts to topple and then is set right again!) – all uncredited. The beautiful rotoscope animation made the few moments of weird loopy trajectory of Lois Lane's plane stick out like a sore thumb, but the German expressionist/film noir coloring and framing worked so well you quickly forgot those minor snags. The look of the series of theatrical shorts, especially the first half-dozen or so, was heavily influential on Batman: The Animated Series a half-century later. I first saw "The Mad Scientist" – and discovered the existence of that series of classic Superman toons – as the tee-up to a campus screening of "Harold and Maude" in the late 1970s. It was a memorable evening. And it appears that there's no existing print of "The Mad Scientist" that doesn't have at least a little gap after Superman saves the Planet building but before the Electrothanasia Ray hits him.

The Big, And Getting Bigger Since We Bent the Rules and Welcomed Back The Departed, Oregon Toon Block:11

Ex-Oregonian Jack Ohman looks at the risks we run when the congressional Republicans shut down the Department of Homeland Security. I never thought DHS was a good idea, but if we're going to have it – and all the once-separate-but-important agencies now under its umbrella – let's at least fund the damned thing. The irony is that the Tea Party caucus in the House, who drove funding for DHS into the ditch simply to get back at Obama – are in some ways the heirs to the NeoCon 9-11 exploiters who spent more time over thirteen years ago developing the opportunistic backronym for the USA PATRIOT Act than they spent reading the bill before they voted on it.

Maybe or Maybe Not Ex-Oregonian Jen Sorensen looks at that flamey stuff that comes out of pundits' mouths.

Matt Bors wonders if there might be a pattern here.

Jesse Springer marks the end of the honeymoon..

Test your toon captioning kung fu 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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