Thursday, January 31, 2008

Didn't Samsonite used to have a gorilla?

Editorial cartoon for the January 31 Mapleton PRESS

Whew! This took a while. The stupid Clintons constantly attacking Obama was too easy, like shooting fish in a barrel- everybody's doing it. I thought about a roller-coaster for the stock market, but I've seen a lot of people do that one too. So then I got to thinking about a conversation with a very dear "moderate" (recovering-Republican) friend the other day. He hates Bush and likes Obama best, but figures that any of the Republican candidates will do better than Bush did and fears that Hillary is a dangerous power-hungry freak. Granted, he's probably right, but I still have a tuck load of reasons not to vote for any kind of elephant. Thus, this cartoon.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Big Plans

For the January 24, 2008 Mapleton PRESS;
I was going for that hand-rubbing thing that mad scientists and melo-drama villians do when talking about their plans just before they throw their heads back and lauch maniacally. I even hunched him over some so that his posture would be more like that of Snively Whiplash from the old Dudley Dooright cartoons on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Des Moines

Here's is my cartoon for the January 17, 2008 Mapleton PRESS. This is my original color one that I saved for the web.
And here is the version I FIXED and sent to the PRESS, notice that I changed the singular "legislator" to the plural "legislature" I thought it worked better to blame EVERYBODY than to single out some hypothetical individual.

I don't do state issues very often and never really deal with local stuff. I just thought it was stereotypical of politicians to be too afraid to do anything that could possibly be perceived as raising taxes, even when it would be the right thing to do.

Two issues that only a cartoonist would care about; One is that many of my students don't get my cartoons. I've had a 20-something friend suggest that I try some social or human condition themes once in awhile rather than just politics. That's discouraging, but what can I do? THIS is what my passion is, this is who I am, what provokes me? Maybe this is not a specific, acute problem for me. Maybe this is why political cartooning is a dying art- because so few people "get" them, and even fewer are even interested. It makes me blue. Boo hoo. Can I have some cheese with this whine?

The other is technical. Prominent cartoonists and editors frown on cartoonists who collage like this instead of drawing. I see their point and I'll readily admit that there are times that it's lazy but I think that when it's done right, it can work great. I like this one. I also like the one I did last year where I portrayed Fatah and Hamas as Godzilla vs. King Kong. Done well, it pays homage to the Dada movement of the 1920's when some fantastic and provocative art and "anti-art" was made. Berke Brethed has tucked in bits of pop culture and political imagery into his daily strips, Bloom County and Opus for decades. Of course, in the time I've taken to defend my methodology this week, I probably could've drawn the state capital building by hand. Whatever. I'm especially proud of my inclusion of Edvard Munch's "The Scream." Of course, it is a hopelessly over used icon from art history, so that just makes me more lazy and pathetic, doesn't it? Sigh. I never claimed to be Thomas Nast, just a average, middle aged guy in the middle of the middle-west who's trying to revive a dream of his youth.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Talk about obscure websites! Check out

The Religious Affiliation of
Comic Book Characters

I couldn't believe this is an actual website. It's pretty entertaining. By the way, there are very few Lutheran superheroes. Probably because Lutherans tend to be self-effacing and work behind the scenes. We're introverts personally and Christo-centric theologically. The few Lutheran superheros that there are, are definitely second or third tier, definitely B-list as they say in Hollywood. I thought for sure that Thor would be, being Norse and all that, but then I remembered that he's a god himself, so that wouldn't work.

Some Top Super-Heroes
Episcopalian/Catholic (lapsed)
Wonder Woman
Greco-Roman Classical Religion
Greco-Roman Classical Religion
The Hulk
Catholic (lapsed)
Captain America
Invisible Woman
Egyptian classical religion
The Thing
The Atom
Jewish (lapsed)
Dianic Wiccan
Greek Orthodox

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Still running

So here it was, January 3- Caucus Day, but EVERY Thursday is deadline day so I HAD to email SOMETHING in. Who knows at 2:30 in the afternoon what will be decided at 9 at night? I have a feeling that Edwards and McCain will surprise everyone, but I threw Obama in front just because he tall. Notice Mike Bloomberg lurking over his shoulder!

(Well, whddyaknow? I got lucky when I put Obama front and center! Lucky pick)

This was a lot of work, drawing all these caricatures. I think that I did the worst job on Mitt Romney because he's so dang bland. Here is a legend to help you tell who's who, in case you're not a political junkie like me, or in case my caricatures are so bad that you can't recognize them.

2008 presidential candidates;
  1. Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY, Democrat)
  2. Sen. John McCain (AZ, Republican)
  3. Former Sen. John Edwards (SC, D)
  4. Sen. Barack Obama (Il, D)
  5. Mayor Michael Bloomberg (NY, Independent)
  6. Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR, R)
  7. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (MA, R)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Straight Talk Depressed

Maybe the Arizona state flag was a bad idea. I think that Barry Goldwater would be very disappointed by his successor if he were still around. How can a former POW who's opposed to torture, be so pro-war? Perpetual American presence in Iraq? Indefinite incarceration in Guantanamo? Once a time he ran against Bush and was the Maverick of the GOP, today he's been seen hugging the W and he's considered the most traditional Republican of all the Republicans. Give it up, Johnny. If Huck doesn't beat you in New Hampshire, whoever the Dem is will in November.

Queen of Diamonds? Or just third place.

She's always been difficult for me to draw. I suppose some cartoonist are afraid of being accused of racism if they lampoon Obama. Maybe I have a fear of being sexist if I draw her too old or too mean or too phony. She's a fairly attractive woman, I imagine she's very capable of being as bitchy as she wants to be and I guess I may be naive, but I think she's more sincere than the media gives her credit for. Anyway, I was proud of myself that I did as well as I did.

Front-runner caricature; Huck

Does he look more like a guitar-playing rocker? A recovering food-a-holic health nut? A Southern Baptist Pastor? A Southern Governor? A rising star and possibly a bridge burner between the major factions of his party? The dad of dog killing, porn luvin, gun toting good ol boys? Or just a good old fashioned Chuck Norris fan?

Answer; All of the above.

Just a caricature

I don't know. Maybe I'm too critical of myself, maybe I'm corrupted by the fact that I kinda like the guy, but I think this is pretty mild. It's not funny enough or exaggerated enough to be funny or great satire... but it's also not detailed enough or subtle enough to be serious as portraiture or illustration. Just kind of okay.

For Jan 3 Mapleton PRESS

If you don't recognize the Midwestern ICON that I ripped off this week, you must NOT be a redneck. If you do, then you might be interested in the story of one of the most widely reproduced posters of all time- then click here to find out all about it.

All I know is that I wanted something or someone that represented Iowa, the same way that Uncle Sam is supposed to represent the U.S. or the donkey and elephant represent each political party. I couldn't exactly use a Hawkeye or a cyclone and I wanted to honor my adopted state, not berate or belittle them... finally it came to me in one of those "Eureka!" moments. They might have actually been twins in California's central valley in 1978, but we in Iowa feel that they're really a John Deere boy and an International Harvester boy and they're both timeless- they could've been from1846 or today. And I hope that's they way they always will be.