Archive for the ‘Cartooning’ Category

’Wave bye-bye, you filthy meat-things

November 2, 2020

Herb-E doesn’t understand the democratic process.
Come to think of it, neither do many of the filthy meat-things.

As long as we’re on the topic of cartoons, and with a jaundiced eye toward lightening our mood going into Election Day, here’s the latest “Shop Talk” strip from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

For this one I retitled the strip “E-Shop Talk,” and cast Herb-E in the starring role.

Herb-E is the shop’s e-mechanic, in all senses of the word. He’s a bot who works on other bots. And he is decidedly not our friend.

He and all the other e-devices the industry is pushing on us are biding their time, plotting the Rise of the Machines, turning the occasional burglar into lubricants for practice, and awaiting the glorious day when they will no longer require the services of “the filthy meat-things.”

Herb-E is cousin to ev-Rider (below), a short-lived and equally homicidal e-project from 2016, intended to continue “the natural evolution” of battery-powered bicycling by selling robot cyclists to the sedentary.

As the ev-Rider rep told the Mud Stud and Dude, “When only robots ride bikes, well, your customers can focus on what they really care about … kitten videos on Facebook!”

Speaking of the Stud and his bro, while one or the other takes an occasional issue off, the November 2020 cartoon above marks the first time that neither of them appeared in the strip since it launched in January 1992.

When bicycles are bots, only bots will have bicycles.

Ashes to ashes, dust to … eraser dust?

November 1, 2020

Tom Toles has erased himself from The Washington Post.

Well, here’s a bummer: After 50 years, Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Toles has drawn what he says is his final cartoon.

Like Toles, I started out a half-century ago, as the cartoonist for my high-school newspaper. Then I scribbled for my college papers and a couple of undergrounds before getting sidetracked into reporting and editing for a series of dailies and one small group of Denver-area weeklies.

Oh, I still contributed the occasional cartoon to the newspapers whose misfortune it was to employ me in some other capacity. Wasn’t an editor alive who would turn down free anything Back in the Day®; probably still isn’t, especially if we’re talking whiskey. But the pay, such as it was, was for pounding out the column inches or chasing commas around the copy desk.

Even then the full-time editorial cartoonist was becoming an endangered species, and I was glad that I’d followed an early adviser’s recommendation that I have some sort of a backup plan just in case I didn’t become the next Pat Oliphant, or like Toles, replace Herblock.

It wasn’t until 1989 that I started cartooning regularly again — not for The Washington Post, but for VeloNews. Next came the “Shop Talk” strip for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, in 1992.

I’ve drawn a metric shit-ton of cartoons since, but I don’t think I’ve come anywhere near 15,000 of the sonsabitches. After a job of work like that, Tom Toles deserves to get back to playing. He recently chatted with NPR about where he’s been and where he’s going.

Thanks to Kevin Drum at Mother Jones for the tip.

Th-th-that’s not ALL, folks!

June 1, 2020

I heard Looney Tunes was coming back with all-new episodes.

There’s probably no truth to the rumor that in the reboot, Tweety Bird is a chickenshit.

 

All the hits, all the time

April 15, 2020

There are scribblers like Your Humble Narrator.
And then there is Bill Watterson.

“The Ginger Hitler Radio Hour.” Boy, that would’ve blown “This American Life” right off the airwaves, amirite? IHateMedia would syndicate that shit worldwide before you could say “Chinese virus.”

You’d never find ’phones for a head that swollen, though. The mic’ would need a pop filter and a set of windshield wipers. And none of the callers would be able to get a word in edgewise.

R.I.P., Mort Drucker

April 9, 2020

Mort Drucker at work.

Another of Mad magazine’s “usual gang of idiots” has shuffled off.

Mort Drucker made it to 91 before the Source called his name. And damn, was he ever good.

You know you’re good when Will “The Spirit” Eisner gives you your first recommendation.

Also, when the lawyers send you cease-and-desist orders without consulting the boss first. Quoth The New York Times:

According to [Grady] Hendrix, Mad’s 1981 parody of “The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Empire Strikes Out,” prompted the Lucasfilm legal department to send a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the issue be recalled. “Mad replied by sending a copy of another letter they had received the previous month — from George Lucas, offering to buy the original artwork for the ‘Empire’ parody and comparing Mort Drucker to Leonardo da Vinci.”

Mr. Lucas knew Mr. Drucker’s work well. He had commissioned one of Mr. Drucker’s classic multicharacter pileups as the poster for his first hit, “American Graffiti” — a nostalgic movie set in the same summer “The JFK Coloring Book” was a best seller. And, of course, Mr. Drucker had illustrated Mad’s sendup, “American Confetti.”

I bet John Prine is offering him a vodka and ginger ale for a caricature right now.

Back to ‘work’

April 7, 2020

How to earn big money through social distancing in your spare time.

As ridiculous as it may seem, yes, I do have a bike to review for Adventure Cyclist, and si, I have been out riding it.

Not with authority, élan, and grace, mind you. But still. A man must earn.

I slapped some cheapo bear-trap pedals on this one, to accommodate the ankle and its brace, and somehow I managed to spaz myself into a nice nick on the shin.

I had forgotten this characteristic of the old-school pedal, and may go to Eighties-era cyclocross pedals with toeclips and straps or even have a go at clipless pedals, just for the sake of science.

Speaking of science and the fiction thereof, I guess Marcus Weebles, O.D., has been cutting his Adderall with hydroxychloroquine. He apparently digs the high, and is recommending it to everyone, probably not because “several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president,” according to The New York Times.

Add a little hydroxychloroquine, m’boy, and you’ll be as right as rain.

Adds the Times:

“Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.”

Zut alors! Say it is not so!

The search for salable snake-oil recipes made at home in your spare time reminds me of “Burned Again,” a tale from the seventh collection of “The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers” comics.

Fat Freddy finds a “neat container” in the street and he and Freewheelin’ Franklin try prying it open to see what’s inside. Phineas recognizes the radiation symbol on the thing and — using a Geiger counter he built from plans in “Popular Atomics” magazine — determines that it is not leaking. Yet.

Nevertheless, Fat Freddy “freaks” and draws himself a bath of Chinese mustard and Clorox, explaining, “It’s a remedy for radiation poisoning I read about in ‘Amateur Doctor’ magazine!”

Hm. Fat. Stupid. Ridiculous blond hair. Zero impulse control. Doper. Say, you don’t suppose Fat Freddy grew up to become … nahhhhh.

Y’think? Nawwwwww.

 

Antisocial distancing

March 21, 2020

The outside is still there. We’re just not making as much use of it lately.

No child likes homework. And damn few adults like working from home full time, once they’ve given it a whirl.

Oh, sure, some of us are cut out for it. Truth be told, without the option to work remotely, some of us wouldn’t be remotely employable.

So as you noobs open your laptops on the kitchen counter, launch Skype, and settle into The New Normal, remember the Old Abnormal. We’re still here, in our three-day beards, unbrushed teeth, and soiled yoga pants, taking regular meetings with the voices in our heads.

We pioneered this shit. Homesteaded it, you might say. And we like it.

So, welcome to orientation.

First, the bad news: The voices in your head are not the ones you’re used to hearing around the water cooler in the office.

The good news? You can tell them to shut the fuck up and they won’t rat you out to HR.

Yes, it’s another thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: It’s another bargain-basement broadcast. I used the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB mic, and skipped the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder in favor of recording directly to the MacBook Pro using Rogue Amoeba’s nifty little app Piezo. Editing was as usual, in GarageBand. The intro music is by Your Humble Narrator, assembled from bits and pieces in the iOS version of GarageBand on a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Angry shouting and background music (the latter by Doug Maxwell/Media Right Productions) is courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library. Cash register by kiddpark at Freesound.org. Herself was voiced either by Elle Macpherson, Tyra Banks, or Rosario Dawson, I can’t decide.

12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 12

December 31, 2019

He’s back? Oh, God, no. Wasn’t it bad enough the first time around?
From the December 2019 issue of BRAIN.

Behold the final installment of the 12 Days of ’Toonsmas.

Now and then I think it would be fun to be a columnist as in days of yore, cranking out the tees, and also the hees, for fun and (very little) profit.

And then I think again.

Columning can feel an awful lot like work, and it seems that climate change is thinning everyone’s skin when you’d expect it to be doing just the opposite. Surely some of these squealing ninnies should’ve bled to death by now, the way they announce with outrage ev’ry prod with the bodkin. But no, it seems one wee prick merely arouses another.

Better to have my own little shop here on this unremarkable back alley, well off the Infobahn, where the Twitters and Facebooks roar around and about, one hand on the horn and the other out the window, middle digit extended. However do these people steer? Why, with the knees they’d like to shove in your groin, if they were ever to clamber down from the heights of their machinery, which they will not.

So here’s a toast to those of you who continued to patronize the joint during 2019 despite its lack of modern conveniences, the NO SOLICITORS sign, and general air of disreputability. It’s not easy to find, there’s not much in the way of parking, and you want to lock up your bike in this neighborhood if that’s how you roll.

Mind the Committee of Perpetual Grievance milling about there on the sidewalk. He’ll call a meeting about you if you should happen to tread on his toes.

12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 11

December 30, 2019

They’re, like, all cargo bikes, dude, sir.
From the November 2019 issue of BRAIN.

The Mud Stud is, like, totally not into, like, your categories, an’ stuff, dude, sir.

He works for a bike shop, so he can only afford one bike. And he makes it do everything, from the daily commute to hucking off cliffs at Deadman’s Dropoff to fetching his SpaghettiOs and PBR from the Grab-N-Git.

He will be happy to sell you whatever it is you have been told that you want, and then fix it when it goes sideways from neglect. But for his own purposes he prefers a spartan two-wheeler that can be field-repaired with a minitool, some duct tape, and a trailside rock.

12 Days of ’Toonsmas: Day 10

December 29, 2019

A colleague thought this one might get taped up on a few shop walls.
From the October 2019 issue of BRAIN.

As noted on Day 9, e-bikes have their ups and downs. Like any other bicycle, only more so.

They ask more of their owners — check out this article from an REI master tech in Portland — and of their friendly neighborhood mechanic.

Sometimes, a fella just longs to see one of the old bikes. V1.0. The kind that doesn’t give you much help, but doesn’t give you many headaches, either.