Archive for the ‘Cartooning’ Category

A workin’ man can’t get nowhere today

September 6, 2021

Luck of the draw.

Happy Labor Day, comrades.

I’m barely a worker these days; my paying chores have dwindled to one “Shop Talk” cartoon per month for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Of course, now that BRAIN is a part of the Greater Outside Globe-Spanning Vertically Integrated Paywalled Conglomerate, I find myself negotiating a contract to keep my faded Levi’s up and buckled while I continue to do what I’ve been doing for nigh on to 30 years. So it goes.

Thus, in solidarity with all y’all still on The Man’s clock, here a few random tales culled from our workaday world:

• Hotel workers serve as an unsung pit crew for the firefighters battling the Caldor blaze.

• Job openings outnumber the unemployed. But a gulf between the jobs available and what workers want has led to a “Great Reassessment.”

• Speaking of assessments, are the bots trying to upend the MeatWorld JobMart or are we just stumbling around in the dark as per usual? Kevin Drum has some brief thoughts on the topic.

• Is the boss watching, even when you’re working from home? Maybe. Say hello to “tattleware.”

• Can a workin’ man get somewhere today? He surely couldn’t back in 1978, according to Merle Haggard.

Pull it, sir

June 16, 2021

Luck of the draw.

Well, I didn’t win the Pulitzer for cartooning again this year.

But neither did anyone else.

Back to the ol’ drawing board, everyone!

R.I.P., S. Clay Wilson

February 10, 2021

A sampling of the works of S. Clay Wilson.

S. Clay Wilson made Robert Crumb look like Charles M. Schultz.

Captain Pissgums and his Pervert Pirates. The Checkered Demon and Star-Eyed Stella. Ruby the Dyke. Dude didn’t push the envelope, he lit it up and pissed it out.

I was a fiend for underground cartoons in their heyday, and still am, now that I think of it. My personal fave is Gilbert Shelton, probably because he paid at least as much attention to being funny as to being controversial.

There was R. Crumb, of course. And Bobby London, Vaughn Bodē, Spain Rodriguez, Rand Holmes, Dan O’Neill, Dave Sheridan, Skip Williamson, Jay Lynch, Greg Irons, Robert Williams … shit, the list goes on and on and on. Many were outrageous, and quite a few were funny, too.

But Wilson was out there, all by himself.  Even Crumb knew it, and he could punch the squares’ buttons as well as anyone.

Interviewed in the early 1990s for The Comics Journal by the underground-comics aficionado Bob Levin, Mr. Wilson called comics “a great visual art form,” adding, “Primarily, I’m trying to show that you can draw anything you want.”

I took a page from Wilson’s book once, drawing a vile caricature of myself doing something unspeakable and faxing it to a publisher who had wronged me, as publishers are wont to do. I don’t recall whether the act achieved my purpose, but at that particular moment I felt that I could draw anything I wanted.

S. Clay Wilson died Sunday in San Francisco. He was 79.

Paper view

December 7, 2020

We’re on a roll here at Mad Dog Media.

Bob Dylan has sold his entire songwriting catalog to the Universal Music Publishing Group for more than $300 million, according to The New York Times.

In related news, Novelty Gag Products & Auto Body Repair of Sinvergüenza, New Mexico, announced that it has acquired the rights to the entire Mad Dog Media catalog for $149.99, a used whoopie cushion, and a vague promise to paint a 2005 Subaru Forester an eye-pleasing sage green at a time and date TBD.

“We plan to target bike shops, portable-toilet rentals, and nursing homes with our new line of Mad Dog soft goods,” explained Novelty CEO Desgraciado “Chuey” Hediondo. “We figure to clean up bigtime.”

“What the hell?” added Mad Dog Media founder Patrick O’Grady. “Ammo’s in short supply, and anyway, I’m tired of hosing lawyers off my lawn. Now get the hell off my lawn.”

’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.