Cartoon Violence: Free Association Edition

Resident cartoon expert the Comics Curmudgeon stops by each and every Friday to guide us through the magical world of Today's Cartoons. They tackle the issues of the day, then we clothesline them. Circle of life or some shit.


This week, Hezbollah saves New Orleans and Pluto, Disney's intellectual property is stolen, and pirates brutally murder children. It's all after the jump.

The cartooning process is a tricky one, filled with many potential choices. Do you try to turn two half-assed ideas into one hopefully whole-assed cartoon? Or do you stick doggedly to a single concept and see it through tho the end, no matter how bizarre the result? Do you stare off into space waiting for inspiration until just the right idea hits you in the face like a brick? Or do you jump in with the first thing that comes to mind, hoping that it will make sense as it goes along? This week in Cartoon Violence, we try to follow the narrow, twisty paths of the mind of the political cartoonist, and suss out a little of decision-making process.

01hez.gifSeemed like a good idea at the time because: Lebanon: carnage! New Orleans: carnage! Hezbollah: Winning hearts and minds through reconstruction! FEMA: Well, not so much, we guess.

Odd aesthetic choices: New Orleans denoted not by sign or obvious landmark, but by t-shirted last remaining citizen. Hezbollah reconstruction team includes two high-heeled ninjas.

Sure to piss off: Shi'ite puritans Hezbollah, who would never help rebuild a city dedicated to alcohol and exposed breasts.

02hez.gifSeemed like a good idea at the time because: The existential dilemma faced by Israel, surrounded by neighbors that refuse to acknowledge its right to exist, is similar to the one faced by distant, inanimate, totally uninhabited chunks of ice being discussed by people millions of miles away who will never visit.

Odd aesthetic choices: Hezbollah surrogate doing some sort of crazy disco hand gesture in first panel, reading generic "NEWS" paper.

Sure to piss off: Defense Department, now faced with the prospect of launching an invasion of distant Kuiper Belt objects which, since they are now with the terrorists, are clearly no longer with us and must be brought to heel.

03dog.gifSeemed like a good idea at the time because: America just can't get enough of the whole downgrading-Pluto story. Plus it's an opportunity to use the parody as a shield to use draw otherwise forbidden Disney character.

Odd aesthetic choices: Putting Pluto's tail between his leg only emphasizes that it's freakishly thin, like an antenna.

Sure to piss off: Parents who need to console children scarred by just how melancholy poor Pluto looks. Also, nit-pickers who get enraged at people who say "interstellar" when they mean "interplanetary."

04fed.gifSeemed like a good idea at the time because: Runaway success of Stratego demonstrates Americans' love of didactic messages wrapped up in metaphorical military men and hardware from the era of the Napoleonic wars.

Odd aesthetic choices: Putting a gap in the middle of the word "economy," thus expecting readers to have the capabilities of one of the smarter contestants in any given episode of Wheel of Fortune. Also, anachronistic use of the balloon to represent inflation, though surely the pun was irresistible.

Sure to piss off: Civil War re-enactors. How many times do they have to play out Pickett's Charge before you'll use them as a metaphor for some boring political issue involving interest rate hikes? No, this doesn't count.

05kid.gifSeemed like a good idea at the time because: Pirates are awesome. Forcing terrified children into the water at swordpoint is also awesome.

Odd aesthetic choices: Labeling the pirate "summer." Summer isn't making your damn kids go back to school. It's not summer's fault that it has to end eventually. Don't you think summer would last forever if it could? Why do you blame it for things it can't control?

Sure to piss off: Pirates, who didn't drown children, but rather kidnapped them, then inducted them into their wonderful, joyous fraternity, dominated by plunder, murder, and sodomy -- much, much more fun than going back to school. --the COMICS CURMUDGEON

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