Cartoon Violence Is Sick Of You
Each week, the Comics Curmudgeon helps explain Today's Cartoons.
After having done this column for more than a year now, I am beginning to believe that I read more political cartoons than anyone else on the planet. I mean, most people don't get more than, what, three, four in their daily paper? Whereas I read several dozen a week, all in one sitting. Which frankly qualifies me to decide who lives and who dies when it comes to visual tropes in these God-forsaken things. Today, I bring the hammer down on some oldies but goodies but really not goodies any longer. Feel my wrath, ink-stained wretches!
Visual cue that I don't want to see anymore: Old-school anarchist-style black spherical bombs, complete with smoldering fuse.
Reason for elimination: Look, the classic bomb has had a good run. It first captured our attention when hurled by "first wave" bearded anti-Americans, who went around attempting to assassinate European monarchs with them or blow up Chicago in order to bring about a brave new world of ... something? Anarchy and free love? See, we don't even know. Of course, they wreaked havoc through any number of classic Warner Brothers cartoons as well, for which we thank them. But really, if something could have had some part of the Haymarket Riot, perhaps it should go gently into that good night.
Suggested replacement: Suicide bomber-style dynamite vests! They're all the rage, I hear. They would have the added basis for eliminating the possibility of anyone making the crappy joke on this
Visual cue that I don't want to see anymore: People sitting around a seedy bar (often named simply BAR) looking for love, alcoholic oblivion, someone to listen to their insane rantings, or some combination of the three.
Reason for elimination: Does the grimy, four-seats-mere-feet-from-the-plate-glass-window, mustachioed-barman-staffed watering hole really exist anywhere anymore? The bar scene has in fact fragmented to match America's mutually hostile demographic groups -- the loud, annoying dance club full of people in leather pants; the S&M sex dungeons; the grotesquely precious hipster metadives; the sports bars with dozens of flat-screen TVs overloading the senses of everyone there -- there just isn't room for an old-fashioned BAR.
Suggested replacement: Our desperate elephant could meet drag Rudy on Craigslist! "M4M: Elephantine political party, 151, seeks someone willing to pretend."
Visual cue that I don't want to see anymore: Husbands and wives reading the paper together and drolly commenting on the day's events.
Reason for elimination: Seriously, this shit may play in the New Yorker, but does anyone really believe it happens anymore? Plus, this couple here is obviously reading two separate
papers, since they both have a hold of the political section. One couple reading two papers? I scoff. I scoff. Unless that dog in the background isn't housebroken, there's no reason you'd need that much newspaper in your house.
Suggested replacement: One half of the couple could describe the day's comics to the other. That's somewhat realistic. "Ha ha, Garfield ate a whole lasagna! It's funny because he's grossly obese!"
Visual cue that I don't want to see anymore: Newscaster guy or gal reads current events off of a piece of paper.
Reason for elimination: Honestly? Actual TV news producers figured out fifteen years ago that looking at one guy reading news off of a piece of paper was so visually dull as to put people's eyeballs into a coma. That's why modern-day talking heads must compete for screen space with newscrawls, terrible cobbled-together graphics, and numerous TV monitors showing ominous stuff in the background for no reason.
Suggested replacement: If you must try to simulate television in political cartoon form, why not show us something we might actually like to see? Like a hilarious scene from the critically acclaimed new sitcom 30 Rock! Thursdays at 8:30, this fall on NBC!
Visual cue that I don't want to see anymore: Random guy just staring at the reader and saying boring blah blah political stuff without any discernible change in facial expression.
Reason for elimination: Because it's boring as fuck.
Suggested replacement: Nothing. Nothing would be preferable to this. --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON