Cartoon Violence Is Stark Raving Nude

Each week, the Comics Curmudgeon helps explain Today's Cartoons.

Everybody likes looking at naked people, or, failing that, people in various states of near-nude undress. And cartoonists know it. We're not just talking about pervert cartoonists, like the folks behind Fritz the Cat and those endless furry porn JPEGs you have hidden away in the recesses of your hard drive. Mainstream comic artists love to throw in a little skin as well, even on the family-friendly funny pages: if you aren't a regular reader, you'd be surprised how often you see Blondie's cleavage, or Miss Buxley in an insanely short miniskirt, or the Phantom in very, very tight and stripey pants.

Naturally, political cartoonists want in on this action. There's only one problem, though: our initial proposition really ought to be amended to read "Everybody likes looking at attractive naked people." Unfortunately, very few people in politics really qualify as "attractive." "Pudgy," yes. "Pasty," almost certainly. "Lumpy," more often than not. But "attractive," not so much. Nevertheless, some brave political cartoonists dare to show a little skin, and this week, we offer showcase their daring, possibly as a cautionary example.

01bet.gifWho's showing skin? Ted Kennedy (or John Murtha? some Congressional fattie, anyway) is lounging about in a moderately revealing Roman-style toga. Not much skin showing in terms of percentage of the whole, but there's a disturbing amount of upper arm to go around. Harry Reid shows off some ankle in his even less convincing smock-thing.

Sexiness level: None too high, but not even really attempted. Why do you dress up a bunch of people like Ancient Romans if you're not going to have an orgy? "To make some kind of metaphorical point," you might say, but I defy you to explain how that's supposed to be happening here. So, orgies. C'mon. You've even got some damn donkeys in there for the total depravity factor.

02toe.gifWho's showing skin? Fred Thompson has stripped down to swim trunks, showing off those stubbly legs and taking a little dip. Some random lady on the shore is wearing only a robe, as if she was drawn by the legendary Thompson magnetism to frolic in the water with him, but seems to have though better of it at the last moment.

Sexiness level: Quite mild. One the one hand, nobody wears shorts that display text across the ass, no matter how self-promoting, unless they mean it as a baboon-style come-on (though it's not the sort of fashion choice you'd expect from an ostensibly straight man). On the other hand, Thompson appears to be dead, which, as our wide-eyed, robe-wearing lady on the shore seems to have realized, more often than not puts a damper on the fun.

03ass.gifWho's showing skin? Why, only America, dear readers. Poor, uninsured America. Poor, uninsured, fat, bare-ass naked America.

Sexiness level: High, obviously. Who doesn't find those hospital gowns sexy? The way they almost cover you up, but not quite, leaving you sitting there nervously, all exposed, waiting for that medical type to come in with a cold metal instrument of some sort ... that's HOTTT, am I right? Right? [silence] Uh, I mean, ha ha! Just kidding! It's gross and all. [Nervous laughter.]

04bra.gifWho's showing skin? The Clintons at home, both unselfconsciously showing bits of pudgy skin in that way that long-married couples do. It symbolizes the fact that they've been together for so long and love each other so deeply that they don't need some kind of physically perfect fantasy object, but are just ready to accept each other's bodies for what they are. Either that, or they just totally don't care anymore.

Sexiness level: Not so much sexy as sad. Look at stricken expression on Bill's face. It's like he's saying, "Hey, you never told me you like stuffing money into your brassiere! I love stuffing money into ladies' brassieres! We could have been doing this together all this time!"

05bar.gifWho's showing skin? Some ... pudgy white guy with glasses? On Wall Street? Is he supposed to be a stock broker, or a symbol of the stock brokering class as a whole, or of the economy, or ... something? Also, he's riding a bull? Naked? "Bareback"? So disturbing?

Sexiness level: I refuse to assess the sexiness level of this cartoon until someone can explain to me what the fuck it means. Thank you. --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON


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