After two-week sabbatical for reasons of vacation-taking and sickness-having, Cartoon Violence, America's only regular Editorial Cartoon-mocking column, returns with a vengeance.

Our guide to Today's Cartoon is, as always, the esteemed Comics Curmudgeon. Join him, won't you, on a magical journey through French protests, leggy anchors, dirty scary Mexicans, and America's Sweetheart, Cynthia McKinney. The violence is unleashed, after the jump.

Being a political cartoonist may seem like a pretty cool job -- the fame! the power! the babes! -- but I'll bet that it can be a real grind: not only do you have to understand boring political issues like foreign policy and health care reforms and budget appropriations and zzzzzz...., but you then have to figure out how to turn them into an iconography that is easily understood by those who can't be bothered to read up on the issues themselves and then cram those images into a 5 1/2" by 3 1/2" space -- all on deadline. Despite our role here as a snarky snarkster who lives to snark on cartoons, we don't really envy them their jobs.

Still and all, I'll be that most artists have days when they remember why they got into the business ... when they get to draw things that are fun and cool and totally awesome. That's why, as a service to professional political cartoonists and those that aspire to be, we offer a guide to things that you can draw, and the relative awesomeness thereof.

La belle France

01chirac.gifSomething that's cool to draw: French President Jacques Chirac. The eyebrows! The jowls! The eyebags! The shiny bald head! He's a caricaturist's wet dream, which may explain why the French, with their well-known love of the arts, have kept him in office for 14 years despite the fact they all seem to hate him.

02chirac.gifSomething that's awesome to draw: French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. Since he's not Jewish, it's totally OK to take that gynormous schnoz of his and run with it. His nose is so big it distracts from the epic lameness of this joke, done so much better by Mel Brooks 25 years ago. He's my easily caricatured front-runner for the 2007 election over there.

Katie Couric, superanchor


Things that are cool to draw: Katie Couric's teeth. So big. So shiny. So white. So scary when you just draw them as if they were a big undivided monotooth.

Things that would be pretty awesome to draw if you could actually draw them: Katie Couric's legs. They're svelte, they're sexy, they're on display, and they look really weird in all three of these cartoons. My advice: stick to what you can reproduce recognizably, like a deeply disgruntled Pope Benedict (not that there's another kind) or a remarkably lifelike Matt Lauer.

Those wacky congresspeople

06mckinney.gifSomething that's not at all awesome to draw: Cynthia McKinney with boring, ordinary hair. SNOOZE. For God's sake, you've spent more time drawing hair on the traffic cop's forearm than you have on the greatest head of hair in America's legislative branch!

07mckinney.gifSomething that's of acceptable awesomeness levels to draw: Cynthia McKinney with wacky hair. Hair! Hair! Crazy kinky hair! That's what we want to see. Keep it up. The little anger/frustration puff of black smoke over her head is a nice touch.

08delay.gifSomething that's whacked out but still awesome to draw: Tom Delay with Cynthia McKinney's hair. Look how huge it is! Look at the part in it! Look at the totally unnecessary but still extremely awesome earrings! Look at the hammer phone! For God's sake, the hammer phone!

09delay.gifSomething that's monumentally awesome to draw: Tom Delay as a filthy, drunken, passed-out bum, lying in a trash-strewn alley, being sniffed at by a stray dog. You know the artist wanted to have him in a puddle of his own piss, but those namby-pambies down at the syndicate wouldn't allow it, the jerks.

El Presidente Fox

10fox.gifSomething that's pretty OK to draw, I guess: Vicente Fox as Moses. The echoing poses in the two panels are nicely done, though I'm a little confused as to how the Grand Vizier-Pharaoh relationship maps on to Dubya and Uncle Sam.

11fox.gifSomething that's totally awesome to draw: Vicente Fox as a deranged, thrusty-chinned giant. In a zoot suit. OH NO HE DIDN'T!

Something that's unnecessary to draw in such loving detail, but still awesome: The Statue of Liberty's shapely bosom. I told you that cartoonists like to draw tits, didn't I? --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON


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