Cartoon Violence Needs To Clean Out Its Brain Now, Thanks A Lot

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

Cartooning, I probably don't have to tell you smart people, is a visual medium. This is, all in all, a good thing: one carefully crafted image can make more of an emotional and polemical impact than a long, boring opinion column. But just as the best comics can linger in the human psyche for days and day, so too do those that, purposefully or with incompetent ignorance, summon up images and scenarios too horrible to endure. While the former help us make decisions in the light of day, the latter haunt our nightmares for the rest of our natural lives.

As an occupational hazard, we here at Cartoon Violence encounter far too many of these soul-searing scribbles. As part of our effort to spread misery throughout the land, and as part of the run-up to Halloween, we present the horror shows for your approval.

01ads.gifPhrase we certainly didn't need running around in our heads: "Political ad emetic"

Depths of the horror: Mrs. Average TV-Watching American is talking and vomiting at the same time; this is illustrated not through sound effects, but through wavy linework around her word balloon. Mrs. AT-WA's use of the phrase "They're working!" implies some sort of backstory where we're supposed to know that she really wants to throw up, due to health or aesthetic reasons. Mr. AT-WA seems strangely unmoved, further implying that there's more to this tale of barf than we know.

Question for the class: Why is Mrs. AT-WA's foot resting on a piece of paper marked "Election"? Was there a last-minute worry that people would think that the "negative, character-attack, sleeze [sic] ads" were for breakfast cereal of financial services or something?

02bop.gifPhrase we certainly didn't need running around in our heads: "Democratic Congressional leadership paraphilic infantilism"

Depths of the horror: We'd like to point out that the "Reid and Pelosi are children" gag could have been nicely pulled off by putting them in adorable li'l overalls or something, Muppet Babies-style; there was no need to put them in diapers. And there was definitely no need to make the diapers so ... bulgy. And there was certainly no need to stuff Reid's diapers with what appears to be money, adding another layer of psychosexualfiscal ick.

Question for the class: Isn't it kind of sad that this is actually one of the kinder caricatures of Pelosi?

03fox.gifPhrase we certainly didn't need running around in our heads: "Rush Limbaugh, literal pill-head"

Depths of the horror: While we always enjoy a cheap "Rush Limbaugh is a drug addict" shot, the transformation of EIB headquarters into some kind of drug-fueled hallucinogenic nightmare is a bit farther than we really wanted to go along that road.

Question for the class: Repeatedly-photocopied Michael J. Fox and Tony Blair: Separated at birth?

04tor.gifPhrase we certainly didn't need running around in our heads: "George Bush's colonial S&M fetish"

Depths of the horror: So many people were so outraged by Clinton fooling around with an intern and a cigar in the Oval Office, but apparently it's totally OK for Dubya to get the whips and chains and gags out for some poor re-enactor from Colonial Williamsburg. It's sick, I tell you, sick!

Questions for the class: Do you think that the president got the real Constitution out of the national archives for this little role-play? Does his depravity know no bounds?

05cor.gifPhrase we certainly didn't need running around in our heads: "Corpse raft"

Depths of the horror: Though one's first instinct might have been to go for a mountain of Iraq-war-related corpses here (and believe me, we've seen plenty of cartoons that went in that direction with alarming gusto), there's something more unsettling about a single body with its limbs drifting about aimlessly.

Questions for the class: OK, normally we're against the obsessive labeling of things in political cartoons, but -- whose body is that, for God's sake? Whose? --THE COMICS CURMUDGEON.


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