Chan Lowe gets the top slot today for making his point in a way that makes me laugh, which is not a requirement for political cartoons, and for indicating that he's up to date on both the news and the commentary, which is.
I've just seen several cartoons that compare the large number of GOP candidates to a "clown car."
Not that they riff off the clown car metaphor, no. The clown car metaphor is their Big Gag O' The Day.
I don't know who first came up with the "clown car" concept, but a quick look traces it back to April, 2014, which, I would point out, is more than a year ago, and even then was consciously borrowed from the 2012 elections.
Use it. Build on it. Delight in it.
But when you say "Knock knock" and someone says, "Who's there?" you are supposed to have a next line prepared.
Simply saying "Knock knock" is neither creative, insightful or funny, and neither is simply comparing the current batch of candidates to a clown car.
And speaking of knowing how the game is played
Another genius-by-default cartoon, this one by Scott Stantis, and, like Lowe's, his panel is (A) funny and insightful and (B) indicates that he actually knows what's going on.
Stantis capitalizes on the tendency of (some) players to exaggerate or totally fake injuries, and not only uses it to underscore FIFA's well-known reputation for corruption, but suggests a commentary on how FIFA head Sepp Blatter has handled the crisis.
Poor Sepp. The indictments were quite a painful and undeserved blow!
Blatter glossed over calls for him to resign and refused to withdraw from today's election, explaining, “Many people hold me ultimately responsible. We, or I, cannot monitor everyone all of the time. If people want to do wrong, they will also try to hide it.”
And, he added, "People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."
Meanwhile, there are currently cartoons by the bushel basket that say, boy, those indictments are a bad thing for FIFA, but that don't indicate any real understanding of the story on the part of the cartoonist.
I can be a little more generous with American cartoonists who don't quite understand FIFA corruption than I can with American cartoonists who don't pay attention to their own national politics, yes.
Until they start drawing without doing their homework.
Even if you know the subject, you need to check for updates and explanations before you start popping off about it. The burden is higher when you don't know what's going on.
Dammit, it's hard enough to get paid for this when you behave like a professional.
Case in point ...
I don't know what's going on over at Medium and, specifically, with the Nib, but Heidi MacDonald reports on ComicsBeat about some serious turmoil on what has been one of the top cartoon sites, where editor/cartoonist Matt Bors has been behaving like a pro.
I'm not going to criticize cartoonists for going off half-cocked and then do the same myself. I can't find anything on-line that MacDonald doesn't include in her report, where she reports that several well-known altie-cartoons will no longer be appearing there, that Assistant Editor Eleri Mai Harris was cut and that she's got an inquiry into Bors as to what's going on.
MacDonald writes, "The Nib is part of Medium, a start up that is devoted to 'long form reads.' Like many start ups, it doesn’t have any visible means of making money, so while the site employed Bors and paid cartoonists to create new work, as I all too presciently suggested, that model was too radical to work forever."
So go see what she's got to say, because I've got no specifics to add.
My general take, however, is that sites which aggregate comics (see the list in the rail at right) are the chief hope of maintaining cartoons as a viable form, and, within that model, GoComics and Comics Kingdom are probably doing what must be done -- put the material up for free, but then offer a modest subscription program to avoid pop-ups and perhaps access more goodies.
There is a reason syndication existed in the first place, and going it alone is getting harder by the day.
Comics fans are inundated by requests for Patreon support or to fund Kickstarters, and I'm getting to the point where I'm avoiding eye contact and hoping they don't start squeejeeing my windshield.
Crowd-sourcing for specific goals can still work, including, yes, the one I'm involved with, as well as for books, films and other one-off projects.
But the field is getting too crowded to expect people who love comics to fund every strip they enjoy, and I'm not crazy about one more system in which support goes only to the popular and viral.
We had that before, and the Internet was supposed to be the Great Leveler.
All is not lost
Friend-of-the-Blog Brian Fies has just wrapped up "The Last Mechanical Monster," and not only links to the start for anyone who missed it, but offers an arts-and-crafts project for his loyal followers.
He also offers a more personal wrap-up of the project on his personal blog, which suggests that there may be some commercial hope for Sparky and friends.
I don't think he'll mind, in today's context, my pointing out that, although he has two successful books in print, here and here, with one Eisner in hand and a pending nomination for a second, he has not yet quit his day job.
You don't hear him talk about that too much, because he spends his spare time drawing really cool stuff instead.
(Or maybe he spends his spare time at the aforementioned day job. It's all in how you look at it.)