I had been sitting on the idea of a cartoon making fun of mainstream editorial cartoons for a while and finally convinced myself to do it after seeing all the predictable cartoons that accompanied the Karl Rove Leak. My comic hardly exaggerates the ridiculous visual puns (Karl Rove leaking water out of his body…GET IT?!) and that takes place every day on America’s editorial pages. Go see them for yourself.
My main gripe with editorial cartoons is the use of newspapers to explain the joke. You know the cartoon. Lyndie Engalnd with an Iraqi on a leash who is holding a four foot tall newspaper with the screaming headline “Americans put Iraqis on leashes in Abu Ghraib”. Yeah, we know, we’re reading a paper. First, it assumes you’re audience is a bunch of complete morons that don’t get what your trying to say despite your labeling of everything. Secondly, it completely ruins the cartoon by explaining away any humor that could be found in it.
Anyone interested in this should read Editorial cartooning-why does it suck so much these days? by Scott Bateman from a few years ago. In the article Bateman talks mostly of the excessive labeling, use of donkeys and elephants, and lack of any serious political statements being made. He goes on to talk about ’alternative’ political cartoons:
Oh, there are a few people out there who are trying to push editorial cartooning forward into a new century. The cartoons of Tom Tomorrow and Ted Rall feature honest-to-God jokes and actual opinions, and Ruben Bolling (“Tom The Dancing Bug”) is doing some amazing work. But for the most part, these cartoonists are relegated to the alt-weeklies rather than the daily papers, which prefer the safer, old-style cartoons, with all those dusty old symbols and labels.
Read the whole article here. I couldn’t find the original article on NY Arts, but Cagle posted it on his blog (scroll down a bit).
And go check out Bateman’s website.”