Political cartoons for teh LA Times for February 2011.

And we’re back.

I know you guys are dying for some Charlie Sheen cartoons. I know I’m NOT. At first I was curious what he was going to do after Two and a Half Men was cancelled, but then he spun way out of control, and aren’t druggies boring!? The cartoons I’ve seen on him are pretty lame so far – many compare him with Gaddafi, which is just stupid. I’ll cover both of them later in the week.

Best cartoons of the week for the LA Times

I talk about why I’m editing these cartoons at the end of the post.

This cartoon by Bob Englehart from cagle.com is an effective simplification of the brouhaha in Wisconsin and other states over collective bargaining power – or, unions, if I may speak directly. (And why doesn’t the media?)

I don’t begrudge unions – I’ve been in IATSE, in the movie studios, and the National Writers Union, which is affiliated w/ the UAW (auto workers!) – and in the studios, especially, unions are really necessary for safety and health issues.

But with state unions, with benefits paid by taxpayers? The rules are different. (The LA Times current “editors”, btw, would never choose this cartoon – it’s too simple. They prefer obscure cartoons, fancying their readers to be like NY Times readers. But since they’re not (after all, I am one of them!) here is a cartoon they SHOULD be using.)

I haven’t paid much attention to Dick Locher’s cartoons, even though he was on Gocomics with me for 2 years, until I was fired. But I like political cartoons that take place out of the office. Why not the kitchen? And I admire how he managed to fit all that teeny tiny lettering on the milk carton (or milk cartoon!) and still have it be legible.

From this cartoon, it’s not clear where Dick actually stands on the issue of pensions and jobs. Is he saying most companies don’t have p

Cartoons on murder, a shark, and an octopus.

More popular political cartoons for your enjoyment.

Caption: Jury convicts Ingmar Guandique, illegal immigrant and MS-13 gang member, of murdering Chandra Levy.

Mike Lester has a super-casual style, quite the opposite of old time editorial cartoons! This take on the Chandra Levy trial is a pretty straightforward idea, but I included it because I agreed with it. :) For one thing, I love trials and murders, and the Opinion pages rarely cover them. More importantly, this cartoon is about the media, which totally ignores important details in stories they cover, if they think it might “taint” the piece.

I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles, I was confused when the LA Times never reported the complete story about criminals or crimes. Was it an illegal alien or gang who did the deed? Wasn’t that, alone, enough to arrest someone? Never! Even when they were indicted, important info about the bad people was kept out of the papers. Mike points out here that Ingmar Guandique, the killer was indeed here illegally (and was already guilty of other crimes).

Chandra lost her life, Gary Condit lost his career. Yet the media, by and large, lets criminals keep their secrets and whitewashes the facts.

Caption of Obama and Nancy Pelosi looking at Obamacare: We should have spent more time on the birth announcement.

I laughed out loud at this cartoon by Eric Allie on Obamacare! Something about the octopus in the baby carriage…He includes recognizable sketches of Obama and Pelosi staring at their little darling, too! There’s an Uncle Sam running in the corner, a rather tired old symbol, but his bug eyes and running legs are amusing. (Secret PS: I admire Eric for not drawing all 8 legs on the octopus (sorry, no link now, explained below), as I did. He’s carefree!)

Caption: The US and South Korea circle around the shark of North Korea with a big stick.

Let’s get serious, now, less fluff and more danger. And another Uncle Sam, but he carries a big stick, like certain states.

I don’t know if South Korea is really bff with the US, but certainly North Korea is on its own. South Korea wants a strong Navy, and that makes North Korea skittish. Very clever use of Kim Jong Il’s strange pouffy hair as a shark fin! Paresh titles this cartoon Naval Exercise, but I would call it every other country’s idea of America as surfer dudes on water skis.

Most political cartoonists, especially overseas ones, don’t use straight dialogue, and so they’re sometimes forced to add labels. The labels in this cartoon are unobtrusive and clear, and they don’t detract from the amusing and striking drawing, so good enough. I like the monarch floating in the water, too. Will a big stick work to keep him underwater?

Thanks to

Cartoons on WikiLeaks, vets, and the Pope!

Each week I think, I’m just going to limit it to the three best opinion cartoons this time, but I always find myself adding a couple of others – so I’m going to divide this roundup into a 2-parter.

I was shocked this week, SHOCKED to have an editor at a major book publisher tell me that they don’t publish many books of political cartoons “because they’re too hard to understand, and people feel like their brains hurt.” As I’ve written before, I never read political cartoons myself until a couple of years ago, so I feel their pain, but still…a smart, sexy editor can’t understand a cartoon?!

I can’t explain her mental state, but one problem I had was that I just didn’t follow the news enough to understand the cartoons- and another problem was the cartoonists themselves – messy, scrawling, ink scratching, with symbols and name tags and not a bit of humor, either. But they’re online and colorful now, and if you think of political cartoons as little puzzles, or mind games, you’ll have ever so much more fun with them!

I’m starting this week’s roundup with a cartoon by Dario Castillejos, on WikiLeaks. I like a lot of the foreign cartoonists, for both style and concept – they usually don’t have much dialogue, so they really work on their drawings! Uncle Sam is a rather tired symbol – I’ve never used it, nor been tempted to, in 2 years of doing cartoons – but this drawing of Uncle Sam as a scarecrow is pretty amusing! Oh, look, Mr. Crow has torn out his eye. Gulp. I like this grisly approach, maybe because it reminds me of Scarecrows, a truly scary good movie that I recommend.

scarecrows dvdAlso, I might have missed a

Paul Conrad, cartoonist extraordinaire, died this week.

All the cartoonists on Facebook are mentioning this, or linking to the obit in the LA Times:

Paul Conrad, whose fiercely confrontational editorial cartoons made him one of the leading political provocateurs of the second half of the 20th century and who helped push the Los Angeles Times to national prominence, has died. He was 86.

“When it comes to editorial cartooning, I am unabashedly biased: Paul Conrad was simply the best ever,” Times Editor Russ Stanton said Saturday.

He was great, that’s for sure. He won an amazing 3 Pulitzers. He was an exceptionally wonderful cartoonist, and I can’t imagine why the liberal loving Times let him go – he never got a venue as good as that again. Of course, Russ Stanton wasn’t editor when Paul Conrad was the cartoonist there, and none have been hired under your watch, Russ. So your experience is like, nil. (Side note: The LA Times is 4th biggest in circulation, but has fewer editorial cartoons than at least the 100 biggest papers in the country!) read more

June political cartoons on Obama, Helen Thomas, soccer and oil spill.

It’s a beautiful new week for cartoons! This roundup for the LA Times is for cartoons published the second week of June, 2010.

Since I’m editor here, I shan’t go into my personal  stuff – like my car accident, dealing with 2 insurance companies, aftereffects of the accident, a new problem in the car, which wouldn’t start, and now is in the shop for a possible VERY expensive bill, which may or may not be connected to the accident, my dentist as a result of the accident, and the fact that malware infected my computer for 4 days, and completely disabled my internet connection as well as my Task Manager, which I finally eradicated through an antivirus program with the regrettable name of SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition. But at least it worked. Most of the others wouldn’t.

All is calm today, anyway, so I hurried to the new cartoons to see what had happened this week while I was missing! (I explain how and why I do this roundup over here.)

This cartoon by Hagen from gocomics.com,  made me laugh out loud! Mr. Hagen, from Norway,  might not be interested in partisanship, but this is EXACTLY how I view Democrats 99% of the time! Tossing off a loud reproof in the general direction of a problem and not doing a thing about it.  The chasm separating the Dems from taking action is astounding.

I love Obama’s little squat here as he tries to speak a little louder, to get his point across. The man on the other side is holding a nuclear weapon. Who is that guy? Is it just Iran? I don’t know, and so I declare right this moment that I won’t do a cartoon on nuclear bombs until I figure out who this important person is. 

Ted Rall and I don’t have a relationship, not really, but I would say we have a strained respect. Ted comes from the world of the Alties – alternative cartoons – and I don’t know if he’s ever recovered emotionally from that. I only read a couple of alternative comics, and now that they’re not in the LA Weekly, I never see them. I didn’t read Ted. But now that I do political cartoons,  of course I see him in Gocomics.com, and, in fact, he’s the most popular cartoonist in the editorial section. (Uclick only shows comics from 10 men there, so of course  LA Times Editorial Cartoons

Ink spill cartoons for the LA Times for May, 2010.

I had a rough week, so sorry about that. Could this be why I couldn’t find any funny cartoons for the third week of May?! Maybe! I did find some clever ones, however, and clever is a close cousin to funny.

Of course, the PB oil spill continues to be the biggest story around. In one way, I’m happy about that, but before you label me an oil-hugger, let me explain that it’s because environmental issues, or green, as the kids call them, are almost always B or C stories in the news. Just blips most of the time. And now everyone is seeing what a terrible natural disaster (MANMADE, you BP asshats) does to the whole world.

Also, this is a great issue for cartoonists to dive into. Yes, it took an oil spill tragedy to get cartoonists to STOP dwelling on Sarah Palin. You forgot about sniping on her for a while, didn’t you, guys? SNAP.

Speaking of, I’ll do another oil cartoon roundup later this week, as there are a couple of great cartoons on that, but will focus on other news with this LA Times editorial cartoons selection.

I thought I knew what incumbents are – those people already in office- but wondered why there were a number of cartoons about them recently. Ask and ye shall receive. Half hour ago from the LA Times:

Discontent with incumbents and anti-Washington anger are adding up to a potentially record-breaking crowd of congressional challengers this election year.

More than 2,300 people are running for the House and Senate in the midterms, the highest number in at least 35 years…

Like Senator Specter was tossed out on his heinie. Well, there aren’t any dramatic incumbents in California, but I think LA needs to think about other cultures, like the East Coast, more. Like this homeless man. He’s very rude, which is natural back there. Nobody in LA would ever talk like this, nor would they throw food. ( I thought this was a general wearing medals at first, but now I see that it’s fruit on his suit.) However, we’ve all worked on or visited a movie set, so we get the pandering part.

Nice colors, Nate Beeler!

Lotsa people looking for graduation cartoons lately. I liked this one by Dick Locher, as it didn’t have the usual stage with graduates setup. Location is king! Plus, I’ve never been to a tailor, but I like the details from an old department store. And clever use of just one word. I think this would have been better in color, however.

Time for an international cartoon for the great LA Times! I love this purposely stiff, comic-book style cartoon by Rainer Hachfeld! Obviously, it’s about nuclear ener