THE MORNING LINE:
From Blondie's bed-hopping to Balloon Boy's panic-in-the-attic, today's fave cartoons culled from across the mighty mighty Web...
5. DRAWN TO THE FRONT LINES:
First off, Comic Riffs applauds the cartoonists who support the troops -- personally. The latest example: Through National Cartoonists Society folks, we caught word of a new 10-day tour.
Here is an image of a band of cartoonists going on a USO Tour to the Mideast and Germany to entertain military personnel, pen in hand. According to the USO, the cartoonists -- here pictured visiting Walter Reed Army Medical Center yesterday -- include: Jeff Bacon ("Broadside" and "Greenside"); Chip Bok (Akron Beacon Journal et al.); Bruce Higdon (Army Times et al.); Jeff Keane ("The Family Circus"); Rick Kirkman ("Baby Blues"); Stephan Pastis ("Pearls Before Swine"); Mike Peters ("Mother Goose and Grimm"); Michael Ramirez (Investors Business Daily); Tom Richmond (MAD Magazine); and Garry Trudeau ("Doonesbury"). We wish them safe travels and are confident the troops will appreciate their tour.
4. STRIPPING DOWN THE BEST VISUALS:
Today's honors for fave comic-strip visuals go to:
1. "PICKLES, " because one day after Mark Trail visited Opal's Brylcreemed daydreams, Blondie visits -- ahem -- the bed of Earl. Technically, of course, the age difference doesn't stop us: Blondie is, after all, an octogenarian. But in comic years -- well, 'Riffs is seriously concerned that Saturday's strip will have Earl in the hospital, recovering from his Road-Not-Taken rendez-vous with the would-be Mrs. Bumstead. (And oh, what would their love spawn look like? This may be taking Character Cross-Pollination one step too far.
2. "ON THE FASTRACK." For many years, we cartoonists have feared just how much comic strips could humanly be reduced. Now, as is aptly depicted here, a whole new level of digital concern is, um, reduced to its essence.
Today's 3. "CUL DE SAC" is a joyful marriage of many gifts -- from dynamic lettering to vivid character art to great springalicious action. Huzzahs, Mr. Thompson.
3. "MOON" STRUCK:
At last weekend's Baltimore Comic-Con, deservedly winning the Harvey Award for Best Online Comics Work was "HIGH MOON," by Dave Gallaher, Steve Ellis and Scott O. Brown. It's an utterly engaging work that ripples with a great palette heavy on Western wood and leather tones. (Click here for a list of all the winners -- including "Mutts' " Patrick McDonnell and double winner Al Jaffee.)
2. BEST "BALLOON BOY" IMAGE -- VISUALS: Here's the hoax with the mostest. As commentary on the tale of Falcon Heene, Style Invitational (and sometime New Yorker) artist BOB STAAKE provides "hoax" art online: This entirely fictional (that's right--NOT real, folks) "New Yorker" cover, crop circle and all. Bravo.
1. BEST "BALLOON BOY" IMAGE -- WRITING:
Atlanta Journal Constitution's MIKE LUCKOVICH nailed this deadline cartoon on the heels of Little Falcon's emerging from the attic. What adds a layer of eerie entertainment to this is as we've since learned, this apparently isn't terribly far off from how events actually unfolded. Sometimes, the best-played hand is the pure truth.
Your picks may -- nay, invariably will -- vary. If you've got favorites today, feel free to share them links.