by Michael Cavna

Nearly from the beginning, Twitter has had a certain, simple graphic elegance. For less than the cost of a lunch plate, Twitter’s founders purchased a stock image of the iconic Twitterbird, as gloriously designed by Japan-based artist Simon Oxley . They also handpicked Yiying Lu ’s endearing Fail Whale illustration — so often borne aloft by Oxley’s flock, it would turn out, in a fitting symbol of interconnection.

In that tradition, it is only right and natural that to celebrate Twitter’s fifth anniversary Monday — co-founder Jack Dorsey let fly the virgin tweet “inviting coworkers” on March 21, 2006 — Comic Riffs marks the occasion by gathering many of our favorite graphic images about Twitter.

The San Francisco-based company reportedly delivers more than a billion tweets a week pinging among more than 175-million registered users. The numbers can dizzy the mind, but don’t necessarily deliver the real picture. To render the site’s impact and influence — especially ever since the Twitterbird flew due South by Southwest in 2007 — we turn to the artists, many of whom were among the first to embrace the bird, the whale and the tale told a mere 140 characters at a time.

Without further ado, here they are -- Comic Riffs’s Favorites: Our Top 10 Twitter Cartoon Artworks:


ANGEL BOLIGAN (Mexico) ((image courtesy of



The ‘Riffs Interview: “Doonesbury” creator GARRY TRUDEAU

In Garry Trudeau's DOONESBURY, correspondent Roland Hedley ponders his next poetic tweet. (Garry Trudeau / DOONESBURY/Universal Uclick)

The ‘Riffs Interview: Detroit political cartoonist Mike Thompson


Political cartoonist Mike Thompson satirizes Twitter. (Mike Thompson/Detroit Free Press)


John Cole comments on the power of Twitter during Iranian protests. (John Cole/Scranton (Pa.) Times Leader)


Hajo’s take on Twitter and Mideast uprisings. (Hajo de Reijer (Amsterdam) /courtesy of

The ‘Riffs Interview: NEW YORKER cartoon editor Bob Mankoff

Peter Steiner's New Yorker cartoon is mashed-up with a Kanye West tweet as caption. (Peter Steiner and @KanyeWest/courtesy of The New Yorker)

YIYING LU’s iconic illustration:

Yiying Lu’s “Fail Whale”: (Yiying Lu/Twitter )

The ‘Riffs Interview: 'Twitterbird' Artist Simon Oxley

And SIMON OXLEY’s equally iconic illustration:

Simon Oxley's “Twitterbird” illustration. (Simon Oxley/courtesy of Simon Oxley)