The Kea's Nest

The Kea is a well known, cheeky, mountain parrot from New Zealand. What better name to take for myself to comment on the funny drawings I find online?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Just leaves Sex and Religion to ensure offense...

Not too many webcomics wear their politics on their sleeve. Most of them are more interested in telling a story or getting the reader to laugh. Although I must acknowledge that sometimes one just has to say something. Even so, there are more 'editorial' cartoons out there. Some of them seem to have jumped straight out of the newspapers, complete with single panel and names to ensure one understands the symbolism.

I really enjoy reading these, so I thought I quickly talk about a few favourites. Fair warning, on the ever popular Political Compass I come out somewhere in the vicinity of Ghandi. Which may well be an indictment of the Political Compass.

Cox & Forkum is one of the ones that really looks made for newspaper opinion pages. The artwork is supurb and most of them time their are small jokes hidden in the artwork, though sometimes it can get very simple and require labels, which I see as a failing in this sort of cartoon. It is also very right wing, though they are secular and the religous right gets it occasionally too.

Somwhat less right focused (in fact I wasn't sure where to place it for the longest time. It's really quite 'centre' I think) is Filibuster Cartoons. This has a similar presentation, generally one panel editorial cartoons. However it is much more prone to using labels and the aesthetic seems more like something you'd find in a computer game than on a newspaper page. I like the art.

Most of the political cartoons I read move outside the one panel approach, althoguh they mostly do a 2x2 grid instead. IDrewThis, This Modern World and Ted Rall all use this approach. I said a while back that I thought Ted rall was abrasive in a good way, and I stand by that. This Modern World has a fun 'clip art'-esque aesthetic which I enjoy and IDrewThis is very simple. IDrewThis was one a thrice per week schedule but since the 2004 elections it has dialed back to one a week, which has meant Simpson can make cartoons that focus on his point rather than just riffing on a recent event.

One of the elements of online comicry that I love is the interaction, the way most artists have blogs or at least accompany their cartoons with small posts. This, of course, has a whole different meaning in political cartoon land. Some have columns and irregularly updated blogs like Ted Rall. most have commentary related to the cartoon of the day and some even have full-blown blogs like Tom Tomorrow's. There are a few of the smaller cartoonists whose comics fit into their blog almost like drawings they've done for their online friends, such as Minimum Security, Mikhaela's News Blog and What Masheka Did.

Unfortunately there are a great mass of American centric politcial cartoons out there but very few New Zealand focused ones. Most of the cartoons in our papers also find their way online in various forms. Dorking Labs provided decent enough editorial style cartoons but appears to have died shortly after the South Park/Bloody Mary fiasco when it reached our fair isles. Thankfully Mark O'Brien, inventor of the Monsta, a favourite character from my youth, has started a (semi)daily comic here. To be honest, these show more flair and humour than Dorking Labs ever did...


At 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monsta is rubbish. dorkinglabs was much better, in a different league. what are you thinking?


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