Until I get a links page...
For a long time, I've been beating myself up for being such a jerk as to not have a links page. So this post is my links in progress, and will be continuously updated as I slowly work my way through my list of cartoonists (and bloggers) who should be required reading. The categories are arbitrary, the lists are in no meaningful order and are far from comprehensive, and of course I'm bound to forget someone, so please don't be offended if that someone is you--these are just a FEW of my personal favorites. Cartooning is a hard, lonely and financially unrewarding road, so please visit these guys and gals, read them, worship them, buy their stuff, send them emails of praise, and of course, tell 'em I sent you.
Altie* Cartoonists You've Probably Never Heard Of
- Masheka Wood. (This strip is brand new, so be patient) Mr. Wood's comics--sometimes political, mostly not--are damned beautiful, warped and diseased. Send him drooling fan mail so he doesn't stop drawing, and with any luck, he'll pick up some newspapers and get referred to as "the OTHER other black cartoonist" (see Keith Knight's cartoon on the subject). Oh Masheka, why can't I draw as obsessive-compulsively as you? Oh yeah, and don't forget to buy his first book, "What Masheka Did"!
- Matt Bors ("Idiot Box"). Tune in to this super-smart political strip for time-traveling forefathers and stem-cell-cultivation tips. Matt was born in 1983, but he can already outdraw and outfunny most anyone. And he's got a new book, "The Sluts of Guantanamo Bay."
- Brian McFadden ("Big Fat Whale"). Like me, Brian is a 25-year-old smartass political cartoonist. He is also a collector of imaginary ephemera, and his strip reminds me of a weird vaudeville variety show-- if you don't read it, you will be deprived of the wonders of "Believe it Or Don't", "Atheism's One Commandment", and "17-cent Bookshelf." (Latest book: "Big Fat Whale's Sea Anomie")
- August Pollak ("XQUZYPHYR & Overboard"). Also a young, hyper-sarcastic political cartoonist, with sick fantasies about Dick Cheney, a yearning for cool gadgets, and an awesome blog. But August, you jerk, why did you make your strip name unpronounceable, are you like Prince or something?
- Ben Smith ("Fighting Words"). Ben is so annoyed with the current level of conservative foolishness in our country, he's recruited Aristotle to argue with Republicans.
- Barry Deutsch ("Ampersand"). Barry's not doing regular political cartoons any more, but his archive is full of gems.
- Mikhaela Reid ("The Boiling Point"). Since the aforementioned are all boys, I thought I'd throw myself into the mix. I draw sunny and optimistic cartoons about death, war, poverty, breakups, sex education, and impending doom. My latest book on sale is "Good News!" And Ted Rall called me "cartooning's angry young woman", so there.
Altie Cartoonists You May or May Not Have Heard Of
- Jen Sorensen ("Slowpoke"). Jen's strip just won the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies's top cartooning prize this year, and oh man does she ever deserve it. Ms. Sorensen wields her ruthless sword of political and cultural criticism against everything from genocide and magnetic ribbons to tube socks and apocalyptic cows. But gentlemn readers beware: if you're not careful, Drooly Julie will pinch your ass. Buy America Gone Bonkers anyway.
- Stephanie McMillan ("Minimum Security"). Stephanie believes in "resistance through ridicule." The bunnies and little pig-tailed girls in her strip seem awfully cute until you realize they're talking about war, torture, suffering, lies, and dead fish. Preorder her new book today!
- Emily Flake ("Lulu Eightball"). Emily Flake is a fellow 20-something Brooklynite. She also happens to be a goddamned genius. Her cartoons are really weird, pretty, sick and funny, she NEVER has an off week, and after many long, red-eyed hours spent in the Lulu Eightball archive I found myself having vivid fantasies of leaving politics behind and drawing cartoons like "If Your State Doesn't Allow Firecrackers", "Urban Predators", "Artifacts of the Mediocre Child" and "Why My Bid for Popedom Was Rejected".
- Andy Singer ("No Exit"). Andy distills his odd and/or angry ideas into deceptively simple single-panel masterpieces. He's obsessed with transportation, consumer culture, war, and seeing things from the inside out. Buy his new book, or I'll cry.
- Stephen Notley ("Bob the Angry Flower"). Everyone's favorite weirdly awesome Canadian cartoon about infuriated vegetation. It should here be noted for no apparent reason that Notley's favorite movie of all time is Ghostbusters.
- Tak Toyoshima ("Secret Asian Man"). A fellow Attitude 2er and cartoon columnist over at In The Fray.
- Nicholas Gurewitch ("The Perry Bible Fellowship") Creepy, funny, brilliant strips like "No Survivors", "Nice Shirt" and "Billy the Bunny".
- Keith Knight ("The K Chronicles", "th(ink)"). Armed with a Rub-a-Dub laundry marker, Mr. Knight takes aim at Gee Dubya and Dick Cheney, tells quasi-autobiographical tales, and celebrates life's little victories. Complete and utter cartoon perfection, as addictive as a really addictive thing, I totally worship at the temple of your sick genius, Mr. Knight.
- Tom Tomorrow ("This Modern World") If it weren't for the amazingness of Tom Tomorrow's work, I might not even be a cartoonist. I read his stuff religiously back in high school, and my first cartoon for my college newspaper was a bizarre and failed attempt to rip off his style, featuring a cute talking lizard translating the attempts of the undergraduate council to bring ROTC to campus (I was only 18, I didn't know any better!). After drawing a few more successful and less derivative cartoons, I put aside cartooning for three years to focus on my schoolwork.
But then came 9/11, the whole world went crazylike, my liberal friends were suddenly all gung-ho to bomb the crap out of Afghanistan, and I felt like the only thing keeping me sane were the Tom Tomorrow, Ted Rall and Boondocks cartoons wallpapering my dorm room. So I nervously wrote Mr. Tomorrow a fan mail to that effect, applied for a cartooning slot at the Harvard Crimson, and cancelled plans to write a senior thesis. Mr. Tomorrow posted a link to my cartoons in his blog, I got all kinds of super-encouraging fan mail, The Boston Phoenix picked up my strip a few months later, and here I am today. Thanks, Tom!
- Ted Rall. The notorious Mr. Rall is one of the smartest and funniest people on earth, and also one of the nicest and coolest, so it's a pity so many people waste so much time hating him, threatening his life, and trying to get him fired from various publications with dumbass letter-writing campaigns. In addition to producing three biting and brilliant cartoons a week, he manages to write a column, draw graphic novels, blog, travel around Central Asia, and promote and edit the work of obscure cartoonists like yours truly.
My current theory is that he is some kinda weird sleepless android man cobbled together by benevolent aliens with good taste in music. Recent Rall gems include: "The Oppression Collection", "How the Flag-Burning Amendment Will Help" and "You Must Be Feeling Incredibly Stupid Right Now."
- Scott Bateman. In a harsh blow to all that is good and decent in this world, Scott recently lost his syndicated political cartooning gig with King Features. So, please buy his art and merchandise--he's got New York rent to pay, yo. Also, you must put down whatever you are doing at the moment and read his Sketchbook of Secrets and Shame. But artists be warned: doing so might cause you to quietly bury your own sketchbooks in a pile of peat moss because they will never be as cool, weird and funny as Scott's.
- Ruben Bolling ("Tom the Dancing Bug"). I'm rapidly running out of adjectives here. So I'll just say that if it weren't for Alison Bechdel, this would be the best comic strip in the universe.
- David Rees ("Get Your War On") Clip-art + foul language + cute but deadly kitty cats from Uzbekistan = oh my god nothing can possibly capture the absurdity of war like this goddamn strip please read it now.
- Ward Sutton ("Sutton Impact"). Village Voice cartoonist and illustrator extraordinaire Ward Sutton's Dubya caricature is one of the most grotesque in the business, a creepy, squeaky, sniveling chimp-like man-doll. Read my conversation with Ward about his new book on the In These Times web site.
- Matt Wuerker ("Lint Trap").
- Don Asmussen ("Bad Reporter")
- More coming soon, I think.
Animated Political Cartoons
- Mark Fiore. This year, Mark became the first animated cartoonist to win the prestigious RFK journalism award, so well-deserved it isn't even funny. You'd never guess from his mini-movies about "democracy spreading", torture, and execution that he is a pleasant, well-adjusted California surfer guy.
- I'm sure there must be others. I'll have to think about this.
Daily Comic Strips That Are Actually Worth Reading
- Aaron McGruder ("The Boondocks"). The epic saga of a 10-year-old black revolutionary who moves to an all-white suburb with his thug-wannabe little brother and cranky granddad. Dropped from many newspapers after 9/11 for having some of the most hard-hitting anti-war commentary in all of cartoon and commentarydom.
- Lalo Alcaraz ("La Cucaracha") Minutemen, military recruiters and evil emperors beware, there's a talking cockroach on your tail. And oh man, what beautiful artwork.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Cartoons
- Alison Bechdel ("Dykes to Watch Out For") Alison Bechdel is my hero--my favorite cartoonist of all time, no contest. She's been chronicling the lives and loves of a large cast of characters, lesbian and otherwise, in her bi-weekly cartoon soap opera for over two decades now, and her artwork, characterization, story-telling and political commentary are without compare. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll reread all of her books so many times they fall to pieces. Oh, and she's got a graphic novel coming out soon, keep your wallets open.
- Jennifer Camper
- Howard Cruse
- Robert Kirby ("Curbside") Robert Kirby's fantastic bi-weekly strip can be read online at Lavender Magazine (scroll down to the "Cartoon" category), but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an online archive. But you can buy his book Curbside Boys, the "whimsical story of "twenty-something" gay boys falling in love in and out of love in New York City."
- Astrid Lydia Johannsen ("AstroGirlX2")Totally gorgeous colorful digital comics about the adventures--romantic and otherwise--of a "cycling, coffee-drinking, nancy boi dweeb lipstick lesbian transsexual menace comic book artist femme amazon drag king hipster goth girl dyke," otherwise known as Astrid.
- Gina Kamentsky ("T-Gina")
- Robyn Chapman All-star comics artist and anthology editor. She hasn't updated her site in a while, but there are some cool samples up.
- Erin Lindsey ("Venus Envy") A sweet and addictive daily web comic about the trials, tribulations (and love life) of Zoe, a feisty redheaded transsexual teenager.
- Neil Babra ("Imitation of Life"). This lushly colored diary comic that sometimes delved into political and gay topics is no longer actively updated, but he seems to be in the process of archiving it...
- Erika Moen. Erika Moen is a 21-year-old student of "illustrated storytelling", her drawings are way pretty, and she really likes girls.
- For a much more comprehensive list of LGBT cartoons and comics (like I said, the above are just SOME personal favorites) check out the Prism Comics list of LGBT comics creators and FranÃ§ois Penaud's Gay Comics List.
Awesome "Mainstream" Political Cartoonists
- Kirk Anderson. Why Kirk doesn't have a Pulitzer yet, I don't know. Unfortunately for all of humanity, he was laid off from his cartooning position so his publisher could afford an expensive plant-watering system. But his angry, brilliant, powerful and amazing cartoons can still be seen on Artizans, Cagle, and his own site. Check out "Cats are Democrats, Dogs are Republicans", "Election Puzzle Page" and "Remembering Reagan".
- Clay Bennett
- Rob Rogers
- Signe Wilkinson
- Joel Pett
- Tom Toles
- Leilah Rampa. Leilah is only 24, but she's already a full-time staff cartoonist for the Anniston Star in Alabama. She was also my roommate at the 2005 AAEC convention.
- Cindy Procious. Cindy is now painting portraits, but you can see her old cartoons here.
- Steve Sack
- Jeff Danziger
- Ann Telnaes
- J.P. Trostle
- Dan Wasserman
- Elena Steier. Elena Steier really hates Ann Coulter and Don Rumsfeld, just FYI.
- More coming soon...
Great Political Artists, Cartoonists and Otherwise
Other Assorted Cartooning and Comic Sites
- The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Read your favorite editorial cartoonists online, search for cartoons by keyword, order reprints, read bios, find speakers, get cartooning tips, and so on.
- Comic Strip Fan Eric collects and displays original comic art of all kinds. He's even got the first cartoon I ever did for the Boston Phoenix.
- The Funny Times
- Rocketship is an awesome new comics and graphic novel store and art space in Brooklyn...
- More coming soon...
Other Comics Artists and Cartoonists
- Derek Kirk Kim I just bought Derek's excellent book "Same Difference and Other Stories", and you can read some of his comics in color on his website.
- Alec Longstreth. Alec does a great mini-comic called Phase 7, and you can see samples of his beautiful art and comics on his site.
Since I'm more a cartoonist than a blogger, and I don't want a blogroll so long that no one will read any of it, I'll keep this extremely short.
- Alas, a Blog
- Anywhere is Better
- August Pollak
- Big Fat Blog
- Body and Soul
- Daily Kos
- Elayne Riggs
- Margaret Cho
- Ms. Musings (now defunct)
- Robert's Virtual Soapbox
- Ted Rall
- This Modern World
- More coming soon...
- Women's eNews
- In the Fray
- In These Times
- The Nation
- Common Dreams
- More coming soon...