Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This week's cartoon

With apologies to Billy Mays, David Carradine, and whatever celebrity should happen to pass away this afternoon:

One of the poorly kept secrets of editorial cartooning is that eulogy cartoons are some of the most popular things we draw, but most cartoonists despise them. In our heart of hearts, of course, we cartoonists all hope to draw the cartoon that outlasts us, like Bill Mauldin's famous cartoon of the Lincoln Memorial weeping after the assassination of John Kennedy.

But since Bill Mauldin already used that idea, cartoons of (fill in the blank) crying all seem derivative. Countless cartoonists drew the Statue of Liberty crying on 9/11. Off the top of my head, I remember seeing cartoons of Alice Kramden crying when Jackie Gleason died, the Virginia Tech mascot crying after the shootings on that campus, the NBC peacock crying after Johnny Carson died, and who could forget the weeping guitars when George Harrison passed away?

The other cliche is the cartoon showing the deceased person's arrival at the pearly gates, where St. Peter says something moderately clever. I've drawn one or two of those myself. Alternatively, cartoonists take the liberty of welcoming a disliked deceased person to hell, where, if he or she isn't greeted by the devil himself, he/she is in the company of Hitler or Stalin. (I can't think of any actual Welcome To Hell cartoon about a woman, but I'm sure Mike Lester has one all ready for Hillary Clinton someday.)

Of my own eulogy cartoons, my favorite was for Quentin Crisp. I didn't think he'd have appreciated being in a eulogy cartoon, so that's what I drew.

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