This and That

July 10th, 2007 | Posted in General

Funny News!- One of my frequent daily stops on the internet is CNN.com, where I get my daily news ( I still read the newspapers, that is a ritual). Anyone who frequents CNN.com will see they recently revamped their site. It’s now drab and boring… nice work, CNN.

They did add an interesting new feature, though. Under their “More News” links at the bottom of the main page they have a new category among the “Health”, “Tech”, Politics” and such. It’s called “Funny News“. In it are links to strange and bizarre stories that are too weird for the main news. Today the “Funny News” headline is “A Lulu of a Loo”, with a story about a Beijing establishment that boasts being hte world’s largest public restroom, with 1,000 toilets in over 30,000 square feet of building. That is pretty bizarre considering toilets are a western luxury in China, where most restrooms consist of a pipe sticking out of the ground. The Lovely Anna can tell you a few stories about her trip to China a few years ago.

“Funny News” also has links to called “Cartoon Clicks”, where the reader takes a poll to answer questions like “Who’s getting an iPhone?” (choices: Paris Hilton, Michael Moore, Dick Cheney) and each choice give you a cartoon with a gag about your choice. Atlanta Journal Constitution cartoonist Mike Mikula does the dirty work. There is also a link to stories from “The Onion”.

TV Monkeys see…- Speaking of CNN.com, here is a link to a CNN article about some of the new TV series expected this fall. The premise of the article is that success breeds imitation, and that bodes well (or ill) for all us fantasy/sci fi/comic book geeks that made LOST and Heroes big hits. This fall’s lineup is ripe with paranormal, sci fi and comic book-like subject matter, including time-traveling reporters, murder-victim resurrecting sluethes, immortal New Yorkers (that’s nothing new according to the landlords of rent controlled apartments), vampire private eyes and other supernormal storylines that range from “has possibilities” to “you have got to be kidding me”. In typical hollywood fashion, most of these shows will only include the fantastic premises of the hits they emulate, and not the sharp writing and great storytelling that made them successful. Who knows, maybe there’s a gem hidden in there somewhere.

AAEC Reports- Dave Astor at Editor and Publisher writes about the recent AAEC convention and the forever ongoing concern about the disappearing staff jobs that years ago editorial cartoonists enjoyed. According to cartoonist Paul Fell (a member of my local National Cartoonist Society chapter), today there are only 25% of the staff jobs there were 50 years ago. It was always thought that the local opinions that can be provided by a staff artist could not be replaced by a syndicated cartoonist, who would need to stick to national subject matter. Judging by the sharp decline in staff jobs that local angle isn’t as important as other factors. The article details a meeting the AAEC had about the problem and several suggestions to help counter the issue.

MAD in the Funny Pages- Cartoonist Mark Tatulli, who does both of the comic strips Heart of the City and Lio, occasionally mentions MAD in his strip. Both he and his son Dean and big MAD fans. Last Sunday (7/1) he did it again with this strip. Yesterday MAD made the funny pages again in The Elderberries by Phil Frank & Joe Troise..

Holy Pimped-Out Chopper, Batman!- This is several weeks old but for some reason hasn’t had the circulation that the first pics of Bale’s new batsuit enjoyed. Here’s a picture of the “Bat-Pod” AKA the Batcycle, which will appear in next summer’s “The Dark Knight”.

batpod1.jpg

Looks right in line with the Batmobile concept. I love how they make the vehicles look bat-like without any overt bat-trappings.

Also, here’s the only pic so far of Heath Ledger as the Joker. It’s not really a picture at all, since he’s hidden behind some kind of blurry screen, but you can see in the close up how his basic look will be.

darkknight2.jpg

darkknight3.jpg

Pretty nasty looking, with the red mouth extending to his ears and the dark sockets. It will be interesting to see if they go with the traditional origin of the Joker being bleached by a chemical bath, or if he’s just a psycho who decides to wear makeup. I’m hoping for the latter. We can presume the actual comic book origin, where Batman sends him into the fateful vat of chemicals at the Axis Chemical Co. is not going to happen as he was apparently already the Joker at the end of “Batman Begins” having not yet run into Batman. Of course the accident can happen later, or perhaps it happened already in a previous Batman adventure we hadn’t seen. Not likely, as “Batman Begins” was pretty much Bruce Wayne’s first Batman experience.

Only time will tell. The last movie was a winner, let’s hope they keep the momentum.

Comments

  1. SteveH says:

    I am looking forward to this new Batman movie as well! Surely YOU have a part in the movie Tom? That would be so cool eh?

  2. Philbert says:

    I’d like to comment on the AAEP article if I may. I am very fortunate to be employed by a newspaper as a staff cartoonist, although my job description entails a great deal more than just cartooning. I work at a relatively small paper (circulation around 35,000) that certainly couldn’t afford to absorb my salary if I didn’t help out in other areas. In addition to a weekly, 1-panel color cartoon, I do a weekly Op/Ed cartoon (also in color) and a bi-weekly “you-fill-in-the-caption” feature called “YouToon.”
    In addition, I’m asked to do the covers and various graphics for our weekly arts and entertainment tab, various infographics, illustrations, some page layout and design and I’m to sweep up and take the garbage out as well. It’s all worth it because I’ve always wanted to cartoon for a living. The fact that I can write and illustrate from a local vantage point gives our newspaper a little flavor that it wouldn’t have otherwise. But, like the rest of the industry, it’s difficult to tell how long we can afford the luxury of a staff artist.
    As noted in the AAEP article, until there’s a way to adequately monetize what we do for the internet, it’s gonna be beans and biscuits I’m afraid (although the complex proteins in such a diet will sustain life, I’m told. By my editor, anyway.)
    If you’re interested, you can see what a local hack does by visiting…
    http://redding.com/news/cartoons

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