Clark Natural

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The spoof on the long running Mark Trail comic strip is probably a little too obscure, but I hope the joke works even if you don’t get the reference. I never read the daily version, but the Sunday comic was always one of my favorites, right behind Ripley’s.

I was shocked to learn that there are 2.6 million undecided voters in this country. According to the article, that’s a relatively low number compared to previous election years. It is very frightening that the outcome of the election depends on the voting equivalent of the O.J. jury.

I’m still not sure if the people who are willfully ignorant of even the most basic facts about the candidates aggravate me more than the people who think TV provides all the information they need. It’s a tight rope, and I’ve reconciled the issue by deciding that both groups are complete morons.

However, I don’t think everyone who votes Republican is a moron. The wealthy and those connected to big business should vote that way, it’s in their own personal financial interest. The idiots who believe a soul is created whenever two people fuck really don’t have any other options. And until the McFadden Voting Rights Only For Those Who Scored 1200 Or Higher On The SATs Act (AKA The Smarty Pants amendment) passes, they still get to vote.

I know the 5-yard chuck rule isn’t new. However, this is the first year the NFL is attempting to strictly enforce it. That’s too many words for an already crowded text box. I agree with Jeremy that it’s a dumb rule and has only been revived to placate the Indianapolis Colts’ delicate wide receivers who can’t even take a little bump n’ running from a superior Patriots squad.

I doubt any of them are reading this, but if you happen to be an undecided voter, I apologize for this week’s cartoon. Particularly for using big words like ‘ecosystem’ and ‘cognitive.’ If I inspired you to become less of an uninformed drain on our society, check out the Kerry Plan and the Bush Plan, and try to figure things out. If you’re in a hurry to catch the latest Fear Factor, here’s the answer: Kerry’s plan is better, even though you think he wouldn’t get along with anyone in your bowling league. (Memo to the Kerry Campaign, that would make an awesome slogan.)

Lloyd Dangle of the always funny Troubletown also has a cartoon about undecided voters this week.

The Legend of Tonya Fairy

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I was going through a bunch of the old comics and some other crap I’ve done and realized that I haven’t written any significant female characters. So here you go ladies, a depressing character to call your own, and a dental hygiene story to tell the young’ins that doesn’t involve the Cavity Creeps.

There’s not really any other commentary I can add. This is just some absurdist nonsense, created when I got a canker of my own. I cleaned up the original idea quite a bit. I was going to have the Canker Fairy be this hideous bit of trailer trash, with track marks and a hacking cough. And rather than magically giving children canker sores, she delivers them by sitting on their faces.

That obviously wasn’t going to happen in my comic strip. I’m not even comfortable with using the word ‘ass’ in a cartoon, and drawing lady parts makes me feel like a lech, so a magical creature who sits on children was completely out of the question. Maybe I should option the idea to Johnny Ryan.

I’m not sure if she’s supposed to be the Tooth Fairy’s failed little sister, or just an unrelated fairy. I will leave details like that up to the nerds who give a shit about such things.

Next Week: I turn into an old fart and BFW will become a cartoon about how I don’t fit into bathing suits.

Access Showbiz

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I’m in a hurry so I won’t come anywhere close to being as long-winded as I was last week. The title of this comic was swiped from this crappy BFW cartoon from last December.

If you don’t follow media criticism and/or have a life, you might not be aware of the Edward R. Murrow Awards for broadcast journalism. That’s where the Pat O’Brien joke comes from. His dopey excitement at getting Gwenyth Paltrow’s 500th interview of the day for her latest press junket epitomizes why shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight make me want to kick little girls in the crotch.

That’s a poorly drawn David Cross with a triumphant play of rock over talentless wonderboy, Scott Stapp’s scissors. I’m not knocking celebrity game shows, their watchability depends entirely on the celebrities involved. Bravo’s Celebrity Poker has been pretty good at booking funny people, in addition to the usual C-list bottom feeders like Coolio. I was just trying to say that the viewing public as a whole would avoid something like Celebrity Rochambeau because it sounds “too French.”

You can go on a cruise with Faceman. And in ten years, you can get a handy from Ryan Seacrest in a Denny’s bathroom.

The title of “Rocker” is handed out way too generously. I was too lazy to do a search, but I’m sure there’s a reference to “Rocker Avril Lavigne” out there somewhere. Bon Jovi got my scorn because that battery commercial is on all the goddamn time.

The creator of the laugh track died last year. His first machine was really called “Laff Box.” The laugh track has never made a joke funny. The only time it has ever benefited a show was when it was added to the Flintstones, only because it made even less sense than the Great Gazoo.

I don’t like the Black Eyed Peas, but I do commend the addition of Stacey ‘Fergie’ Ferguson in a shameless grab for more MTV exposure. Here’s an interesting bit of trivia about the professional ass shaker; she was on the crappy eighties show, Kids Incorporated. This isn’t really trivia, but you might like to know that chicks with hip bones that stick out like shoulder blades are almost as gross as fatties. Almost.

Errata From The Future: Next week I use the word “legend” where “myth” would’ve been more appropriate. I will regret the error.

Last Minute VP Replacements

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You can see why I tried so hard to make last week’s cartoon about something other than politics. I came up with this during the DNC and didn’t want to draw Cheney two weeks in a row. It would’ve caused tremendous damage to my right hand, forcing me to permanently clench my pen like Bob Dole.

First let me say that I never believed Cheney was going to be dropped from the ticket. The idea was floated around by all the media harpies a couple of months ago when it became apparent that Cheney is about as popular as explosive diarrhea. Bush was the one on the ticket designed to appeal to voters. Dropping Cheney would’ve been a tremendous sign of weakness and anyone they picked would’ve looked like a shameless grab for votes.

Not that the Republicans are above anything shameless, just that particular ploy would be too obvious to the voters. With that said, this cartoon imagines who the RNC would pick should Cheney step down for “health reasons” sometime between now and the election.

McCain and Giuliani are the obvious choices. They’re the only well-known Republicans with significant respect and credibility among independents and Democrats. Although McCain hugging Bush without getting him to condemn the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads seriously hurts that credibility.

I don’t know very much about Giuliani. He didn’t run away or read My Pet Goat during the WTC attacks, and he did an excellent job during the ensuing weeks of craziness. And for that he should be praised. But everyone I know who lived in NYC under him thinks he’s a douche. However, I am familiar with the current NYC mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and while I have no idea how he governs, I do know that a building named after him is really far away and a bitch to get to at eight in the morning.

Those choices assume the Bush campaign is even interested in courting independents and Democrats. That’s obviously not happening this year. Bush is campaigning much more aggressively towards his base than he was in 2000 and hammering on wedge issues to increase their turnout rather than attract people in the middle. At this point, Alabamy Judge Roy Moore is a more likely veep candidate than anyone like Giuliani.

The six other candidates in the cartoon are all jokes. The only reason the first two aren’t is because I couldn’t think of two more funny choices. Ralph Nader is effectively already part of the Republican ticket. The majority of signatures he’s collected to get on various states’ ballots have been gathered by Republicans. They’ve even paid the homeless to collect signatures for him.

I won’t explain how a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. I’m pretty sure all of you are aware of that. If you still need convincing, Jen Sorensen of Slowpoke has a couple of excellent cartoons about Naderites and explains it in her blog, and she’s much nicer about it than I could ever be.

Bill Meikle is a real guy. He portrays Ben Franklin in many of the touristy sections of Boston. I’m not sure if he’s employed by the city or just a guy who likes to dress and talk that way. I don’t take the T too often, but he sat next to me twice, in full Franklin costume. He even tried using his cell phone. Being from the 18th century, he didn’t realize there was no service in the subway. Having a guy who looks like Franklin on the ticket would be an excellent way to counteract Kerry’s resemblance to the twenty dollar bill.

The Bush Administration values blastocysts so much more than humans, they might as well run one as a candidate. As an added bonus, no blastocyst has ever presided over $7.5 million in securities fraud.

Would you vote against an adorable little girl? I certainly wouldn’t.

It’s not as clear as I wanted it to be, but Ricardo Cheni is supposed to be Cheney in a really crappy disguise. My artistic skills aren’t too great and I wanted to point that out before someone accused me of drawing a really lame Speedy Gonzales Mexican stereotype. They’re not doing nearly as well with the Hispanic vote as they did in 2000, so they’re bound to resort to some kind of cheesy pandering that is almost this blatant before the election.

I am fascinated with the media’s fascination with missing pregnant women. I never understood how they’re more newsworthy than thousands of missing children. As a bonus to those of you who made it this far in this epic post, here is a BFW cartoon I did on the subject over a year and a half ago. It is not very good, but proves that I wasn’t lying about my fascination with the media’s fixation on misplaced pregnant ladies.

The media’s obsession with covering the horse race of the election and missing pregnant women would guarantee a “Bush/Where’s Stacy?” ticket with virtually round the clock coverage. If I thought of it sooner, I would’ve made this week’s strip entirely about this last premise.

Thanks for reading this long ass post, or skipping to the end. I’m not the boss of you. Do what you want.

Max Baxter: Arbiter of Cool

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Although I’m not satisfied with this week’s comic, it has taught me a valuable lesson about life. I don’t have children, but I now know what it would be like to have an ugly and stupid child.

I knew from the start this premise would never become a fully functional comic strip, but I put all my effort into it anyway. I could’ve phoned it in with Microns, but this dumb bastard got my undivided attention for two whole days. Sure, I considered putting it in the car and launching it off the docks, but I would never act on such thoughts.

Last week featured a political strip, and I feel it’s my obligation to try to alternate between the politics and other stuff each week. I have no idea why. In my mind, I have divided you all into two separate groups of readers: people who enjoy only the political stuff, and those who only like the social commentary/random humor. And you are constantly fighting, in a mud pit, while wearing bikinis. It is so very hot.

With the DNC last week, coming up with anything that wasn’t related to politics was impossible. I watched C-SPAN all week and did nothing else. As the deadline approached, I decided to cannibalize one of my other projects, a sketch about a mundane office where all of pop culture is created.

As with everything I write that isn’t in comic strip form, the sketch was bloated with flowery prose, but I was still having trouble fleshing it out. It was just a series of gags aimed at things I think are lame and didn’t go anywhere. I was hoping for some sort of commentary on how pop culture is already manufactured, but I don’t have a soul patch or wear turtlenecks, so that level of pomposity is beyond me.

I shouldn’t have included it in the strip, but the Conway Twitty poster reflects Mr. Whitcomb’s lameness despite being in charge of the Arbiters of Cool Department. He enjoys collecting Conway Twitty Concert memorabilia, but never actually goes to jamborees, they’re too wild and crazy for his tastes.

Enough of this convoluted meta-analysis of projects you’ll never see. The comic’s main points are as follows:

  • The term “arbiter of cool” is really fucking stupid and sounds like a worse job than “washer of balls.”
  • Velvet Revolver symbolizes all that is wrong with music today.

I hope I lowered the bar sufficiently to make next week’s comic strip appear to be fucking hilarious.

The Hippies

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This is obviously a parody of The Goonies. I originally wanted to do a cartoon with Massachusetts Jones looking for the lost Free Speech Zone, but as soon as I thought of drawing Cheney as Anne Ramsey, I had no choice.

This comic reflects my conflicting views. I loathe the concept of Free Speech Zones, but equally detest kids from the suburbs who put on a show that really has no chance to affect change. The DNC Free Speech Zone was just meters away from the Fleet Center, but there was no escape from all the drama queens comparing it to some kind of gulag. You could freely leave and express your opinions anywhere as long as you did it in a civilized way. I’m a leading advocate of locking up anyone who thinks a papier mache effigy is going to change the world. Come up with a convincing argument that wasn’t lifted from Chomsky or Zinn and then maybe I’ll listen to you, if I can stand the smell.

Five people, dressed normally, and quietly holding a poster or banner, are infinitely more credible and likely to sway public opinion than fifty bandana clad tools chanting some kind of silly slogan. Dollars to donuts, they do it for the attention, or they are retarded.

One last aside on hippies. If you think the two party system is flawed, and that there’s no difference between the two, do you really think electing a third party president will change anything? He or she would still have to work with a hostile congress dominated by Democrats and Republicans. What you’d need to do is help third party candidates get elected on the local level, and build the infrastructure that can run and finance federal campaigns. The Greens were starting to do that, but Nader took a big ol’ dump on any credibility they had. It’s certainly not going to happen any time soon. It requires a lot more work than coming up with a pithy t-shirt, and 35-year-old burnouts rarely do that.

The comic itself is basically scenes from the movie. Since it’s a cinematic masterpiece, I couldn’t go wrong. I hope I captured the ridiculousness of Free Speech Zones and the even more ridiculous douchebags who think chanting in them is going to do anything.

I have no idea what’s going on for the Republican National Convention, but I suspect the Free Speech Zone will be a lot farther away and the demonstrators will be in much greater numbers. And thanks to the WTO Seattle morons and the scare-mongering news which has equated all protests with violence, I’m sure the police presence is going to be insane.

For anyone concerned with Goonie news, Blog has become the definitive source on the Goonie sequel, which looks dead for now. However, the Goonie generation is still in its twenties and earlier thirties. The time for our kitschy nostalgia driven remakes is probably ten years away. We can only hope that our generation’s Ben Stiller will reveal himself in time.

Your Summer Vacation Guide

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This week’s commentary is going to be brief. I’m scrambling to get next week’s cartoon done before I skip town and experience levels of humidity my pasty buttocks haven’t seen in years.

It’s not like this cartoon requires any insightful commentary anyway. The only thing that might be necessary is to note that Jeffrey Jones is a real person. He’s probably most famous for playing the principal in Ferris Bueller. At least until recently, when he became the latest celebrity pederast.

I guess I have standards or something, since I didn’t make it a pedophile bus tour. I went with frotteurism instead. Perhaps because it is the only form of sexual harassment that has been officially declared hilarious by the National Organization for Women.

All the rest are self-explanatory dumb jokes. I apologize for the emphasis on East Coast vacation spots, but I haven’t traveled west of Indiana. I haven’t even seen the world’s largest ball of anything. I’m just an uncultured savage who’s been to the Louvre more times than Branson, MO.

Next Week: For those of you who are a lot younger or older than me, and those who are my age, but grew up in the former Soviet bloc, make sure to rent the greatest film of 1985. There’s a pretty stupid parody coming down the fun pipe.

The Future of Science

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Writing this commentary is going to be kind of difficult since this comic strip has a week’s worth of stink on it. It’s obviously inspired by the scientists who accused the Bush Administration of ignoring scientific facts way back in February. This article from a couple weeks ago about how they’re only letting witch doctors and faith healers represent America was the kick in the pants that finally got me to do a cartoon about the fate of science in our once smart nation.

The title panel is my attempt to tell a joke without words. See, they’re scientists who can’t figure out why the light’s out. If re-elected, the Bush Administration will declare that electricity is no longer caused by the conversion of energy, but simply created by Jesus, who’s constantly running on a treadmill up in Heaven.

I must confess that Dr. Fad and Mr. Wizard were not actually signatories to the February letter. I swear there was an official Mr. Wizard website when I wrote this cartoon, that’s where I found the picture of him. It’s been just two weeks and almost all Google traces of him have been eliminated. What happened to Don Herbert? I need to know! He taught me how to be the nerdiest four year old in the entire universe. Levar Burton also helped.

Dr. Fad is not important to me. I caught his show maybe once or twice. But he is still committed to that octopus outfit. I respect that.

I thought it would be easy to think of a bunch of actors who are typecast as scientists, but Jeff Goldblum seems to have cornered the market. I couldn’t think of anyone else, but a coalition of just Jeff seemed kind of sad. So I stuck him with what’s supposed to be the doctor from Stargate SG-1, because I am a nerd and think of her when I think “random TV scientist.”

There are still flat Earth theorists out there. They are dumber than creationists, because they actually put effort into coming up with their stupid ideas instead of just blindly reciting from an ancient fairy tale. As Aesop said, “A vegetable who shits himself is not as dumb as the mouse who thinks it is a cougar.”

I hate when comedians resort to mentioning weed for laughs. I hate it. I hate anyone who shouts “woo!” at just the mention of drugs. Actually I can categorically hate anyone who goes “woo!” for any reason at all, and still have enough hate left over for all y’all. Anyway, I had serious reservations about this joke because I feared the stoner community would think I wanted to hang out with them and they’d start sending me emails. Sorry dudes, I’ve got booze to drink. Please leave me alone.

Those Superbowl ads from a few years ago that equated drug use to aiding terrorists were hilarious. Drug money is dwarfed by oil money in the terrorist Ponzi scheme, but they were completely fine with making that argument. Drugs do contain some of the same chemicals that contribute to global warming. If they ever get around to admitting it exists, I’m sure the Bush Administration will blame it on drugs and hippie stink. For people who haven’t burned themselves with a crucible, those chemicals are carbon monoxide, tetrahydrocannabinol (the weed drug, don’t say “wooo” you motherfucker), and carbon dioxide. I’m sure there are a lot more chemicals, but I am dumb, and the place is called Spurious Labs. I doubt they’d even be this thorough.

Remember the mad cow scare last year? I’m glad that was fixed. Oh shit, no it wasn’t. The FDA just got around to issuing some new rules. They’re hoping that ignoring the disease will make it go away, just like AIDS. The USDA even prevented a rancher from testing his own cows.

That’s not really the point of the panel though. A lady cowering from a cow is just awesome in its poetic simplicity. I wish I drew a normal cow and not a sick one. It’s not as funny. It’s like I learned nothing from the Far Side.

The Ashlee joke was the real genesis of this entire cartoon. Ashlee Simpson really gets on my nerves. Jessica Simpson doesn’t even have a reason to be famous and Ashlee gets to ride her coattails? That’s bullshit. I doubt anyone who doesn’t know this has read this far, but there’s a probability joke in there, in case you missed it. The Ashley bell curve. The data set is really small. The only Ashlee I’ve heard of is Ashlee Simpson, and the only Ashleigh I know of is Ashleigh Banfield, who wears glasses, so she must be smart. I’ve seen enough porn star Ashleys and regular Ashleys to assume their I.Q. averages around 100.

Also, “Ashlee, Ashley, Ashleigh” is the name of my all girl supergroup I’m forming. Auditions will be held at 5pm…in my pants. (rimshot, thank you and good night!)

Particle physics is boring. I’m sorry, but protons and neutrons are as tiny as things have to get for me to understand my universe. However, subatomic particles actually exist, not like Jesus. I just choose to ignore both.

Armageddon may be ridiculous, but it’s a lot easier to imagine some red guy with a pitchfork poking all the sinners than it is to fathom an infinite universe among other infinite universes that may have only come into existence because of some forces even Einstein wasn’t too sure about.

I’ve decided that this cartoon proves I love lab coats. Besides regular suits and ties, I’ve drawn scientists and doctors more often than any other character. They are my Far Side cows. Thanks for reading all this. Being ahead in the comics gives me some more goofing off time to write this incoherent nonsense.

Next Week: Make sure you know what frotteurism is.

Update: I just checked out that link to the frotteurism page and was freaked out by this part of the definition:

By definition, there is significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

Although eerily similar to a description of myself, I swear I am not a frotteur. At least not since the T fare went up to $1.25.

Pretty Boy Stuntman

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I wish I didn’t waste so much time last week updating the website. I’m happy with the premise, but I just didn’t have enough time to spend on the writing. As I was going through the painful process of illustrating this cartoon, I came up with about a half dozen better scenarios to use with this character. The same thing happened with Professor Zeitgeist, so I can guarantee that Sebastian will return, probably when I’m too hungover to be original.

I’m horrible at making up names for characters; so I usually end up using cliched names. At least in my own little world, ‘Sebastian’ is shorthand for any foppish young man, the same way ‘Dudley’ is the accepted nomenclature for dweebishness. No offense if you’re named either, but your parents either hated you or tried too hard to name you something cool. As for Coco’s name, I just like alliteration. The retarded five-year-old inside finds the way it makes his swollen tongue flop around in his mouth hilarious.

The rest of the cartoon is just me lashing out at things I don’t like, which is pretty much the only thing I know how to do. This time it’s the dandification of society. The Fauxhawk is stupid. Some may lament it’s apparently early demise at the hands of internet ridicule, but the Fauxhawk killed itself with its own stupidity.

I see no difference between it and this monstrosity taken directly from my 7th grade yearbook. Kid-n-Play-Hair’s identity has been protected. If there is a god, the girl looks nothing like that now and can’t be recognized some twelve years later. And if she still looks like that, I doubt she has the financial means to sue me.

Pre-faded jeans are for people who can’t commit to a pair of pants. And even I can do that. I’ve been wearing the same pair of husky boys discount Levis for a year and they’ve just started to get an authentic wear pattern, not that fake shit that looks like you’ve been pissing acid wash all over yourself.

I’m alarmed at the state of American media, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also be concerned with how men’s shaving is portrayed in advertising. Shaving is not dangerous and needs only one blade. Men have shaved since pre-history and it’s only now that four blades and moisturizing lotions squeezed from supple cherubs are required to get the job done right.

In the interest of full disclosure, my opinions on fashion should probably be ignored. I’m the opposite of a fashionista. I cut my own hair and let it grow until it gets in the way when I draw cartoons. And as I type this, I’m wearing a free T-shirt handed to me during JHU Sexual Assault Awareness Week, which states in gigantic type: “Without Consent, It’s Rape.” I wear this shirt not as an ironic oddity, it was just on the top of my three foot pile of free T-shirts.

Sebastian Gallant will return if a few months, and possibly perform a fantastic facial hair feat. (for the retarded 5-year-old inside all of you)