Monday, November 17, 2008

I Love Your Cartoon/I Hate Your Cartoon

Below are some of my cartoons from the past years that have caused some issues.

"Some creative criticism, hon: less Sophie Crumb, more Marjan Satrapi."

Above: an editor, who I thought was well informed about graphic novels, asked who these two names were. The next week, trying to be helpful, I brought in a Sophie Crumb book for him to read. He said he would return it the following week. Well, he "lost" it and, to add insult to injury, the cartoon was not bought. Not by him, anyway.

"Well, the drug's no good, but the side effects are bitchin'."

When I drew the above cartoon I did not expect it to sell at all, but I liked it. Sometimes I just do a cartoon and I like it and I think, Well, this will never sell. Well, I was wrong. It was sent around to a lot of markets. Finally, of all clients, Reader's Digest bought if for the book LAUGHTER THE BEST MEDICINE II.

"Note to team: set your sights higher when formulating the mission statement."

Above: a bespectacled bunch of businesspeople in a cartoon that pokes fun at business. I always thought that things like "mission statements" were silly, and here is a mission statement team that just has lost its zeal. This one was hated for the swear word poster, and the downer mission statement. The new Mike Lynch Cartoons mission statement: Don't make fun of mission statements.

"The board thought it was a good idea at the time."

Above: OK, poking fun at corporate culture can only go so far. The idea of an office building full of monkeys did not, ever, find a buyer. I thought a "Bring a Hyperactive Chimpanzee to Work Day" was very silly, but I guess that those Dow Jones publications did not. Perhaps it was visions of monkey feces in the break room that caused this one to get the "thanks but no thanks." Oh well. what do I know? I certainly do make mistakes, as the cartoon below relates:

"This is all very romantic, but I'm not in heat."

I made the mistake of showing the above cartoon to an elementary school administrator. I was meeting with him to put together a schedule to teach all the 5th graders in his school system. I had a pile of cartoons to show him, and I don't know how this one got in there.

He said something like, This one's a no-no. He gave me a serious face. A face that would cause an elementary school child to blubber!

I told him that I grew up on a farm in Iowa, so I think I would have understood it back when I was a ten year old. But seeing as his school was a city school, the urban kids are a little more sheltered than their country counterparts.

I got to teach the kids, but I was, of course, fingerprinted and cross-checked beforehand. At least there was no "Cough, please" and the rubber glove and all that.

"Please join me in welcoming our competitor's ex-wife, who will now dish about his firm's weak points."

The above cartoon was published, and, according to the editor, received several complaints regarding the nastiness portrayed; the uncouth business practices, etc. I was surprised. I mean, look, the competitor, the ex-wife and all of those businesspeople around that table -- all of them are just cartoon people. They're not real. There are not real lives and reputations and money at stake.

"This is you son? He's a lot better looking than that sonogram gave him credit."

I got a nice compliment about the above cartoon from a family member who performs sonograms. This was, she announced, the very first time she had ever seen a sonogram cartoon.

"Sure I hate this job -- but I love the built-in cupholder."

Above: a cartoon that I went "Meh!" about when I finished drawing it.

By "Meh!" I mean that I did not think that much of it. It was a silly little comment about the comfort of the devil you know, but I didn't think it was the heighth of wittiness.

It has since sold a couple of times and I heard, from the assistant of a powerful businessman, that it's one of his favorite cartoons of all time.

So ... what do I know?!


Chris Hallbeck said...

Ha! I'm constantly hit with the "Well, what do I know?" feeling. I'll sometimes publish a comic that I'm feeling iffy about and it will get the most positive feedback out of the week.

Tyler Garn said...

Yeah, no kidding. I have a cartoon that I've reworked at least a dozen times only to go back to the original caption. Or I'll work hard on what I think is a clever and funny idea for hours to get all the nuances just right and I'll get a "he..(cough)..he he" out of somebody. Then I'll just scribble something down with a giant anchovy and a throw away punch line and solicit uproarious laughter.

Jack Ruttan said...

Must be a real tightrope making fun of business types, and selling to them. How does Dilbert do it?

I taught English to French Canadian execs and salesmen, which, as a committed slacker and boho has been my only peek into that world. Was pretty amazed at all the expensive management 'systems' such as Sigma Six, and slogans. Also painting the halls in Power Colours, and those important posters.

This was all depressing, esp. the mood of desperation (reason they were learning English -- to hang onto their jobs!) But the fun parts I suppose were the conferences and retreats (saw one of the elaborate vegas-style presentations in Banff one time).

Mike Lynch said...

Dirk Deppey called me out, rightfully, on Journlista! for spelling Marjane Sartrapi's name wrong. I was champion speller in Mrs. Panje's 2nd grade class in Roosevelt Elementary School in Iowa City, IA.

The problem is that that was when I peaked.