Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Gag Cartoon Smackdown

Let me tell you about the Gag Cartoon Smackdown, which was held the last night of the 2010 National Cartoonists Society annual Reubens convention. What is a Gag Cartoon Smackdown? OK, it's like improv theatre, with the audience shouting out topics and, then, cartoonists, onstage, create funny stuff about those topics. Except instead of performing, the cartoonists had to sit and draw a complete gag cartoon and then show it to everyone. And the audience was composed of their friends and colleagues.

Above: my point of view.

Matt Diffee hosted, with musical guests Stuckey & Murray.

The six cartoonists were split into 3 teams of 2 apiece. The participants were:
Topics were relatively random, either produced by a a kind of smallish "wheel of fortune" sort spinner that Matt spun, or audience suggestions (depending on the round). I'll try my best to recall what the topics were. It was, like I said, the last night of a busy 3 day convention and boy was my mind tired.

Anyway, here are some of the cartoons that we came up with. I'm thankful to David, Emily, and Drew for leaving their drawings behind so I could grab 'em & post 'em. If Jeff or Michael would like theirs up here as well, I'm all for it.

Keep in mind that we all had about 8 minutes to come up with the cartoons. And not all cartoonists did cartoons on all of the topics.

Round One:

  • Cat
  • Shopping
  • Politician
  • And I think there had to be a whiff of scandal about the thing, such as the mass feline death scene in Mr. Sipress' cartoon below
All of these topics had to be crammed in the cartoon, natch! Images are respective copyright of the creator.

David Sipress:

I like how David's cats all seem to deflate when they die.

Emily Flake:

She points out a much maligned electorate minority that should be CATered to.

Drew Dernavich:

I don't know where he got the paper with the BP logo.

Mike Lynch:

The TV reads "Cat Candidate in Lovenest with Dog while Shopping." The sad cat candidate (on chair, watching TV) wears a "Win With Puffball" lapel campaign button.

And here is Round Two --


  • Pearly Gates
  • Dominatrix
  • Snowman

Drew Dernavich:

That pearly gates prodder looks darn hurtful.

Mike Lynch:

You can see I later wrote the next round's topics in the upper left hand corner.

Round Three (what good topics):
  • Satan
  • Chicken
  • France
Emily Flake:

The fellows pupil-less eyes have a definite Harold Gray quality.

David Sipress:

I love this one.

Round Four:

  • Cinnabon
  • Axe
  • Death (if I remember correctly)

Drew Dernavich:

He drew that sleeping headsman really well.

Emily Flake:

This should be Cinnabon's new motto.

David Sipress:

Doing another great one.

Final Round (topics chosen by the band):

  • Gary Coleman
  • Donuts
  • Tollbooth
  • Legos

Drew Dernavich:

Coleman had just died before the convention and I'm not sure everyone in the audience knew that.

Emily Flake:

Scary Lego guy!

David Sipress:

Cramming all of these topics in was not easy for any of us.

Mike Lynch:

Here we have a world where anthropomorphic Lego people wear "What You Talkin' About Willis?" t-shirts, in a Gary Coleman city, using donuts to pay for the tolls. Kirk and Spock are in the background, with Kirk saying, "Dammit, Spock! I shoulda never stepped on that butterfly."

The winners: me and Drew, chosen by audience applause. The losers all had to slow dance with each other onstage.

Related: NCS Reubens Link Round Up


Anne Hambrock said...


I'm so glad you posted these! I took pictures of them on the screen but they came out awful.

What a fun night that was - it is one of my favorite memories of the weekend.

Mark Anderson said...

Wow! WOW!!! Those are so awesome! AND LEGOS! WOOOOO!!!