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Pint Sized Demagogues by jhaumann Pint Sized Demagogues by jhaumann
While we all no there's no shortage of ham-fisted political cartoons in the funny pages, I think the worst examples of these are the ones that use children as their main characters. The most notorious among them being Scott Stantis' "Prickly City" on the right and John Hambrock's "The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee" on the left as both feature a pre-adolescent one-dimensional mouthpiece as a main character.
For alleged children, Carmen from "Prickly City" and the eponymous Edison Lee really aren't particularly childlike at all. One could argue that they are precocious, but even precocious kids from comics past like Calvin from "Calvin & Hobbes" and the kids from "Bloom County" showed their child side with much more frequency. They aren't even much as alleged characters either. Politics aside, Carmen comes off as a heartless jerk and a scold while Edison is a conniving twerp that creates some deus-ex-machina invention for whatever problem that's ripped from the headlines. It boggles my mind why their artists couldn't have just made them adults.

Though I must give "Prickly City" some credit. Despite it's shortcomings as a strip, it's probably the best conservative political strip in the papers. It has story arcs, the occasional non-political strip, and sometimes takes shots at its own side (unlike that certain strip with a duck). However there is still room for much, much more improvement.

P.S. Did I draw James Lipton okay? Could you tell that was him?
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:iconservonix:
Servonix Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014
Its sort of like a reverse version of Calvin and Hobbes. IE: C&H's setting is a neighborhood near some woods, PC's setting is a desert. One of the 2 similarly aged characters is basically gender swapped. (not to mention different name.) The other is basically species swapped and shorter. (Tigers being a type of feline whereas Coyotes are a type of canine.) However while C&H basically had some philosophic type meanings, PC is (presumably) an attempt at making a kid-friendlier version of Doonesbury. (Though its like saying that the animated movie version of Animal Farm was an attempt at making it more kid-friendly. But not by much.)

To put it in shorter terms: Its sort of like Calvin and Hobbes, but where in C&H there was some philosophy with kids that ACTED LIKE SUCH, PC is LOADED with political jargon with a kid that has the adult-like personality of Allen Gregory. And I'm NOT into the argumentative chaos of politics.
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:iconmoodyblues:
moodyblues Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010  Hobbyist
Spot on observation! Comic artists, if your character is a child, let him/her act like a child.

Oh, and stop ripping off Calvin and Hobbes. (I'm looking at you, Non-Sequitur.)
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:iconjhaumann:
jhaumann Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010
I know, that's how I feel too! Edison Lee is also guilty of ripping off Calvin and Hobbes whenever the title character approaches the father with some crazy poll or cockamamie scheme. That strip and Non-Sequitur are too bogged down in political preachiness and lack whimsy and charm to ever match Calvin and Hobbes.
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That is brilliant. It's odd how many political strips these days are either far right or far left and more concerned with preaching than entertaining.
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:iconnothingsp:
nothingsp Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
WORD. I am getting so tired of being lectured by stuff like this...
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
While I enjoy the Boondocks cartoon and they at least let one of Huey's lectures backfire on him and some fun moments to ballance it. It's stuff like this that I stopped watching South Park (at least one of the reasons.)
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:iconnothingsp:
nothingsp Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
Yeah, Boondocks at least tried for some nuance and variety of material and tone. Edison Lee is all-preaching, all-the-time.
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Never read Edison Lee. As for Boondocks, were some things like Huey screwing with Jasmine's head with his news stories (Cookie Monster has an eating disorder), Jenny using the pull-the-football-away trick on Riley, Riley trying to change the streetsign names to something more ghetto and the first apperance of Uncle Ruckus as a department store santa that I really enjoy. Also the creator is a pretty nice guy (he did a signing and roundtable discussion at the college I went to.)
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:iconnothingsp:
nothingsp Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
Heh, neat :)
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It was fun. One of the most amusing parts was when we was debating with a guy who was on the opposite side of the specturm (about the origins of what lead to the Iraq War) and he was taking it well and sorta convinced the guy. For giggles, Aaron wrote in the book he signed for the guy, "It's ok, you've been lied to." That line where he mentioned that black people are use to being lied to by society and those in power.
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:iconjhaumann:
jhaumann Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
I know, right? What happened to making the comics entertaining and the characters likable or at least sympathetic? Another thing that bugs me about Carmen and Edison Lee is that not only do they act like adults, they speak like them too. I don't necessarily mean like the expanded vocabulary precocious kids can have, but I mean the things they talk about. Do you know any kids that talk incessantly about the bank bailouts (Edison Lee) or repeat the "nattering nabobs of negativity" quote William Safire penned for Spiro Agnew over 40 years ago (Prickly City)?
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Silly boy, don't you know that it's a law that at the very least 75% of regular and webcomics should be as unpleasant as possible. Carmen reminds me a bit of Diversity of Diversity Lane, a right wing comic of a kid who does nothing but scowl and occassionaly smirk.

You made a good point about comparing them to the more down to earth kids in Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbs. They probably use kids because they think it would be cute.
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:iconjhaumann:
jhaumann Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010
I had to Google "Diversity Lane" to see for myself what you were talking about. What a horrible webcomic! It's essentially "Mallard Fillmore" with slightly better artwork (wouldn't be hard to top Tinsley, who I assume learned to draw by glancing at a "Bruce Blitz Learn How to Draw" book once). I can only deduce that the man who draws this comic has never actually met a liberal in his life and is only judging by what they must be like from reading Ann Coulter books. God, these child characters in political cartoons make my brain hurt. I also should have added Danae from "Non Sequitur" but she wasn't always a main character of the strip.
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Or Fisk from "Better Days". Who's Ayn Rand fanboy creator seems to have a weird Odephious (sp) Complex with the constant ass-shots of Fisk's mother and not liking women in general.

Then again, most political webcomics suck, even the ones without kids: Faith Mouse's are so off-the-wall you can't tell what the comic is saying, Sore Thumbs' characters are totally unlikeable and unfunny, Hathor the Cow Goddess is arrogant and nutty enough to compete with some FOX news comentatiors and the rest are just preachery.
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:iconjhaumann:
jhaumann Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010
So..not far from Rand herself, eh? (her books are noted for rampant misogyny and her rape fetish). I always found "Better Days" to be a disturbing comic created by someone with some deep, serious issues (though not because it's a furry comic).
Yeah, it seems whenever comics get too political they veer far into the unfunny zone. I guess that's due to how overly serious their creators take their politics. People read comics to escape the drudgery of everyday life and to be uplifted, not read some editorial piece with drawings attached to it. I'm not saying comic artists should always avoid real-life issues and politics into their comics, but would it kill them not to take things so seriously? (That goes for you too, Tom "It's Called Writing!" Batiuk!)
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:iconyaoi-huntress-earth:
Yaoi-Huntress-Earth Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've heard about Rand's stuff and tried to read a bit of it as well as how she inspired generations of pretentious jerks who think the world is out there to kiss their ass. (See Terry Goodkind and Anton Lavay.) It's people like that that make me wary of those who scream "individuality". Because they scream at the world for being "sheep", but turn around and think anyone who doesn't follow their beliefs is subhuman scum. Besides if you want someone who preach indivduality and got it right, I suggest Leo Leoni. Sure he did children's books, but he wasn't an arrogant, elitist who saw no value in oters.

Sorry about the rant. There was something about Better Days that rubbed me the wrong way as well.
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:iconjhaumann:
jhaumann Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2010
That's alright. "Better Days" rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmistthehedgehog08:
MistTheHedgehog08 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2010
lol XD
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