The men and women of America's alternative-comics industry deserve our respect and admiration. These hard-working artists spend lonely hours and days bent over drawing tables, poring over clip art, combing the thesaurus for synonyms for the word "poop," with shockingly little compensation. They speak the truth to power, a concept mainstream cartoonists abandoned long ago. But more importantly, they make us titter, guffaw and chortle. These overlooked lords of the sketch pad put their foibles on the page for all to snicker at, naked before God and creation. Sex, politics, trash-talking aliens, he-boobies -- nothing is out of bounds, as long as it produces a laugh or offends a conservative. Or both. Preferably both.
Here at Orlando Weekly, we exploit cartoonists as ruthlessly as the next paper. So we've decided to throw them a bone and publish a few of their scribblings. Call it a contest, as we've done, and they can't send in their efforts quickly enough. We get low-cost, mildly entertaining content, they get to continue the fantasy that one day they'll be able to make a living at this. Everybody wins. Or at least we do, and that's what really matters.
We solicited 'toons from local artists, and nonlocal artists. To be fair, we judged them separately because, in reality, some of the nonlocal folks do make a living at this. Which means they've attained a certain level of professionalism, which means they don't completely suck. (Tip for burgeoning cartoonists: Put your name on your work.)
Our panel was made up of the crackerjack staff that brings you the Weekly every week. After years of doing this, we know funny. Left to novices, we might be forced to print Dilbert or Cathy or something equally execrable, and that just can't happen.
We judged each entry on three criteria: Content (Does it say something worth saying?); artistic merit (Can this person draw?); and hilarity (self-explanatory). Each category was worth five points, so the best possible score for each cartoonist is 15 points. The worst, obviously, is zero. (The comic that scored closest to zero, by the way, was Space, which scored .31 out of 15. That's execrable.). And so, without further ado, the winners of the first-ever "Orlando Weekly Comics Contest." Please enjoy our products responsibly.
1st place: Clowntime Comics, by Shawn Belschwender
"Disturbing, not always top-shelf, but provocative enough to make me want to read more. Great."
"Talking asses are inherently funny. Inscrutable in a heady sorta way."
2nd place: Don't Look at Me, by Thomas O'Donnell
"Too many words. I fucking hate this shit."
"Funny in spots. 'I can see your balls' and other comments were unexpected."
"Actually produced a belly laugh. Damn funny stuff. How can you miss with lines like 'sweet-ass alien dirtbike.'? Twisted, deviant and smart. Love it."
3rd place: The City, by Derf
"I've seen better strips out of Derf. Who decided to submit these?"
"Man tits! What's funnier than man tits?"
Stumptown, by Josh A. Miller
Partially Clips, by Robert T. Balder
Troubletown, by Lloyd Dangle
Permatrip, by BERK
Cultural Jet Lag, by Jim Siergey
Maakies, by Tony Millionaire
Evan Waite's comics
Topics, by Harley Schwadron
Yucca, by David Guess
Krazy Krum, by John Menzies
Aminals, by David Sung
Minimum Security, by Stephanie McMillan
Psyclops, by Norman Read
Humble Shine, by John Orth
1st place: Rose Crow's comics
"A cute strip, albeit a total swipe from the already published "Tiny Seppu-Ku." Hello lawyers!
"A comic about a girl who dates rock musicians in a state of stunted adolescence who want to have sex to bad heavy metal, or play video games instead of having sex -- way too close to my own past to be funny."
2nd place: The "photo caption" comics, by Brian Moses
"Know how those photos would reproduce in our paper? Not well."
"A great idea gone horribly wrong, kind of like this contest."
3rd place: Barefoot and pregnant, by Dave Mitchell
"If I want trailer-trash humor, I can drive two blocks west to Ocoee and see the real thing."
"Pretty funny. The phonetic language is tiresome, but it works. Definitely a few hundred steps ahead of its competition."
Runners-upIn descending order as ranked by our judges
Roadside Haunts, by Charles Treadwell and Neal Davies
Coo Bear Comics, by Corey Miller
Jemal McClary's comics
Where's Ruby?, by J. Sanchez
Johnny Mohammed and his Ohio Family, by Christopher Jammal
Art Crespo's comics
Randy Messer's comics
Brendan Sullivan's comics
Pockets of Evil, by David Almeida and Stephen Miller
Herman the Bastard, by Erick Jara
Off Property, by Little Smitty
John Otto's comics
Veruca's Diary, by R. Anselowitz
Beer, Chiken and Friends, by James Engelking
The Adventures of Parasail Joe, by Aldo H. Falconi
Syx Syko Styx, by James Simon MacDonald
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.