Cartoon Blog

  • Crossing Bridges

    7 April 2014

  • Westboro

    Westboro

    21 March 2014

     

    With the passing of Rev Fred Phelps Sr today, it seemed fitting to dig up this very old cartoon of mine, drawn at some point back in the 1990s around the time I first heard about the Westboro Baptist Church. Looking back on the cartoon now, I note that I couldn't bring myself to depict that most memorable and hateful of signs that this "church" always waved at their protests. 

    Quite appropriately however, I've added some colour to what was, until now, just a black and white picture. It's reflective of the two points of view at odds here, funnily enough. That is, black and white thinking, as opposed to an acceptance that the world is a rainbow spectrum of different people with different beliefs and different sexual identities. 

    It's comforting to know that while the memory of the hate inflicted by this man and his "church" - which they would describe as "Christian love" - may live on, the hate itself is slowly dying a bit more every day in this world. If nothing else it has turned more people away from such hate, and toward a greater acceptance of all humanity, so that's something - strangely - to be grateful for. 

    Rest in peace, Fred Phelps. May your hate rest in pieces. 

     

     

  • Execution

    Execution

    8 March 2014

     

    I've been listening lately to a lot of comedy by Bill Hicks, partly to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death, but mostly because he's still so damn funny. 

    If you know anything about his comedy, you may agree with me in thinking he would have appreciated this cartoon.

    RIP Bill Hicks. Thanks for all the wisdom and the laughs. 

  • Religious Asillynation

    16 February 2014

  • Crushed

    21 January 2014

  • The Zeitgeist

    9 January 2014

  • Chrrrristmas

    24 December 2013

  • Shepherds!

    18 December 2013

  • Same Old Story

    Same Old Story

    10 December 2013

     

     

    Well, it's almost Christmas time again. For those that know my feelings about the Yuletide season, you'll recognise that's me on the right.
     
    So far this year, I haven't felt any different than I usually do. I still cringe at Christmas carols, bristle at tinsel and avoid the gaze of the creepy Santa Claus on the facade of the Whitcoulls building in Auckland city centre. The non-stop grinding commercialism is wholly depressing, in spite of the 'delightful' veneer.
     
    The biblical Christmas story inevitably gets caught up in that crassness, which is unfortunate, because that's really the only part that has any meaning, for me anyway. Here's an article from one theologian who addresses the issues around this exceptionally well.  
     
    The non-theist Christian in me recognises the biblical Christmas story as early Christian writers trying to come to terms with the person of Jesus that they encountered as an adult, attributing supernatural circumstances around his birth befitting one perceived to be the Son of God.
     
    At the same time, the cartoonist in me loves the pure ridiculousness of the story with its travelling stars, hosts of angels and bizarre characters. Over the coming fortnight I'll be posting a few more such cartoons, which I hope will help connect you more to the real meaning of Christmas, rather than the manufactured glop that will continue its bombardment over the coming weeks.
     
    Meanwhile, Nelson Mandela died this week. There have been many cartoon tributes to this great man published already so I don't think I could anything profound – cartoon-wise – to what's already out there. However, it certainly has been on my mind, not coincidentally for the fact that we are about to celebrate the birth and life of another revolutionary figure.
     
    There's no doubt that the life of Nelson Mandela created a turning point in human history, and it would be fascinating to see how he is remembered in 2000 years from now. There will be many songs at his funeral this week and I would not be surprised if there are still songs sung about him in millennia to come. Who knows? Mandela Day may become as significant a celebration as Christmas.
     
    Surviving 27 years in prison and emerging to go on to defeat a dehumanising societal system and lead a nation, while inspiring millions across the planet to learn from his example should surely qualify for an annual festival of peace and goodwill to all.
     
    In any case, I hope you find your own meaning of Christmas over the coming fortnight, and I'll look forward to sharing a few more cartoons that connect with that.

  • Pun Love III

    Pun Love III

    2 December 2013

     

     

    One of the joys of cartooning is realising you've hit on an idea completely unexpectedly in the midst of an everyday conversation. The above cartoon is such an example, and so my 13-year old son Ari deserves a co-writing credit for it. 

    We're still slowly working on launching his own cartoon site at some point in the future, but for the moment, check out some more of Ari's own cartoons here, here and here

     

     

  • Messed Up

    Messed Up

    4 November 2013

     

    It might not be immediately obvious, but the above cartoon is a small homage to one of my favourite musicians of all time; Lou Reed, one of the founding members of the Velvet Underground, and an accomplished solo artist in his own right, who died last week aged 71.

    The first Lou Reed song I ever remember hearing was 'Dirty Boulevard' from his 1989 album 'New York'. As a pastor's kid who had grown up immersed in church culture, the lyrics of that song about poverty and degradation on a New York street were a million miles away from anything even remotely familiar to my own experience (read them here, if you don't know them.) But together with the simple, driving three-chord blues rock tune it resonated with me in a way that few songs before that had. Its music and message was raw truth, and it sounded awesome.
     
    Lou himself was a bit messed up because of the electro-shock therapy he was given as a teenager to try and 'cure' his bisexuality. As a result, his songs were often messed up – lyrically, thematically and musically – be it the cacophonous noise generated by the Velvet Underground in my favourite song of theirs, 'Heroin', or his downright bizarre album 'Metal Machine Music – right up to the much derided collaborative project 'Lulu' that Lou recorded with metal band Metallica (a five star record in my opinion.)
     
    His music was never perfect, and that's the way Lou liked it. He could be noisy, or tender, or straight-up cool, but there was always that core of truth that resonated in his music; life is messed up, but it can also be beautiful.
     
    I will miss hearing new music from Lou Reed, but I will always savour that which he did provide in his time on this earth. Here's to Lou, and the beautiful messy music he created.   
  • The Kraken

    17 October 2013

  • The Lorde

    The Lorde

    13 October 2013

     

     
    The day after Lorde's song 'Royals' had hit number one on the US Billboard charts, I was walking down the main street of Auckland's city centre and saw a street evangelist standing a few metres away from a news stand that had the headline about Ella Yelich-O'Connor's success on it.
     
    He was handing out copies of a CD about how to get "saved", and he seemed to be having a tough day, because unlike Lorde's song, no-one seemed to want his CD about "the Lord" that day.
     
    I've since had a chat with the guy. His message was pretty much what I expected: "You must accept Jesus as your personal Lord and saviour if you want to go to heaven." Also, evolution is wrong, homosexuals are militant deviants and the End of Days is just around the corner.
     
    I know there is really no point suggesting to someone with the arrogance to preach such a banal, flawed worldview on a street corner that their views and approach might be worth some serious re-evaluation, but as a former fundamentalist myself, I put a word in his ear about it anyway. He said he would pray for me.
     
    Meanwhile, Lorde is still at number one on the music charts and millions are getting to appreciate her unusually thoughtful, fresh, existential lyrics and the soothing beats that accompany them. I'm one of them.
     
    Lord, save us from the banality of fundamentalism. Lorde, save us from the banality of modern pop music. 

     

     

     

  • America's Cup

    America's Cup

    22 September 2013

     

    At the time of writing this, New Zealand had just experienced it's fifth day in a row of sitting on matchpoint in the America's Cup. To say the nation's collective nerves are getting a little frayed is an understatement. Hence the bizarre (and hopefully funny) rationalisation above. 

    (Of course, refugees seeking asylum is not a laughing matter. Note my recent cartoon on this one for my views on that topic.) 

    Meanwhile, it's time to bring the Auld Mug home Team New Zealand! Hopefully nothing will stop your boat in the next race. 

  • Begging

    Begging

    19 September 2013

     

    It would be ironic if this cartoon got upvoted on Reddit. Whatever that means. 

     

     

  • Sharks

    Sharks

    12 September 2013

     

    I can't think of many culinary practices more repulsive than shark finning. What's just as repulsive is that the practice is not yet banned in New Zealand waters. However, it looks like that's about to change soon, if pressure groups can get the message through to the Government. 

    Meanwhile, I love what Wellington street artists BMD have done to draw attention to this issue in their home town. 

    A 50m by 6m mural painted at 4.00am in the morning? That puts this cartoon to shame. 

     

     

     

  • Old Macdonald

    Old Macdonald

    6 September 2013

     

    One of the best pieces of cartooning advice I ever received was simply, "Violate a cliche." 

    See above! 

  • The Next Level

    The Next Level

    4 September 2013

     
    I can't count the number of times I see this cliché used in business circles every day.
     
    Whenever I hear it, I think of that line from Inigo Montoya in 'The Princess Bride'; “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
     
    Taking something to the next level is certainly a good intention, but what does it really involve?
     
    For a business, it's most likely massive effort, commitment, risk and definitely some pain. It could piss people off, and could potentially be the end of a career as you know it.
     
    It's definitely not about making minor tweaks to maintain your position and stay in the same place.
     
    I love to see things taken to another level. There should be more of it, and I am truly in awe of those who do what's necessary to do so.
     
    If you're genuinely working to take something in your life to another level right now, know that you rock.
     
    For those who are just using the words but not really doing the work needed to get there (and I'm talking to myself as much as anyone here), I'll borrow another great movie quote, this time from 'Zombieland'.
     
    Nut up or shut up.

     

  • Selfie

    Selfie

    30 August 2013

     

    There's a reason they call it an "i" phone.

  • GCSB!

    GCSB!

    21 August 2013

     

    There's something very fishy going on in New Zealand's parliament today ...

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