Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mike and Phil

Two I especially like.
© the creators

I keep finding myself steered to the cartoon web sites of Mike and Phil, meaning they are well known and this will hardly qualify as a scoop. I'm sure everyone else in Comicdom knows their whole names, so I'll pretend I know too.

I used to subscribe to the New Yorker and probably would today if it wasn't for the high pitched tone that began emitting from their editorials. Sure, every third issue was rubbish, but you could justify it on the cartoons. Since letting it lapse, I haven't gotten my fill of witty cartoons, but Mike and Phil are helping.

Phil's site is The Rut. Mike can be found at See Mike Draw. Which is all well and good: two very engaging cartoon sites, but what ties this into a tidy post is Pencils at Dawn. Using a random word generator that is apparently sensible enough not to offer up selections like "woot" or "dis," both Mike and Phil draw a cartoon inspired by the same single word. Then we get to drift through like highbrow scene makers and tell Mike and Phil, who probably don't give a damn, which one drew the superior effort.

'Cause you see, the thing is, Mike and Phil are very much on the same high plain. Either they're brilliant, and don't generate many duds; or else they exert muscle-rippling editorial discipline and display only their best stuff. 

Either way, you don't get that vague sense of ennui familiar at sites where half the cartoons are limp.

Competitions like Pencils at Dawn are precious to the informed viewer because the selected word designates a jumping off point for the creative process. Usually, we only see the end result. You find yourself trying to decipher how each one thinks. It's futile, of course, but it gives you the sensation of being present at the creation.