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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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New Bullet Cartoons are Missing Old Flair

BY JUSTIN TONEY

As a comic junkie, the first thing I check in any paper is the funny page. The Bullet has a mixed history of illustrated humor.

My favorite period of Bullet comics is what I like to call the “Stone Age” in honor of Stone Ferrell. It fell somewhere between the age of (Austin) Cobb with its “Drunk Man” impotence and the current mutant babbling of the (Steve) Karkos era.

Stone’s artistic ability was just what the Bullet needed. His sense of humor, while sometimes too out of the box for… anyone, made him a minor celebrity on campus.

Former President Frawley on a tricycle with a blown-out tire, a pair of mischievous squirrels getting Mark Warner to say “Balls,” and an Eskimo ice fishing in a pet store had readers laughing.

Though nobody understood why that one penguin missed Morgan Freeman so much, even when Ferrell’s comics were not understood, they could be appreciated for their topical, unique humor that appeared fresh every week.

Ferrell’s drawings were hung on walls all over campus in a way that hadn’t been seen since the Bullet called Matt Czapiewski (class of 2007) their cartoonist.

In 2005, it was rare to see a comic in the Bullet at all. Czapiewski published inconsistently, but when he did the comic was sure to end up pinned to dorm and office walls. Faculty and students alike loved his tiny, often disturbing, narratives of dinosaurs rampaging on their first day of school or a wife’s “strike three” for scrambled eggs.

Czapiewski’s attempt at web-comic publishing made all his drawings pixilated, but couldn’t hold back the humor.

The current cartoonist, conversely, has clearly typed text and high-resolution drawings but lacks the humor of the likes of Ferrell and Czapiewski. Karkos has been at it since last fall after the nom de plume of Julius Twain came and went like Super-RA or the life span of a keg-midget.

There is hope yet, though. Karkos has all spring to impress… or maybe you, Bullet readers, should give it a shot.

Justin Toney is a senior.

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