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Bob Erskine

Bob Erskine

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and after college I worked on archaeological digs in the Middle East. Between field seasons, I did illustrations for scholarly publications. These days I'm a painter and illustrator in Silver Spring, Md. ALL POSTS

Real Time - Entry Challenge

See Bob Erskine's entry, read what the judges had to say, and see Bob's reaction.

Garry Trudeau: "It's all about percentages. I liked three of these ... which is more than enough for me to stay interested. Style seems more New Yorker than comics page, but I mean that as a compliment. Mozart's the gem here."

Stan Lee: "Possibly the most professional-looking of all the entries. The majority of the gags are clever. If he can keep it up, this could be a viable panel that might be of interest to a newspaper syndicate."

Richard Thompson: This one was okay, though I had the feeling it was more a magazine cartoon of not quite New Yorker quality. The settings/situations were a bit generic: man on park bench, pirate, talking animals, etcetera, though some of the gags were decent. If also a bit generic.

Stephan Pastis: "This has that low-key 'New Yorker' sensibility. It's smart humor and well-drawn."

Signe Wilkinson: "Bob Erskine has boldly gone where many New Yorker cartoonists have gone before stylistically, but I liked his gags of the parrot, Mozart and the dead chicken -- though that one seems so familiar that I wouldn't be surprised if you told me there's a whole collection of exactly that joke. They just seem SO old-fashioned, that they all kind of look like we've seen them before."

"What a great experience to have legendary cartoonists look at my work and give me mostly positive feedback. Even some of the negative comments were instructive. I do feel like a total idiot for putting a whole note in 3/4 time in the Mozart cartoon. I'm related to so many musicians, I'll never live that down. I liked most of the other strips and think any of the five finalists has the potential to develop a strong presence on a comics page. That said, I'd really love to be the one who gets a shot at it."


By Bob Erskine  |  June 14, 2010; 12:58 PM ET  | Category:  Cartoonists' reactions , Entries , Garry Trudeau , Richard Thompson , Signe Wilkinson , Stan Lee , Stephan Pastis
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Previous: Hoxwinder Hall - Entry Challenge | Next: Galapagos


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Much better than Gene and Dan's attempts

Posted by: seia | July 5, 2010 5:29 PM
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Loved the doggy doo cartoon.

Where I live, everyone else seems to buy bags, or use the ones provided by the dog park. But newspaper home delivery bags are THE BEST--far superior for the purpose than anything else I have tried. Oh, grocery store bagel bags work well, too. I can't decide what to give up--bagels or newspaper home delivery? There's the dilemma.... Well done.

Posted by: martymar123 | July 5, 2010 10:12 AM
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Looked the quality of the drawings. I am not concerned about the NYM style. Some good humor, has potential.

Posted by: marlendale | June 24, 2010 12:08 PM
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I guess it didn't come out right - I don't consider these looking like "New Yorker" cartoons to be a bad thing. One of these days, I will rearrange my over-stuffed bookcases and get the New Yorker Cartoon anthologies.

The thing about those cartoons, though, is that they are generally not picked up for syndication. They are perceived as "too highbrow." Is that fair? No, especially when you consider the lasting impact of Charles Addams' work, which rose to prominence mostly because of his New Yorker strips.

I regret that Mr. Erskine won't win because of these biases. In which case, I hope that the New Yorker does pick him up as a featured cartoonist, because he deserves the work.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 24, 2010 11:00 AM
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So, how many people are actually fluent enough in music to notice. OR CARE?

Posted by: jimbo1949 | June 24, 2010 10:46 AM
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The one about the guy buying the newspaper only for the home delivery bags hits too close to home for you guys, doesn't it? That's the best single submission I've seen here so far.

The rest of them kind of have the "it's been done" quality, and the Mozart one in particular is a style of humor that the Post collective farm artists impose on us about six times every day, straight off the assembly line.

But you know what? The Far Side wasn't great every day, either, and Jesus, Speed Bump has been trying for ten years to find one non-pun based joke, and still hasn't succeeded. So give the man a break.

And I've been using my newspaper bags for garbage ever since I've started subscribing---the New York Times Sunday edition is good for two days' worth by itself. So I say keep this guy around for another round.

Posted by: andym108 | June 24, 2010 5:56 AM
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erskine's cartoons ARE new yorkerly. nothing wrong with that. haven't you noticed: urbane wit's in short supply in washington--and on the post's comic pages. plus, these offerings are elegantly drawn and their wit refreshingly unpredictable.

Posted by: mrmuse | June 19, 2010 5:35 PM
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I have to agree that the high-brow look of this comic becomes nothing short of pretentious when it fails so obviously as to place a whole note correctly in the Mozart gag.

Posted by: perfecthannah | June 18, 2010 2:49 PM
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I really enjoyed this set of strips, but the look and feel screams "New Yorker", not syndicated cartooning. If Mr. Erskine doesn't win, the least the Post can do is put him in touch with the right people there because he would fit right in just beautifully.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | June 16, 2010 12:09 PM
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(Am I disqualified from commenting because I submitted a strip...and was ignored?)

I like his style, and his humor is pretty good too. Unlike the other snarky comment, I didn't care whether the time bar was right, or not. I thought it was clever.
In my top 3.

Posted by: InkSlingerz | June 16, 2010 11:13 AM
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I tend to agree with Signe but am less impressed. The panels reek of The New Yorker and not in a particularly good way. And the panels do feel old fashioned. If, for example, the phrase 'snail mail' were new, I'd say 'clever job', but since it's not, my reaction is 'meh'.

Note to the cartoonist. Mozart would never put a whole note in a 3/4 time bar, as a whole note is 4 beats. If you want to be clever, get the details right. My reaction to this one was more about the cartoonist's lack of musical knowledge than his attempts at humor.

Posted by: MsJS | June 16, 2010 9:43 AM
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