The Lance rarely ran cartoons, save for the editorial cartoon. This was not always the case. A Lance volunteer named Frank for a few years used to run a cartoon strip in The Lance called "Berlingier". Not only was the art very bad and very one dimensional, but the strip was never funny and never seemed to have a point. Most of the strips were concerned with a character named Berlingier who spent a great deal of time in a canoe discussing things with a motley collection of friends. Most of Berlingier's friends were Italian bricklayers. The Berlingier character would get into arguments with them, shake his fist at them and then order them out of his canoe. Although it was fairly easy to take offense with Frank's stereotypical depictions of Italians, the strip was so void of intelligence, it was clear the artist himself was too stupid to mean anything malicious. To him, that's what Italians were like. You got into arguments with them and you ordered them out of your canoe. Berlingier ran for a couple years in The Lance until Frank retired it so he could work on his novel, a western no less. I think Berlingier enjoyed such a "long" run in The Lance because the editors could use Berlingier to keep other aspiring G.B. Trudeaus at bay. Instead of having to tell a cartoonist his proposed strip sucks and his jokes are racist/sexist/homophobic, the editor could point to Berlingier and say "Sorry, that position has been filled".
The cartoons depicted here, then, are close approximations of the cretinous kind of work students offered The Lance. Either they were very bad sex jokes or they were filled with gratuitous violence and gore.
You can see why a cartoon about easily enraged Italians squatting in canoes lasted as long as it did.
The year before we had a bit of a run in with an aspiring G.B. Trudeau that nearly turned into a hostage situation. Some rather large, imposing "I won't take no" fellow brought some sample comics up to The Lance for the editor to see. He assumed they were hilarious and the editor would recognize his comic genius. I believe most of the comics revolved around penetrating women with weird-looking dildos. The editor was quite horrified and told him it wasn't the sort of material that would normally run in The Lance. Instead of packing up his cartoons and concentrating on his kinesiology degree, he demanded to know who the editor's boss was. There had to be a higher authority that could overrule the newspaper's editor-in-chief. The editor said "well, we are a democratically run paper, you are free to come to the next staff meeting, show your comics, and if the staff likes them, we'll vote. If the vote is in your favor, I'll run your cartoons."
Sure enough, the lummox showed up with his cartoons. They were as offensive to the staff as they were to the editor. He lost the vote by a wide margin. Still he would not accept defeat. He cornered The Lance's news editor Jennifer Johnson in her office and would not let her leave her own office until she looked at every comic and explained exactly what was unsuitable about each.
The closest The Lance ever came to getting shut down was actually because of a comic run by the editor, The Legendary Kevin Johnson. Kevin had this front page wire story about the high rate of unemployment among students. It was fairly dry and Kevin wanted to spice it up with some humor. He commissioned resident Lance artist Sarah Atkinson to dash off a picture of a stickman man being crucified on a cross with another stickman man at the foot of the cross looking up. The man at the foot of the cross says to the man on the cross "Why doncha get a real job?" to which the crucified man responds "What, and get outta show biz?".
Kevin picks up the story:
"Well, you would have thought the crucified man was supposed to be Jesus Christ by the uproar that ensued. I never received more angry hate mail and/or phone calls. And I still think that cartoon was funny."
I believe this was the same year they had released the movie The Last Temptation of Christ and Christ figures were big box office.
During Kevin's reign he
also ran a comic strip by a volunteer named Matt Romain. Matt's strip was
about a high school math teacher he didn't like. Now one of the tricks of
cartoonists is if they portray a real person, they either make that real
person into an animal or at least change the person's name to something like
Orson. Matt decided to stick with the teacher's actual name. He did, however,
make the teacher seem fatter and stupider than he was.
All stuff copyright 1990-2002 TransMetaPhysical Heresies R Us
(a subdivision of The Karl Mamer and Terry Brown Foundation for Creative Penury)
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