Like beauty, "bad" is in the eye of the beholder. Or in the case of BW's annual Bad Cartoon contest, just what constitutes "bad" is up to the panel of judges that selects the winning entry.
"Bad" might mean roll-your-eyes humor, it might mean slightly uncomfortable insights, or it could just be something so strange, it is undeniably intriguing. Most of all, a winning bad cartoon has to have something to say and somewhere to go, promising that readers will have something to look forward to—or dread—for 52 weeks.
This year's judging panel—BW Art Director Leila Ramella-Rader, BW Graphic Designer (and resident artist) Adam Rosenlund, longtime BW contributing cartoonist Mike Flinn, and myself—saw that kind of promise in the work submitted by Connor Coughlin, who pledges to explore the unique relationship between a man and his skeleton. We're not sure how said man will be doing much exploring without the internal support of his skeleton, but it's best not to get too wrapped up in those unfortunate scientific details.
Coughlin's work topped a diverse field of entries this year. We saw the requisite political commentary, entries that appeared to have been created after the artist took a sharp blow to the head, and a few that we're still a bit confused about. This time around, there were an unusually high number of "protest cartoons" by those who took the time to point out what a waste of time Bad Cartoon is. The funny thing about Bad Cartoon is that "bad" ain't so bad, and no one would read something called "Good Cartoon."
Check out the slideshow of images to the right to check out the winners and honorable mentions.
Don't miss BW's interview with the winner of the Eighth Annual Bad Cartoon Contest, Steve Klamm, whose work, "Dude Howdy" has run in the paper for the last year.[ Video is no longer available. ]