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Preview of Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee

Sample of Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee
The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee © John Hambrock. Used by permission of King Features. All Rights Reserved.

I received the sales kit for John Hambrock’s The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee Thursday and with permission from King Features, I wanted to show you a bit about the new feature and share my initial first impressions.

Those that complain that features launched in the last few years have been amateurishly drawn (Unfit and Pearls Before Swine being the poster children of this feared trend) need not worry about John’s new feature. As you can see from the last panel of a Sunday strip, Edison Lee is drawn very well. Back when I posted the story regarding this feature’s launch there was some discussion in the comments about whether John’s feature was a Calvin and Hobbes knock off (young child talking an animal, pontificating on social issues, etc.). After reading the first month’s worth of material, I’m not too worried about the Calvin and Hobbes similarities. This feature will be able to stand on its own and the social commentary in Edison Lee will make Calvin look like a Neo-con.

Regarding its social/political commentary, it is unmistakably left of center and frequent. The promotional material describe this as “a pinch of science, a drop of politics, and a grain of absurdity,” but make no mistake – this is a political feature. Those strips (like the one above) may use science, but mostly as a vehicle to make a political comment. The one thought I had on it’s political premise is where editors are going to place the strip? By having the main character an adorable 10-year old kid – it hardly seems like this feature would be appropriate next to Mallard Fillmore or State of the Union on the opinion page, but this strip may be too partisan to sit next to Garfield. It will be interesting to see how editors approach this. None of the papers I read here in Salt Lake City run Scott Stantis’ Prickly City, a similar, though conservative feature, so I’m not sure where Prickly City ends up. I think this feature may become the antithesis to Mallard Fillmore – the left’s daily reinforcement that those on the Right are spawns of Satan – just as those who read Mallard think that those on the left are.

All in all, I think this feature has some staying power.

Community Comments

#1 Charles Brubaker
November/6/2006
@ 12:17 am

Looks good. I’ll look forward to it.

#2 Jeff
November/6/2006
@ 6:41 am

Too bad it’s such a politicized feature, as I believe the same feature minus the politics could go a long way toward bringing those “younger readers” in that we keep hearing newspapers want. It’s a real shame that the comics page can no longer be about entertainment, but has to be the equivalent of an editorial cartoon series in order to get an editor’s attention. And since you brought up Prickly City and Mallard Fillmore, may I say in comparison that at least Prickly City does have some entertainment value, while IMHO Mallard Fillmore should never see ink beyond the op-ed page. Too often, Mallard is seen as the antithesis of Doonesbury, and it’s just… not. Anyway, looking at your sample, I would say health insurance premiums are everyone’s problem, not just the left, so maybe there’s some hope for this feature yet.

#3 Charles Brubaker
November/6/2006
@ 7:39 am

Jeff,

It’s funny, that the existance of comics itself is pretty much thanks to political satire, when artists used this medium to make fun of political enviroment with what would become editorial cartoons.

Comic Strips with political message had been around since, well ever. Look at some strips considered “classics”, like “Yellow Kid”, which had social commentary; “Little Orphan Annie”, which was against FDR’s “New Deal” policy; “Pogo” went after Joseph McCarthy; “Li’l Abner” preached liberal (later conservative) messages during its run, and that’s just starters.

Generally, political strips doesn’t bother me (although in my case, it’s because I am political) but while people are free to disagree with the notion of politics being discussed at all in the comics page, one thing’s for sure, it is not a new thing.

#4 Rob
November/6/2006
@ 12:08 pm

There’s just been way too much politics/social commetary in the regular comic pages lately and not enough simply funny, non preachy humor. Most people read the comics to escape for a minute or two from the worries of everyday life.

#5 Mooncity
November/6/2006
@ 2:01 pm

Hmmm… Charles makes an excellent point here, which I hadn’t considered. Maybe it’s an okay thing to have one or two “editorial” strips on the funny page, the same as we have Mary Worth and The Phantom. But all too often, these things oughtta be on the op-ed pages (MF and Doonesbury in particular). From what I’ve seen, I like the art style. Maybe we’ll be fortunate and the strip will lean away from the wackier fringes of politics and be entertaining in its own right.

Oh, by the way, my C & H reference in the previous article had more to do with the influence of Watterson’s style on the sample art, not that I saw this as a knock-off of some type.

;D

#6 Jeff
November/6/2006
@ 7:21 pm

Editorial cartoons had their roots in social commentary, as most early American newspapers were begun by partisan political parties, groups, and individuals. But just as capitalists began buying newspapers to create a profitable business, and just as journalistic excellence came to be about non-partisanship, so too did newspaper cartoons move into the entertainment field with the advent of the comic strip. Newspaper visionaries such as Hearst and Patterson worked with cartoonists to create what became wildly popular comic features designed to draw people to the newspapers as a way of increasing sales. There was also an element of competiveness involved. So the comic strip was not borne of the editorial cartoon, but of the entertainment business. Yes, Annie and Abner did offer *some* social commentary but it could be weeks and even months before it cropped up, as it was not considered a purpose of the strips. This was before multiplexes, TV series, comic books, and even radio series. The point was that they were offering a mass entertainment that could not be found anywhere else. Comic strips still remain a medium created primarily for newspapers, yet newspapers have treated them badly. Long live the Internet as the new medium for comic strips.

#7 C Green
January/3/2007
@ 12:21 pm

Edison Lee is a predictable and repetitive strip without imagination. How many times can you reprhrase a joke about how poorly you think the government is mismanaged? If I want to hear the regular rantings about overspending or bad policies, I’ll visit the editorial page. Keep Edison Lee out of my comics.

#8 Anne Shirley
January/28/2007
@ 7:59 am

The misinformation promulgated in the 1-28-07 comic strip of “Edison Lee” is so inaccurate, incorrect and painfully partisan that I feel compelled to attempt reasoning with Mr. Hambrock. Are you an older citizen on the Medicare Part D plan? I think not because surely your dramatic savings would preclude such a ridiculous premise. I realize it’s just a cartoon, but I fear for your state of mind. There are plenty of issues on which the government could do better. Why choose one that is a quiet success benefiting thousands of people? Please get out of your lock-step leftism and admit that sometimes the present administration does something right. Don’t try to mess it up for those of us who need this enlightened program. We can buy groceries or help with a grandchild’s education with what we save.

#9 Cartoonist Lurker
January/28/2007
@ 2:40 pm

Anne, this administration’s medicare plan, strongarmed through by Republican leadership bullies in an shocking middle-of -the-night session, is nothing more than a shocking
waste of taxpayer dollars and a pure and monumentally huge giveaway to drug companies.

To make it ILLEGAL for the govt. to negotiate for lower drug prices? How much more direct a pickpocketing of the taxpayer to further enrichen Merck, Pfizer, et al one could one imagine?

It’s an immoral disaster that needs immediate scuttling.

#10 Premnath Kudva
February/4/2007
@ 9:37 pm

This is actually is a very well drawn and well written comic strip, comparable to Retail. Even though I am not an American and nor in the US I am able to fully relate to it.

#11 alex hend
February/24/2007
@ 12:05 pm

Hey, heres somthing interesting: http://www.2theadvocate.com

The paper’s having a poll on wheaher to keep Cathy or Edison.

I personally think people should vote Edison. I mean, I read the guy’s bio, it took him 15 years to get syndicated, 6 of which was spent on this strip. He deserves some support.

#12 Keegan Hambrock
April/2/2007
@ 5:30 pm

Yo,its me Keegan Hambrock……type back….

#13 Pantagraph Blogs
November/7/2007
@ 12:05 pm

[…] (You heard it here first: In place of FoxTrot, the Pantagraph will be picking up a brand-new strip, “The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee” by John […]

#14 Jeffrey Dunham
March/17/2009
@ 11:50 am

Greatest comic alive, except Get Fuzzy

I am impressed.

Content is perfect, stick with political humor and whatever, it’s great

Ignore liberals as you please, they are just headed for the lake of fire anyways!

Gr8

#15 Rick Stromoski
March/17/2009
@ 1:34 pm

>>>Ignore liberals as you please, they are just headed for the lake of fire anyways!

Wasn’t Jesus a liberal?

#16 Mark Tatulli
March/17/2009
@ 2:26 pm

And he definitely was a socialist

#17 Lucas Turnbloom
March/17/2009
@ 3:58 pm

He certainly redistributed the moneychangers’ wealth — all over the temple!

Ba bum bum!!

Thank you. I’m here all day, folks.

#18 RS Davis
March/17/2009
@ 8:23 pm

“Wasn?t Jesus a liberal?”

Hmmm…remind me not to stand anywhere next to you when it thunderstorms…

#19 Wiley Miller
March/18/2009
@ 6:32 am

>>?Wasn?t Jesus a liberal??

Hmmm?remind me not to stand anywhere next to you when it thunderstorms?<<

So…. Jesus = Thor? I really don’t understand that response.
Oh, and you might want to look up the word, “liberal” in the dictionary.

#20 Rick Stromoski
March/18/2009
@ 9:18 am

>>>So?. Jesus = Thor?

That sounds about right…they’re both mythological characters that wielded hammers.

#21 Josh McDonald
March/18/2009
@ 10:02 am

Somehow I just don’t see Thor as a liberal…

#22 Wiley Miller
March/18/2009
@ 11:25 am

That’s pretty much the point, Josh.

#23 Jim Lavery
March/18/2009
@ 11:48 am

But was he a Socialist?

#24 Wiley Miller
March/18/2009
@ 12:27 pm

“But was he a Socialist?”

No, I’m pretty sure Thor wasn’t a socialist.

#25 Lucas Turnbloom
March/18/2009
@ 12:28 pm

Thor was a communist. You know, because of the hammer thing.

#26 Josh McDonald
March/18/2009
@ 12:38 pm

Thor was an antidisestablishmentarianist.

#27 Aaron Taylor
March/18/2009
@ 12:40 pm

Thor was a Liberian? I thought he was Scandonavian…

#28 Joe Rank
March/18/2009
@ 1:26 pm

Carrying such a big hammer, I would bet on serious plumber’s crack.
Probably why he WAS thor.

( From previous comments, it would seem that some are suffering from Irish flu today. That green beer will do it everytime! )

#29 Josh McDonald
March/18/2009
@ 1:35 pm

It wasn’t green.

At least the first few weren’t.

After that it was hard to tell…

#30 Mike Peterson
March/18/2009
@ 4:22 pm

Jesus was a capitalist.

No, wait … Jesus was a Capricorn.

At least, that’s what Bobbie told me, that night in the truck …

#31 RS Davis
March/18/2009
@ 9:06 pm

“So?. Jesus = Thor? I really don?t understand that response.
Oh, and you might want to look up the word, ?liberal? in the dictionary.”

So?. Wiley = Bill Maher? I actually do understand your response.
Oh, and you might want to look up “blasphemy” in the dictionary.

#32 Mike Peterson
March/19/2009
@ 3:37 am

“Oh, and you might want to look up ?blasphemy? in the dictionary.”

Last weekend, I talked a nun into giving up her vows. Especially that one.

I don’t know if she had any fun, but it was a blasphemy.

#33 Wiley Miller
March/19/2009
@ 7:05 am

“Oh, and you might want to look up ?blasphemy? in the dictionary.”

You do know that you can on blaspheme your own religion, don’t you? Looks like someone needs to spend a lot more time with their dictionary to actually understand the words they throw around when spouting political rhetoric.

#34 Josh McDonald
March/19/2009
@ 7:35 am

And just to build on Wiley’s point: A Christian suggesting that Jesus might throw lightning bolts at people seems like a perfect example of blasphemy, doesn’t it?

#35 RS Davis
March/19/2009
@ 7:38 am

“Last weekend, I talked a nun into giving up her vows. Especially that one.

I don?t know if she had any fun, but it was a blasphemy.”

Nun kanoodling = blasphemy?
Not sure how getting a nun to drop a habit equates to blasphemy.

You do know that you can on blaspheme your own religion, don?t you? Looks like someone needs to spend a lot more time with their dictionary to actually understand the words they throw around when spouting political rhetoric.”

Ha ha ha! I was wrong, you actually can be funny!

#36 RS Davis
March/19/2009
@ 7:50 am

“And just to build on Wiley?s point: A Christian suggesting that Jesus might throw lightning bolts at people seems like a perfect example of blasphemy, doesn?t it?”

This is hilarious.
extremist.So let me get this straight…
I make a joke about lightening.
Wiley takes that, makes an obviously disrespectful comment equating Jesus Christ with a silly mythical figure and then slams me with an arrogant, condescending remark.

I then respond with a similiarly toned response in order to highlight to him the rather tacky attitude his comment reeked of.

And now,as a result, *I* am the religous extremist mischaracterizing Jesus & Christianity and am blaspheming?!?

LOL!!! Bwa ha ha!!
You guys oughta be acrobatic stunt pilots! You can fly a double standard upside down, sideways and backwards like no one I’ve ever seen!! Ha ha ha ha!

#37 Wiley Miller
March/19/2009
@ 8:26 am

“And now,as a result, *I* am the religous extremist mischaracterizing Jesus & Christianity and am blaspheming?!?”

Actually, yes. Such is the irony of your posts.

#38 Josh McDonald
March/19/2009
@ 8:30 am

Okay, first of all I don’t see where anyone has called anybody here a religious extremist.

Secondly, Wiley’s “obviously disrespectful comment equating Jesus Christ with a silly mythical figure” was nothing more than a logical extension of your joke. If his comment was disrespectful, so was the joke from which it arose.

That’s all I’m saying.

#39 Alan Gardner
March/19/2009
@ 8:37 am

And before this conversation continues.. what in the H does any of this have to do with The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee?

Trade e-mails and take this offline please.

#40 Rick Stromoski
March/19/2009
@ 8:56 am

Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

email: soup2nutz@cox.net

#41 Josh McDonald
March/19/2009
@ 9:17 am

I don’t mind moving the discussion over to my forum:

http://askrachelcomic.ning.com/

A spirited religious debate might liven things up a bit.

#42 Wiley Miller
March/19/2009
@ 10:42 am

“what in the H does any of this have to do with The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee?”

Because, Mr. Gardner, clearly Edison Lee is a liberal, Thor-worshiping blasphemer. I thought that was obvious.

#43 Anne Hambrock
March/19/2009
@ 11:45 am

Geez guys – I leave the room for a couple of days and come back to find everyone jumping on the beds! What’s a liberal Thor-worshipping blaspheming mother to do?!

I think we should all pack our lightning bolts as we head out for the bars in Hollywood:)

#44 Rich Diesslin
March/19/2009
@ 11:53 am

No thread shall go unpunished Alan. Perhaps you should consider aging some of these out of the archive. This thread started in Nov 2006 for cryin’ out loud. At least it’s not another save Mary Worth post! This whole turn is a hoot though.

#45 J Read
March/19/2009
@ 1:14 pm

Jeez, John Hambrook, is this sort of controversy going to follow you to “Stay Tooned!” when you join our regular contributors? Oops – am I allowed to say “Jeez?”

#46 John Hambrock
March/19/2009
@ 3:44 pm

Don’t worry, John, my Thor-worshipping therapy seems to be helping. I expect as full recovery by June.

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