Lines and Colors art blog

B. Kliban cartoons on the web

B. Kliban cartoons
Much to my delight, and considerable surprise, GoComics, the online repository of newspaper comics from both Universal and United Media syndicates, has been placing online the wonderfully off-kilter and reality-warping cartoons of B. Kliban.

If you’re not familiar with Kliban, it’s worth noting that The Far Side’s Gary Larson, Bizzarro’s Dan Piraro, the New Yorker’s Jack Ziegler, and other cartoonists who mine the veins of absurdist cartoon humor, owe much to the legacy of B. Kliban (as Kliban, in turn, owes a good deal to Saul Steinberg).

I’ll be the first to suggest that Kliban is not everyone’s cup of tea — there are times he can leave even dedicated Kliban aficionados scratching their heads — but for those of us who find delight in his tilted vision, terrible (wonderful) puns, surreal non-sequiturs and brain-stopping inversions of the normal, this is good news indeed, particularly as his publisher has long let most of his collections of drawings (they’re not always “cartoons”) languish out of print.

There is a GoComics archive of Kliban drawings from his collections (as well as some not in the collections, drawn from other sources), and a separate archive of his cat drawings, which have found a more mainstream audience.

GoComics is adding three drawings a week. I don’t know how long this will go on, as they must have a couple of hundred online already; and there are — sadly — a finite number of B. Kliban drawings in the world.

Among them are some of my all time favorite cartoons by anyone, including the one shown above, at bottom, which I’ve had on my bulletin board at various times since I was in my 20s.

For more (and another of my favorite cartoons), see my previous post on B. Kliban.

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7 responses to “B. Kliban cartoons on the web”

  1. Thanks for this Charley!

  2. He’s the father of us all, or at least some of his illegitimate cartoonist children, me among them. His cartoons were among the first to move me out of Charley Brown’s neighborhood and into another, more interesting place where Cute didn’t rule.

    1. Thanks, Mick.

      For the benefit of other readers who might be unaware, Mick Stevens has been drawing delightfully absurd and sneakily hilarious cartoons for the New Yorker and other publications for at least several decades. You can see his work here.

  3. Kliban’s cats are so funny; I sent his link to my niece who is also a humourous type of person like her father and me. The link to this musical video of a-ha is too cleverly done and drawn, I thought would belong to your collection in lines and colours (sorry, colors). Have a great day; we all deserve it.

  4. I forgot to attach the a-ha vid. Haha.

  5. Really funny stuff, all of them you cited. Totally inline with my sense of humor (which was passed on to me from my Dad).
    I must admit I lost touch with much of it when newspapers and magazines began shrinking and going under, a topic Mick Stevens talked about (I went to his site but no way to leave comments or discussion there). And the nipplegate drama… ha ha, is so amusing considering some of what IS allowed in the media these days.
    I really need to ‘get in’ more often ; )

  6. Ken Murrey Avatar
    Ken Murrey

    Kliban is one of the most astonishing cartoonists. First seen by me in Playboy, but always amazed by where he could go. In the same vein, have always loved M K Brown’s work, too. Was lucky to be diverted to Krazy Kat at art school (60s-70s), so was tempered to the stretching of imagination and language. All my Kliban’s are falling apart from constant pondrance.