The 2008 Magazine Cartoonists’ Olympic Games

As I understand it, Beijing is completely sold out. This doesn’t bother me in the least, since my plans are to attend the Magazine Cartoonists’ Olympic Games next month in Holy Toledo, Ohio (Not to be confused with Toledo, Ohio, which is an actual place.) I got my tickets way in advance. (Surprisingly easy, compared to getting tickets for the Beijing thing.) I’m very excited.

Here’s the lineup of events:

Ink-Slinging, in which cartoonists attempt to throw ink at blank pieces of paper in such a way as to form identifiable forms which are humorous and also relevant in some way which accurately reflects the current culture.

Idea-Snatching. In this event, cartoonists attempt to grab funny cartoon ideas out of thin air, using only an imaginary net and quick reflexes.

Re-Cycling. Cartoonists endeavor to ride their bicycles fast enough to beat one another to a pile of used but as yet unpublished ideas at the end of an arduous three-mile course.

The Reject-Toss. Contestants toss crumpled-up balls of paper containing unsuccessful ideas across a large room, attempting to hit a small wastebasket on the other side.

The Clichéathon.
Cartoonists run as fast as possible through a collection various tired, old cartoon setups, such as doctor’s offices, cocktail parties, deserts, or islands, attempting to draw a reasonably funny cartoon based on each cliché.

The Caption-Toss. Editors rip perfectly good captions off of new cartoon ideas and throw the remaining drawings into the stands, where the fans devour them.

Drawing-Table Tennis. A pair of cartoonists bat ideas back and forth across a drawing table until the ideas become completely unrecognizable and devoid of humor.

Pencil-Fencing. Two contestants are armed, one with a recently sharpened number two pencil and the other with a big Xacto knife. They attempt to prove which weapon is mightier.

Deadline-Sweating. Contestants start on Wednesday morning and race to get their batches done by 2pm the following Tuesday afternoon. During this process, they collect their accumulated perspiration in buckets provided for this purpose. The cartoonist with the least amount of buckets wins.

Napping and Noting. Participants sleep throughout the day, waking only to make notes of great ideas which occur to them in the form of dreams. Winners are those who actually have great ideas (And coherent handwriting) at the end of the day.

Idea-Wrestling. Each contestant is paired with a muscular but brainless opponent who thinks he’s a comic genius. The cartoonist must manage to manipulate the opponent’s bad ideas so that they appear to be good ideas, or at the very least, publishable.

A Note:

In past years, there have been some questions about the participants in these games allegedly using drugs to enhance their performance. Due to these abuses, the consumption of alcoholic beverages, marijuana, and caffeine are now forbidden by the International Magazine Cartoonists Olympic Committee. Though the committee must be given credit for its desire to clean up our profession’s image, its policies in this regard have had the unfortunate effect of severely decreasing the list of potential competitors.


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