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COMMENTARY
(Mike Allen)

(Editor’s Note: Nearly every Sunday, we will publish cartoons paired with bursts of creative writing in an attempt to provide space for artists and creatives who have something to share beyond the realm of hard journalism. To contribute to Sunday Funday, please e-mail editorial@nondoc.com.)


 

With any good examination of a subject, I feel simplicity and efficiency are the most important elements in explaining an idea. Comedians know this; often shortening things down to just one line to make a point. Single-panel cartoonists have known this, too: creating an easily-digestible morsel out of a complex situation has wide appeal, especially as our news has become a revolving door with ever-increasing speed.

However, with modernity’s high turnover of information, is there any room for lasting thoughts? Lasting images? I believe a social cartoon can be concurrently a fleeting bit of humor and a profound statement, even as it fights for space among memes and shares.

Hello, my name is Mike Allen, and I like to draw. As simple as that sounds, when I accepted the challenge of making cartoons for NonDoc, my first thought was to evaluate the state of cartooning in the modern world. What is its place? Can it deliver the same punch of a statement that it once could? Does it need to?

It’s been some years since I’ve made any published cartoons. I met my editor here the better part of a decade ago when print media were still in the heavyweight division of news sources. We were doing similar work for The Oklahoma Daily at the time, but things were fairly routine — that is to say, our job descriptions were laid out long before we were born.
The Internet and digital media, while not exactly the wild west they once were, offer new experiences and innovation, along with new hurdles. I hope to explore these challenges in Sunday Funday, NonDoc’s weekend attempt at something lighter and more creative.

How will this look? How will it be received? Who will contribute?

I look forward to answering all of these questions, even if the results are occasionally silly or fleeting.

– Mike Allen


Freight Cars on Railways

by Brenton Edward

Freight cars on railways bellow blues and purples, not to drone but to sing. The steaming chant hums rich from their stomachs in chords only known by steel on steel. Again and always a waltz not forced; chosen. Subtly urging, then calm again. Always calm. Putting children to bed who listen unknowingly to lyrics of southern pastorals and Appalachian proverbs, all in three-count rhythm — a count for every abandoned home and a count for every forgotten town where their rails rest … a count for every sunrise felt against tireless, shivering sides.

In their hollowness and their hope, who am I to tell them there are no golden spikes anymore?