Kliban, Tooth and Claw
February 4, 2007 12:57 AM   Subscribe

As a teenager, Bernard "Hap" Kliban joked about wanting to join the Air Force to strafe civilians. Instead, he became a fabulously successful cartoonist best known for his Cats. But his non-cat work was perhaps more influential, and certainly funnier. Gallery 1, gallery 2, gallery 3. (many NSFW)
posted by maryh (33 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
My personal favorite. I can't remember the first time I saw it, but I still remember many of the situations in which I burst out laughing inappropriately because this damn cartoon popped into my head.
posted by maryh at 1:01 AM on February 4, 2007

I used to think of Larson as deeply original until I saw Kliban. Is this really Kliban? I'd swear its a Larson cartoon right down to the eyeglasses she's wearing.
posted by vacapinta at 1:04 AM on February 4, 2007

Thankyouthankyouthankyou. Those gave me a boner.

Especially the one maryh pointed out. "Oh, no. What a gracious hostess, though I possibly couldn't."
posted by sourwookie at 1:14 AM on February 4, 2007

There's certainly a Kliban influence on Gary Larson, but Larson's cartoons were so consistently funny over such a long stretch I don't think you can discount his talent.
And I wonder if Kliban was influenced by another, though lesser appreciated great, M. K. Brown.
posted by maryh at 1:22 AM on February 4, 2007

"less appreciated", that is
posted by maryh at 1:23 AM on February 4, 2007

Some of these are oddly Gorey-like too.
posted by hattifattener at 1:25 AM on February 4, 2007

In regard to what vacapinta said, Something fishy is definitely going on. This comic can be found in the artist sketches page in The Prehistory of the Far Side. So, either whoever runs their website has their data confused or...

Funny, making this comment is what finally got me around the hurdle of registering for mefi.
posted by griphus at 1:54 AM on February 4, 2007

Uh oh. I might be completely wrong on that accusation. The presence of the word 'shit' tipped me off right after I made the comment. None of his sketches contained obscenity, or if they did, they wouldn't they print it (even in a rejected comics compilation) in something as (generally) family-friendly as The Far Side. It may very well be properly attributed to Kliban in this book.

If anyone with a copy of either could verify, that would be great. I don't have either anymore.
posted by griphus at 2:04 AM on February 4, 2007

Welcome to the Thunderdome, griphus!
posted by maryh at 2:09 AM on February 4, 2007

The 27 Nov 2006 New Yorker had a small portfolio of previously unpublished Kliban pieces, under the title "Kliban's World."
posted by goetter at 2:09 AM on February 4, 2007

vacapinta and griphus: Both comics you pointed to are absolutely Kliban's work. (And welcome, griphus!)

maryh: There's a great attempt to deconstruct the pig cartoon here.
posted by waxpancake at 2:13 AM on February 4, 2007

That's a great link, waxpancake. Especially when you apply it to something like the New Yorker caption contest.

Then again, any guy who sticks a funnel in a pig's ass certainly is an asshole.
posted by griphus at 2:21 AM on February 4, 2007

maryh, M K Brown. Thank you, I had forgotten!

I remember seeing her cartoons in National Lampoon, thirty-some-odd years ago. I don't remember them being hysterically funny, but there was something intriguing about her pen work, primarily, the lines left out

She was the first artist I'd ever encountered in ink-work who satisfied some weird tic in the eye with her annoyingly attractive use of white space.

(I cannot describe it any better than that)
posted by mmrtnt at 2:27 AM on February 4, 2007

Ha! I just called my cartoon-obsessed husband over to look at the funnel pig scenario, and he thought it would make the perfect New Yorker Caption Contest entry. It's like the Sword in the Stone of captionless cartoons. Perhaps someday, a man or woman will come along with a caption worthy of it, and that person shall rule us all.
posted by maryh at 2:34 AM on February 4, 2007

"And you shall feet water your sow"?

Nice stuff, maryh. My favorite was the cat playing guitar:
"Love them little mousies,
Mousies what I love to eat,
Chew they little heads off,
Nibble on they tiny feet"

posted by hal9k at 3:43 AM on February 4, 2007

I don't get it.
posted by Catfry at 5:38 AM on February 4, 2007

There goes that rotten Halley's Comet.
It makes me sick, I want to vomit!
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:11 AM on February 4, 2007

I picked up copies of Tiny Footprints and Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head at a used bookstore years ago as a kid. Not as consistent as some of the more well-known cartoonists, but the funny ones were really funny. Besides, jokes with naked chicks are automatically funnier to a thirteen-year-old, and I had yet to discover Bill Plympton. I had no idea they were out of print, and I'm glad I never got rid of them.
posted by ErWenn at 7:23 AM on February 4, 2007

Mousie dung!
Kliban is high on the list of things that made my junior high years suck less. I still have my Cat pillowcases.
posted by pernoctalian at 7:37 AM on February 4, 2007

I like these two. Dilute Truth and Mixed Justice, indeed.
posted by felix grundy at 8:03 AM on February 4, 2007

posted by felix grundy at 8:06 AM on February 4, 2007

hal9k beat me to my favorite quote, so I'll just say "Hey ottist! Paint dis!"
posted by jessenoonan at 8:47 AM on February 4, 2007

Thank you for an exquisite visual depiction of my present situation.
posted by squalor at 9:26 AM on February 4, 2007

Looks like maybe Seth McFarlane has seen one or two of Kilban's comics as well.
posted by pinespree at 9:28 AM on February 4, 2007

I have always admired Kliban for his cultural literacy that comes across in sly, bizarre ways in his cartoons, and for his use of the word "qat" which is how I've spelled "cat" ever since seeing it in print.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:01 AM on February 4, 2007

Dirty Fat Person Sits On Presidents Face

Oh, thank you. I was worried about this post at first. "WTF? Pepsi... cat?" Eat your heart out Far Side, Bizarro and Parking Lot is Full, all of you.
posted by loquacious at 10:25 AM on February 4, 2007

This guy reminds me of the late great Parking Lot is Full. Another excellent fucked up comic.
posted by Mach5 at 10:59 AM on February 4, 2007

Great post!
posted by interrobang at 11:30 AM on February 4, 2007

posted by exlotuseater at 11:47 AM on February 4, 2007

That's weird. Because I remember that sketch from one of the Kliban books I bought in jr. high (actually, I shoplifted it from Alpha Beta in a desperate cry for attention & still have it -- shhhh.)... and that was WAY pre-Gary Larson.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:19 PM on February 4, 2007

There's another couple Kliban posts on MeFi, which was what always kept me from posting again. That and the ColdBacon and Blackjelly sites have been down intermittently.

Still, if there's any cartoonist I could be like, Kliban would be it.
posted by klangklangston at 12:45 PM on February 4, 2007

posted by jtron at 2:30 PM on February 4, 2007

My cat is fat
And now I'll dine
And eat all up
this cat of mine!
posted by Snyder at 9:43 AM on February 5, 2007

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