Earl Sleek's Top Ten: Multi-Panel or Multi-Post

Boy, I procrastinated on this thing -- wait, I'm retiring in how many days?

Two months ago, I posted the first installment of Earl Sleek's Top Ten, in the category of Single-Panel Tribute Cartoons, and in that post I promised there'd be two more lists coming before Rudy and I made our Maya-predicted departures from blogging.

Turns out I was half right -- I've been extremely lazy since then, so whoops! This is likely the last installment of the series. Well, I've been lockout-lazy, which is a more irritated form of laziness. Other than the BoC Tryptic covers and a basketball cartoon, I really haven't drawn anything since the lockout started -- I'm more familiar now with SBNation's photo tool than I've ever been. Two months ago this list was nearly put together, and only now am I getting around to finishing it. Curse you, energy-sapping lockout!

But once upon a time, not that long ago, hockey was played during the winter months, and I blogged and cartooned about it enthusiastically. And over those non-locked-out seasons, I at times hit upon a good cartoon gag that got continued over many posts, or sometimes put together several cartoons for one heavy-effort post, or occasionally a combination of the two. And that's what this list represents -- my top ten favorite multi-panel or multi-post Sleektoons.

10. The Art of Suicide

Two statistics that are depressing me, 10/26/07

Okay, this list is going to start right off with some controversy. Some things really shouldn't be joked about -- suicide, rape (more on that later), etc. And I do get that -- I know that this image takes a heavy topic and puts too much levity around it. I've crossed a line.

But I dunno -- I like the option to be over-the-line edgy, and the joke did really capture the depression of watching the Ducks flounder after opening the season in London. And sure, there's definitely an undertone of awfulness to the joke, the real punchline is that a duck can read a book but somehow can only understand words that apply directly to his own anatomy. Funny, right?

And now I've ruined the joke already. Enjoy! :)

Ducksuicide_medium

The gag made an altered reappearance while the Ducks were eliminating the Presidents Trophy winning Sharks in 2009 -- thus its eligibility in the multi list.

It's dumb and it's awful but I'm edgy and it's funny -- I love it.

9. Logos, Separated at Birth?

Ducks Gameday—Wild logo: Separated at birth?, 4/11/07
Ducks Gameday—Canucks logo: Separated at birth?, 4/29/07
Ducks Gameday—Wings logo: Separated at birth?, 5/11/07
Ducks Gameday—Sens Logo: Separated at Birth?, 5/28/07

Okay, these aren't really hand-drawn Sleektoons, but I did put together some images for a recurring gag for one of the gameday posts in each series of the 2007 postseason. You'll have to click the links to see what I'm talking about, but basically I searched and found some corny online images that resembled each opponent's logo.

It wasn't the greatest gag, but I did it four times in four series and the Ducks won the Stanley Cup. So yeah, it definitely picks up some brownie points for that reason.

Plus it did lead to two sight gags I'm proud of: Mario Smash!

Mario1_medium

And the all-too fitting combination of Brak and the Wild logo:

Brakwild1_medium

Hooray for 2007! I love seasons when the league decides to operate!

8. The Pacific Division Lives!

Ducks Gameday -- The Pacific Division Lives!, 1/10/12

Some real hand-drawn Sleektoons? Now we're talking! And many panels all in one post -- that qualifies as a monumental Sleek effort.

This post is one of several I've written that highlights why cartooning in the Pacific Division is so ideal -- every team is easily representable in cartoon form. No bullshit vague things to draw like Rangers or Flyers or Canadiens or whatever. I know how to draw a duck, a king, a shark, a star, and a coyote. No bullshit team names to draw -- the Pacific Division rules.

Even if the Dallas Stars can't wait to leave...

Realignment_nixed_7_medium

Ah, Dallas. As much as we all hate you, it's always nice to remember once in a while that you hate us, too. :)

7. The Mallard of Oz

The Mallard of Oz, an August fairy tale, 8/12/10

Another multi-panel entry from a summer when apparently I was using a thicker drawing pen. But I had a good time adapting the Ducks' summer and the rumors of a Paul Kariya return into an established classic.

Casting Barstool Bob as Dorothy and Scotty Niedermayer as Toto was fun, too. :)

Mallardofoz7_medium

It's not my finest adaptation of a movie to a hockey post -- scroll down a bit for that -- but it was a solid re-tell of a classic.

6. Webbed Foot out of Stomach

BoC Gameday—Somebody's takin' the Pacific tonight!, 11/9/07

This rates highly on the list because it's probably the recurring gag that happened the most times -- I can't even go back and find all of the instances where I used the gag, and it took a good deal of hunting to find out where it first started.

The reason it got used so often? For one, it's so easy to draw, and a lot of times when gameday posts were running behind it was a nice go-to gag. Plus a lot of times its use coincided with Ducks wins (at least in the games I chose to remember), so it carried an aura of good luck.

Wild_webbed_foot_medium

It captured the Ducks' "Go Drama" pattern in just a quick glance -- the Ducks had seemingly been beaten and swallowed whole; all looked lost. Then... Splat! Don't count us out just yet! :)

The gag even got used in my silly attempt at a jersey re-design. Man, this would have been sweet.

Thirdjersey1_medium

Plus it's also confusing -- wait, the Duck foot is kicking out of its own stomach? The hell?

Trust me -- it'd make sense if you were a Ducks fan.

5. Eric Cartman Tears

Sharks-Ducks, Game 2: Post-Game Chatter, 4/19/09

Just a great sight gag first used at a great time when the Sharks were in the midst of their worst playoff disappointment ever, and its original design remains my Twitter background to this day.

Sweet. Yummy. Thanks, South Park!

Thorntontears_medium

And thanks to the easy re-usability of cut-out images, it made some reappearances over the years -- I'll include the one that'll make Rudy the happiest.

Smythtears_medium

No matter the reason, Cartman tears -- always a great visual taunt.

4. Hockey Blog Logos

Sleektooning up other blogs' logos (Japers' Rink, Raw Charge, Nucks Misconduct), 9/3/11
Be-Labor-ing the point: Sleektooned blog logos, Part 2 (The Copper & Blue, SBN St. Louis, Winging It In Motown), 9/5/11
Sleektooned Blog Logos 3: Now it's a Trilogy! (In Lou We Trust, Matchsticks & Gasoline, Defending Big D), 9/8/11
Sleektooned Blog Logos 4: Are we there yet? (Hockey Wilderness, Stanley Cup of Chowder), 9/15/11
Sleektooned Blog Logos 5: Sunday evening edition! (Lighthouse Hockey, Eyes on the Prize, Pension Plan Puppets, Arctic Ice Hockey), 9/18/11
Ducks Gameday -- Another Sleektooned Logo (Five For Howling), 9/20/11
Sleektooned Blog Logos: Two Prequels and a Sequel (Jewels From The Crown, Mile High Hockey, Anaheim Calling), 9/22/11
Sleektooned Blog Logos 8: Ocho! (The Cannon, On The Forecheck, Second City Hockey), 9/29/11
Ducks Gämedääy -- Sleektööned Säbres Blög Lögö (Die By The Blade), 10/7/11
Ducks Gameday -- Europeanness. (No, you are!) (Blueshirt Banter), 10/8/11
BoC Gameday -- FTF Logo Time! (Fear The Fin), 10/14/11

This campaign from last year was hands-down the most effort I put into any cartooning project ever. I'm impressed at how many I was able to do over a short period of time, plus how many of the logos I ended up happy with.

And still it only makes it to #4 on this list. Here's the gallery for easy browsing:

Not too many of these got completed in one draft -- even though only one blogger had really commissioned me to actually make a blog logo, every time I felt some obligation to make the end product look good for visiting critics from whatever blog I'd drawn up that day. So yeah, some pressure, but it did help improve the output.

Seriously -- hats off to the guy who designed all of this network's logos except ours -- that's incredible.

3. BoC's Quest for the Cup

Cartoon Explosion: The BoC Quest for the Cup, 4/13/10
The BoC Quest for the Cup, Chapter 2: The Meddling Octopus, 4/29/10
The BoC Quest for the Cup, Chapter 3: The Untouchable Trophy, 5/13/10
(Guest) Cartoon Explosion -- The Legend of the Seal!, 8/28/12

I'm including some cartoons from each post below, but the magic in this project wasn't just the cartoons, but the childrens story format. I actually ended up doing a fair amount of research for each of these (except Sal's prequel -- he did the research there), and weaving key segments of BoC teams' histories into this little saga turned out to be a big hit.

Boccomicsnew1_medium

Boccomicsnew10_medium

Boccomicsnew4_medium

Meddlingoctopus3_medium

Wcfcartoon2_medium

Legend_of_seal_04_medium

I really ought to use that Canada flag character in my cartoons more -- oh yeah, wait. I'm retiring from that.

2. The Star Wars Trilogy

Ducks Gameday -- Episode IV: A New Hope, 10/8/10
Ducks Gameday -- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 10/21/10
Star Wars Gameday -- Episode VI: Return of the Playoffs, 4/13/11

Nerdiness, quality and quantity of Sleektoons, carefully-cast Ducks characters, and drama -- my ripoff of the Star Wars trilogy had it all.

The cartoons are galleried below, but the written story is really what I treasure about these posts. The young Cam Puckmover, mentored by Obi-Wan Niedermayer and Master Lubo, must battle the East Coast Empire and the evil Darth Pronger -- I worked a lot on casting the saga in such a way that the hockey storyline held together pretty well.

Unfortunately, the Predators eliminated the Ducks, so the ROTJ chapter never made it off Tatooine, but even so -- I'm proud of what these couple of long nights produced. Some of my finest work on this blog, IMO.

Under other circumstances, Star Wars really could have been top of the list. Except...

1. State Rape

Now I'm going to hell for sure, 4/15/07

The list starts with controversy, and it ends with controversy. I hear that now is definitely not the time to be making cartoon rape jokes on the internet, but in my defense, this joke was made in 2007, and I was careful to justify it with a strong-case intro, as follows:

2002 MLB playoffs, Round Two:

(4) Anaheim Angels defeat (3) Minnesota Twins 4-1
Angels win the last four games of the series.

2003 NBA playoffs, Round One:

(5) Los Angeles Lakers defeat (4) Minnesota Timberwolves 4-2
Lakers win the last three games of the series.

2003 NHL playoffs, Round Three:

(7) Mighty Ducks of Anaheim defeat (6) Minnesota Wild 4-0
Mighty Ducks allow only one goal in the series sweep.

2004 NBA playoffs, Round Three:

(2) Los Angeles Lakers defeat (1) Minnesota Timberwolves 4-2
Lakers win all three games at home.

2007 NHL playoffs, Round One:

(2) Anaheim Ducks defeat (7) Minnesota Wild 4-1
Ducks win all three games at home.

To me, justifying why I'm about to cross a boundary is very important to this gag -- I really don't use State Rape very frequently, so each time it does make a re-appearance it feels a little special:

Staterape_medium

Certainly it's not my classiest work, nor my most effort-heavy, but still -- it's edgy and punny and funny-looking and so BoC. It may end up as my blogger legacy, plus it did get BoC listed on this "Rape as Comedy" TVTropes page (Category: "Rape of/by Machines/Inanimate Objects"; Sub-category: "Web Original").

Cartography + Pornography = Win. :)

* * *

So that's the list -- lots of scrolling for a Saturday, but a fun look back at how I used to blog and draw cartoons about a sport that used to be played. Feel free to point out your favorite in the comments -- I still have an ego to feed. :)

Alas, now the NHL and NHLPA are headed to the courtroom, and that non-hockey-type drama really doesn't inspire me to draw anything these days. Too bad, hockey, but I guess we had a good run. Even if it did cross a few boundaries.

Go Highlight Reel.

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