Winner of Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No.2

Was this a tough one for you gagwriters/caption creators? Apparently so.

It was a tough one to judge, also, so I'm going to cop out once again and declare two winners. Here they are:


1) "It stands for Housewives Against Nincompoop Demonstrators."

2) "What's an acronym?"

My original caption:

"I'm not protesting anything. It stands for Have A Nice Day."

Congratulations to Ed Smith (1) and Kelasher (2). I thought that both of their captions were imaginative and funny, in different ways. Ed Smith's caption reminded me of another version of this cartoon that I drew a long time ago (that was also never published). The sign, held by an angry man, had just the word "SODA" on it. My caption was, "It stands for Stamp Out Dumb Acronyms."

It's good to see that one contestant correctly figured out that HAND stood for "Have A Nice Day". And I also greatly appreciated "Wait, we're not at a name-your-favorite-body-part convention?" (from Rachel).

Aside: Once again, I played along with all of you and tried to think up a brand new caption for my drawing. And again, I think I came up with a pretty good one: "I'll tell you what HAND stands for, if you'll tell me what PRESS stands for."

Now if anybody had submitted that caption, it clearly would have been a winner!

I promise that Caption Contest No. 3, coming in a few weeks, will be much easier. I have the drawing picked out, and it should be a lot of fun.

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 2

Ready for Caption Contest No. 2?

Here it is. For full contest information, click here.

Briefly, these are the basic rules: I'll supply a drawing of one of my cartoons that has never been published, leaving off my caption. You are invited to supply your funniest captions. Simply (1) click on 'Comments' below the drawing. Then (2) scroll down past all the other comments and type in your name and your caption in the spaces provided. Then (3) enter the anti-spam security word that assures me that you're a human being and not a machine, and (4) click 'Submit'. There is no limit on the number of captions you can submit for each drawing.

Entries will be accepted and posted for a week for each contest, after which a winner will be announced and the winning caption will be printed. Below that I will also print my original caption.

I will be the sole judge. The winning caption will be the one I judge to be the funniest one submitted (not necessarily the one that matches or comes closest to my original caption).

New contests will appear at very irregular intervals in the future.

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No.2 captioncontest21.jpg

Winner of Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 1

Arghhh! This is going to be tougher than I thought. I had a winning caption all picked out when BAM! . . . two people suddenly came up with an almost word-for-word duplicate of my original caption. Uncanny. What can I do? I guess I'm forced to declare the two of them co-winners of Contest No. 1.

Here they are: captioncontest11.jpg

(1) "I said medium rare!"

(2) "Dammit Dan, I said Medium Rare!"

My original caption: "Harry! I said medium-rare!"

So congratulations to winners Sharon (1) and PoochyCor (2). You can bask in the glory of being two of the funniest people around.

A great majority of the captions submitted were of the "retribution from God" variety, and the one I wanted to declare the winner was "Izzy, did you forget to buy the kosher hot dogs again?" (from Kelasher). I thought it was particularly inventive and clever, and you have to pay attention to any caption that contains the name "Izzy". In the same vein, I also appreciated "I didn't think that PETA was that powerful." (from Ed Smith).

Great job from all of you who participated and right here I have to say the usual stuff about how sorry I am that you can't all be winners, etc., etc. Maybe you'll do better next time. Contest No. 2 will start about a week from now.

One more thing: After looking at all of your entries, I tried to put myself in your place. That is, I tried to come up with a caption that hadn't already been covered by somebody else. I think I was finally successful. All of you assumed that the two characters in the drawing were husband and wife. I started musing about what if they weren't, and then this caption emerged: "You'd better hide -- that's the signal that my husband is on his way home." I kinda liked that slant. Make the woman sexy and voluptuous and you've got a cartoon almost suitable for Playboy magazine.

My point in telling you this is to let you know that it's always possible to "think outside of the box". Even if you feel that all the good captions have already been submitted, you can probably top them with just a little more effort.

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest

Welcome to a new feature on this site. Yes, there have been many "Cartoon Caption Contests" in the past (unfortunately, there have also been many "Kartoon Kaption Kontests", but I won't go into that). Of course, the most famous current contest appears on the back page of each issue of The New Yorker.

So, with all due respect to The New Yorker, I'm introducing my own version of this very popular pasttime.

I'll supply a drawing of one of my cartoons that has never been published, leaving off my caption. You are invited to supply your funniest captions. Simply (1) click on "Add New Comment". Then (2) scroll down past any other submitted captions and type in your name and your caption in the spaces provided. Then (3) click "Save". Your caption or captions will be posted after I review your submission.

There is no limit on the number of captions you can submit for each drawing. Entries will be accepted and posted for a week for each contest, after which a winner will be announced and the winning caption will be printed. Below that I will also print my original caption.

I will be the sole judge. New contests will appear at very irregular intervals in the future -- about every two weeks or so.

There are no prizes . . . just the glory of knowing that you're the funniest person around. Also, there are no age, nationality or other restrictions (even employees of The New Yorker are eligible to participate). I'm still puzzling over why residents of the Canadian province of Quebec are barred from competing in The New Yorker contest. Please note that Quebecoise are welcome here, but captions must be in English.

And finally, you have my word that I will never use your captions for my personal profit.

Eli's Cartoon Caption Contest No. 1 captioncontest1.jpg

Sun Magazine, December 28, 2009


Another cartoon published with my signature cropped off.

Sun, the weekly tabloid which printed this cartoon this week, is famous (or should I say infamous) for merciless cropping of their cartoons. In fact, of the four cartoons published in this issue, there was not a single cartoonist's signature to be seen. I recognized one of them to be in the distinctive, inimitable style of good ol' Bob Vojtko, who hails from Strongsville, Ohio. But, sadly, I couldn't identify either of the other two cartoonists.

More about New Yorker cartoonist Al Ross

Here's a photo of legendary cartoonist Al Ross taken in September 2009, when he was 97 years old. He celebrated his 98th birthday on October 19th. That's him on the right. The photo was taken by his son, Arlen, who also informed me (in a comment, below) that the man with his arms around Al Ross is Arlen's ex-father-in law.


My thanks to Dave Colombo, a collector of cartoon and comic art, for letting me know about this photo. It was posted by Arlen Ross on his blog, and you can read more about both father and son, and their musical connection, right here.

Dave Colombo also told me that he recently acquired this original strip drawn by Al Ross, probably from the 1940's or 1950's.


It was of particular interest to me because I didn't realize that Al Ross ever tackled a comic strip -- I thought of him only as a single-panel gag cartoonist.

Dave says he would love to find out if the strip was ever published, and where. Dave Colombo's site, where he shares this strip and other comic art acquisitions, is

So a belated Happy 98th Birthday to you, Al Ross!

The Wall Street Journal, December 18, 1997 and December 22, 1998


Yes, that's absolutely correct, The Wall Street Journal printed this cartoon on December 18, 1997 and apparently liked it so much that they printed the exact same cartoon again a year later, on December 22, 1998. As one of my sons asked me in '98, "Did you get paid for it again?" I'm almost certain that the answer was no. So it looks like you owe me one, WSJ.

Actually, over the years, this type of thing happened to me on several occasions with other publications (but only this one time with The Wall Street Journal). Whenever it occured, I always chalked it up to either incredibly poor record-keeping or innocent human error. I can't imagine that any publication would deliberately want to repeat a cartoon that it had printed before.

Well, "to err is human, to forgive, divine". So all is forgiven, WSJ.

Milestone: 1,000th Published Cartoon Posted

By my rough calculation, I either have recently posted or very soon will be posting to this archive my 1,000th published cartoon. As the political pollsters like to say, this statistical data has an accuracy rating of plus or minus three percent.

On to the next thousand! And what better way to celebrate than by posting a "World Series" cartoon that The Wall Street Journal just printed a few days ago. And if it should happen to snow in New York City tomorrow, when the sixth game of the Series is scheduled to be played, so much the better.

Go Phillies! (As an old Brooklyn Dodger fan, no way am I pulling for the Yankees).

Case & Comment, 1988


Case & Comment was a well-respected, old-line publication for lawyers. Its first issue was in 1894 and its last was in 1990 -- almost 100 years! And best of all, in my opinion, it used cartoons to accompany and lighten up all that legal material.

This cartoon was purchased by the editors for a specific purpose. It was featured in a June 1988 promotional letter sent to their extensive mailing list of lawyers. I was paid a $100 bonus for that use.

Unfortunately, they must have sent it to the law firm that represented the "Toys R Us" merchandising group. As the editors later informed me, it resulted in a "cease and desist" letter and Case & Comment was forced to discontinue the promotion.

Aside: Four years later, The National Law Journal (another one of my markets, by the way) published essentially the same cartoon, but drawn by another cartoonist. The other cartoonist had the chutzpah to use the reverse "R" (Torts "R" Us), which I had been too chicken to use. I figured it was trademarked and would just be asking for trouble. I often wondered whether The National Law Journal received a similar "cease and desist" letter from the Toys "R" Us lawyers.

"We All Have to Start Somewhere" Department. Case in Point No. 13

Case in point number 13 in this ongoing feature is Brooklyn-born cartoonist Jerry Marcus (1924-2005). His magazine gag cartoons could be seen everywhere for about 50 years -- and he even had a few in The New Yorker. He also drew a newspaper panel "Trudy", syndicated by King Features, until his death.

Jerry Marcus lived in Ridgefield, Connecticut for about 40 years, and later in Danbury and Waterbury. He would travel into Manhattan by train on Wednesday "Look Day", often in the company of fellow Connecticut-based cartoonists, such as Orlando Busino, Joseph Farris and Dana Fradon. His path often crossed mine in the waiting rooms of various Cartoon Editors.

But the point of this feature is that "we all have to start somewhere". All of the cartoons posted below are from a paperback anthology "Juvenile Delinquency", published by Dell in 1956. They probably date from that year or 1955. The editor of the anthology? None other than Charles Preston (Editor of The Wall Street Journal's cartoon panel for over 50 years, and still going strong).

The photo of Jerry Marcus is one very rarely seen -- it dates from 1963 and I lifted it from Don Ulsh's newsletter, "New York Cartoon News".







Jmarcusphoto.jpgJerry Marcus


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