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Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

Cartoon of the Word vol. 1

Northside Madison
Ambrosavage's Cartoon of the Word (of the Day)

cartoon of the word, vol. 1
cartoon of the word vol. 1 now in full color - only $12
102 pages, full color, paperback

preview(17Mb) | purchase below($12)
note: preview is somewhat low resolution, does not reflect the excellent quality of the printed product

UPDATE: Following the successful Kickstarter campaign, cartoon of the word vol. 1 is now available for purchase. We currently have about 100 color copies, and we want to sell them to you at the low, low price of $12 plus shipping. That's the same price as the previous black and white version, and not only is it in color, but numerous typos and other errors have been corrected. Note to previous buyers - you now own a collector's edition!

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These cartoons were originally published right here on the “Cartoon of the Word of the Day” website between December 8, 2010, when the website launched, and October 15, 2011. During this period, John Ambrosavage has responded every day, without fail, to the Word of the Day posted on their website by Merriam-Webster with a cartoon. As I write this, there have been 483 cartoons drawn and posted. More, by the time you read this. Sometimes, this isn’t exactly easy. You never know where M-W is going to go with these. On more that one occassion, John has called and said “This is the one, Spud. I got nuttin’. This is the one that’s going to break the streak”, only to turn out the best cartoon of the week.

As you know, many of these were originally animated. This made the compilation of a book somewhat tricky. Unlike a traditional newspaper cartoonist, John isn’t limited to a fixed number of frames. In fact, all of these cartoons originally appeared in a single space. There are frames, but they are frames of animation, and not frames on the page. Therefore, we had to pull the cartoons apart to put them in a book. Although we tried to use the best cartoons, sometimes it came down to space. There are cartoons on the website with almost a hundred frames, because there is a lot of action going on. These wouldn’t translate well to print, because you don’t see the action, so we left those out. In the end, we selected those cartoons that would fit a single frame, four frames, or eight frames, in order to make the most effective use of the book format. We put numbers next to the frames so that you can more easily follow the flow.

Next, we turned to organization. Although the cartoons originally appeared in random order, in response the the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, certain themes have appeared over the ensuing ten or eleven months since John begain. Among our favorite repeating gags are the daily specials that the guy in the bar and grill is always inquiring about, the witticisms of the condemned man as he approaches the noose, the insults hurled at each other by tex and old red, and of course, the inevitable meta cartoons featuring John and I “Down at Cartoon of the Word HQ”, which are closer to the truth than you will ever know. Starting with these, we grouped the cartoons into rough categories, and tried to provide a sampling of each. Doctors, Lawyers, Mobsters, Priests, and Chickens crop up frequently, for some reason, and are all well represented here, as well as scenes from the office, the home, and nature.

Fortunately, Merriam Webster doesn’t seem to be running out of words, and John hasn’t run into a blank wall yet. Once you’ve drawn up “contumacious”, it’s all downhill from there.

Ray C. Freeman III, Cartoon of the Word editor

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