Resources - CARtoons reviews
Car Culture Vulture
review from Smogbusters, Melbourne, Australia, Aug 2001
CARtoons by Andy
Singer is a hilarious and biting inditement of the modern car culture.
It combines a mixture of informative fact with brilliantly satirical cartoons.
It deals with a multitude of issues from global warming to urban sprawl,
dissecting the myths spread by car companies that cars lead to greater
freedom and a better quality of life. The book is made up of seven sections,
five of them dealing with different aspects of car culture as well as a
„CARnet d’addresses“(address book) listing useful environmental organisations
and a CAR-free guide showing other books available from car-busters.
The book satirises
and subverts the car culture in a number of ways. The opening pages set
the tone for the book juxtaposing a quote about a young Olympian’s enthusiasm
for motor cars with a quote from Adolf Hitler on how it is the young above
all who succumb to the magic of the car. It contains hilarious mockery
of the American dream as usurped by the car culture such as the cartoon
‘Urban Cowboy Songs’, showing an urban cowboy in his car singing „Oh give
me a loan … so I can go buy a home and pay off my five credit cards. Where
loud sirens are heard and the dogs never curbed and the acid rain pours
in my yard!“ It dismembers modern prejudices about what makes a successful
person with a cartoon showing a stressed out business man stuck in traffic
under the caption „successful man“, contrasted with a man walking peacefully
under the caption „unsuccessful man“. It also contains cartoons pointing
out the blatant stupidity of regarding subsidised public transport as wasteful,
showing the enormous costs that cars incur, from the building of roads
to the costs of health, police and ambulance services. It shows the vicious
circle of modern life where people drive to work and have to work to be
able to afford to drive.
The book is also
full of interesting and educational information. Each section opens with
a passage of text to engage and enrage your intellect full of vital facts
and statistics about the global conspiracy that is the car culture. They
tell of how the American car population is increasing faster than the human
one and of the blatant violations of human rights perpetrated by oil companies.
They tell harrowing tales of the spread of pollution and urban sprawl and
of the generalised ecological destruction wreaked by the book's archenemy,
But despite its
apparently bleak subject matter, the book is far from gloomy or depressing.
If anything it shows how intelligence and humour can triumph even over
such a powerful spectre as the car culture. It gives hope that with work
and perseverance the selfishness and duplicity that have brought the planet
to the brink of ecological disaster can be overcome. And apart from anything
else, the cartoons in the book are very funny. So whether you are looking
for information, education or just a good laugh, CARtoons by Andy Singer
is highly recommended.
How do you get hold of a copy? Get
in touch with your local Smogbusters to order a copy, $12 a piece and 30%
is donated to Smogbusters. Place your order now!
Reviewed by Dmitri Lineton
RECOMMENDO (Stop... Look... Listen... Here's some things we like.)
from Dirt Rag, US Mountain biking magazine, Jan 2001 :
CARtoons by Andy Singer
If you recall
the cover of Dirt Rag #85, then you may recognize the name Andy Singer.
Andy is a cartoonist who loves bikes and hates cars. This is made crystal
clear in his 98 page book entitled CARtoons.
What makes this book
unique is that it is neither a comic book, nor a traditional text. It is
comprised of about 60% artwork and 40% editorial material. Almost every
CARtoon is accompanied by an interesting and/or related quote (the sources
range from Adolph Hitler to NPR's Car Talk), and the facts are backed up
The editorial content
is just as entertaining and impassioned as the artwork, and a wealth of
information is presented in the form of many short essays. This format
is particularly well suited for mountain bikers, because upon returning
home in the evening from a good ride, many of us just want to unwind for
a short time before getting some sleep. I found it really nice to leave
the television off, pick this book up, read an essay or two, check out
the cartoons, then delve into a siesta thinking about tomorrow's ride.
subject matter is serious, Andy's cartoons will make you laugh. This paradox
is beautiful because it makes you think while you're absorbing the art.
I found myself laughing out loud repeatedly. For example the CARtoon, "Car
Exhaust," depicts two cars with human posteriors "farting" their carbon
monoxide emissions. While still laughing, I realized the seriousness of
the message (in this case it would be that auto emissions are more than
just a poignant nuisance). In the end, I was laughing again, because that's
what cartoons make you do.
to bring attention to serious issues is not a new concept.
In high school,
one of my history teachers regularly showed WWII era cartoons, such as
Bugs Bunny, which urged people to conserve resources and encouraged them
to plant "Victory" gardens. Many people refuse to confront serious issues,
so humor is often the proverbial spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine
CARtoons is published
by Car Busters (www.carbusters.ecn.cz), a group of four international volunteers
nestled in Prague who produce, among other things, a quarterly magazine
dedicated to the carfree movement. Car Busters staff member Randy Ghent
and Jane Holtz Kay also contribute their literary gifts to CARtoons.
can order CARtoons from Andy Singer for $6 (postage included) by
mailing a check or money order to Andy Singer, 1849 Portland Ave. #2, St.
Paul, MN 55104. You can use your credit card to order it online for $8.50
by visiting www.andysinger.com, which also contains information on where
to order the book outside the United States. In the near future, AK and
Marginal press, among others, will distribute CARtoons.
Jeff Guerrero (DirtRag #89 10/1/01)
Advance review from E-Magazine:
If you see red
every time a huge, polluting Ford Excursion goes by, Andy Singer's book
CARtoons (Car Busters, $10, distributed by A.K. Press) is for you. Singer
is an editorial cartoonist with an unerring eye for the absurdity of our
current car dependence. Singer's citizens crawl to work on gridlocked highways
just to earn the money to buy more cars and keep the cycle going. Singer
hopes to free us from road rage with some healthy laughter, but he's very
serious about challenging automotive autonomy. His heroes pedal to work
or take the transit alternatives. The whimsically drawn cartoons are supplemented
with well-chosen quotes and essays from anti-auto crusaders Randy Ghent
(of the Czech-based Car Busters) and Jane Holtz Kay (author of Asphalt
Nation). There's also a useful bibliography and a compendium of car-free
Jim Motavalli, Editor
Andy Singer's CARtoons Show ThatThe Road To Hell Is Paved
Review by Jesse Lawton (Oregon Cycling Magazine 9/2001)
time Oregon Cycling cartoonist Andy Singer was in the parking lot of a
Grateful Dead concert when he came to a deep and profound realization.
Of course everyone who was ever in a Dead show parking lot came to many
deep and profound realizations; usually they were along the lines of "Dude,
my Birkenstocks told me that Jerry Garcia is the Second Coming." But Singer's
was even deeper and more profound. And not only did he remember it the
next day but it radically altered his life.
the parking lot], I saw seemingly endless highways, streets and exit ramps—all
of them filled with cars, thousands of cars," he says in the introduction
of his new book CARtoons [Car Busters Press, 2001]. "Amidst all this concrete,
I couldn't see a single tree, a single bush or even a single blade of grass.
Once I became sensitized... I realized that that almost everything in North
America is centered around the automobile."
And thus began
Singer's mission. For almost a decade he has been using his comic strip
No Exit to, among other things, raise awareness about car culture. I've
known he was a great artist and activist for years; I was reading No Exit
in the Boston Phoenix years before I knew how widely distributed his comics
were. But I had no idea what an underground legend he was until he sent
me the advanced copy of CARtoons. Everyone who has seen my copy so far,
and there have been quite a few of them, have said roughly the same thing:
"I can't believe this guy finally compiled all of these cartoons. Where
can I get a copy?"
The book, a
very funny though quite provocative cartoon examination of car culture,
lives up to everyone's expectations. There are several toons here that
have been printed in OCM and other newspapers and magazines over the years
but the majority are brand new. The (mostly) one panel cartoons viciously
attack everything from the outrageous price of gasoline to proliferation
of superhighways to carbon monoxide emissions, and then some. But he does
it all with a grin. Look at "Car Alarm Man" the superhero who gives a thief
a stolen radio and then smashes the rightful owners car to stop the alarm
from blasting through the middle of the night. But then he changes his
tone with cartoons advocating the notion that "Some times, the most radical
thing you can do is stay where you are."
The toons are interspersed
with essays on "CARnage," the automobile "CARtels," and arguments
as to why we are "in-CAR-cerated" by the automobile. He also gives ideas
"CARwars" for ways to wean ourselves away from combustion engines Through
car sharing, public transit and of course, bike riding. CARtoons is a merciless
assault on one of the most prized aspects of modern culture. Both thought
provoking and humorous, CARtoons is worth a read.
For more about CARtoons, check out Andy Singer's web site at www.andysinger.com/.
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