Friday, October 4, 2013

My Entries in Danny Shanahan's Caption Contest for April 2013

The very first cartoon caption contest I ever entered was back in April of this year and it was that of cartoonist Danny Shanahan. His new website hosts a caption contest where the grand prize is the original artwork. Gadzooks! That is by far the best prize in any of the caption contests I've seen. The New Yorker's Cartoon Caption Contest does offer a lot of prestige, but the actual prize for the winning caption is a signed print of the cartoon. Moment, a bimonthly magazine of Jewish culture and thought, has a caption contest created and judged by Bob Mankoff which offers a gift subscription to the magazine as its top prize.

Mr. Shanahan's caption contest is different from The New Yorker's in that one is permitted multiple entries. This little detail allowed me to get over my initial hesitancy to enter when I could not immediately conjure up a world-class caption. I believe The New Yorker's contest has well over 5,000 weekly entries, whereas this contest, which thank goodness is now going to be monthly, had a total of only 29 the first time out, and ten of them--yes, ten!--were by me. They were all visible on the blog post immediately as comments.

Now ten entries is excessive by anyone's standards, but I was learning the ropes and having a really good time in the bargain. The point is not that my captions were any good, but that I got over my longstanding belief that I couldn't write captions at all. That led directly to my entering The New Yorker's challenging caption contest and now Moment's. The rest is history. I believe the caption below is one of my better ones, although in retrospect it may be better suited to Moment magazine.

"Yes, the wine is kosher.  Why do you ask?"

I'm very fond of the caption below too. I can't think why.
"He also writes an informative wine blog."

But enough about me! The winning caption chosen by Danny Shanahan from among the entries is truly outstanding:
“It’s a lovely light summer pinot noir with notes of bing cherry, blackberry, and barnyard.”
--Debby Alexander 

And then there's one honorable mention:
“He’ll be back a little later--pulled and barbequed.”

Finally, Danny Shanahan reveals his own original caption for this cartoon rough, and writes, "Can you believe The New Yorker rejected that? Twice??" Nope.
“We try to use every part of the pig.”

October 2, 2016 Update: Danny Shanahan's website has been removed.

Note:  Danny Shanahan's website is looking better than ever here. Take a look around, enter the October caption contest, and maybe buy some great original artwork.

Danny Shanahan appears here in my essential blog post on New Yorker Cartoons at Auction.

My unsuccessful entries in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest are a matter of public record now because I've made them so. You can see how I'm doing so far here. I'm no math wizard, but I believe the count of successful entries to date is zero.

My captions may not be up to The New Yorker's standards, but I am currently a finalist in Moment magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest. See my post all about it here. Best of all, you can still vote for your favorite entry. But hurry! Time is running out.

I do not have the time or energy to blog about my outrage at America's dysfunctional House of Representatives. Instead, I'm posting a link each day to an earlier post about sequestration with an obscure rough by Mischa Richter. It's here. Now don't get me started.


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