October 21, 2014

Spin Your Bad News

Spin bad news - business cartoon

I think most artists sort of like when people assume that inspiration hits like a lightning bolt.  But what most don’t tell you is that most of the time it’s nowhere near that glamorous.  It’s a lot of sitting and thinking.

And at some point you learn a few tricks. When it comes to gag writing some of your options are: exaggeration, combination, double meanings, and, as with the above cartoon, reversal.

The idea is you take something familiar like “Open 24 Hours,” and you flip some part of it.  It’s a good starting place, and it’s generally a short walk to a gag, as long as you don’t get too cutesy with it.

As for this cartoon specifically, I like that this guy is trying to spin this as positively as he can.

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website, Andertoons.com, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.

12 Comments ▼

Mark Anderson


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website, Andertoons.com.

12 Reactions

  1. well thinking out of the box with consumers or readers impact is a must nowadays, I like how the cartoon made it, some people think that the store is dumb on the other side, but some people might just think that it is only closed for 24 hours max.

  2. HAHA, that’s hilarious . . . this is now one of my favorites to date!

  3. That made me laugh out loud. It does sound better! Just the boost I needed on this freezing day.

  4. Maybe you have to order your pizza online and then received as “1” and “0” in cyberspace… ;) Could this be the final blow to “brick & mortar” establishments! ;)

  5. Funny and true.

    I wonder how the newspapers are going to spin it when they all turn the lights off?

  6. LOL. Love it. Thanks for the laugh.

    @jaspar–no kiddin’.

  7. Great thing to point out. Inspiration is hard to come by and although sometimes it does hit you like a lightning bolt, most of the time it does not. especially if you are up against a deadline, it then seems even harder. I really liked the little cartoon.

  8. With regard to inspiration, I just think about the quote, “overnight success… that is 20 years in the making.” When you experience an “AHA!” moment, it is usually based off of everything you taught yourself over several years.

    With regard to spinning bad news, I think it is essential to becoming successful. But, you need to do it with authenticity. You can’t get up and be a denial machine. You need to embrace the bad news and work on how you want people to perceive it.

  9. I love this, Mark!

    And I agree with Derek. I think that putting a positive spin on things — even in your own mind — is important for success. If you look on everything as “glass half empty” and never see the positive in anything you’ll talk yourself into failure.

  10. Yes, I agree with the two points: You want to put a positive spin on failure – your best face forward – while still being responsible for action you took or didn’t take.

    Second point being, inspiration often does come after you’ve worked hard, learned the basics, took action, and now, Boom! The inspiration hits!

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