|don't bother me|
panel 2: Mark Twain, or maybe Hal Holbrook.
panel 3: Lizzy Borden. Was she "coarse, everyday, ugly etc."? Who knows, but I love drawing axes, and the idea of 40 whacks is an ugly, ugly thing...
panel 4: Richard Nixon. Only I could botch the most easily cartooned president ever. Out of respect, I left off his flopsweat.
panel 5: Bloody Mary. Woot, was she fun to draw. If I designed a video-game based on Babble, she'd be a bonus character you could play if you kicked ass on the early levels. And I know she's not the basis for the Queen of Hearts, but c'mon.
panel 6: Dick Cheney, only a little pudgier. Which doesn't work--there's something visually hungry about stingy, nasty people in cartoons.
Two cartooning failures and a word failure:
a) Crank doesn't mean cranky (it is an "informal" definition, which I think is the dictionary's way of saying "oh, honey," or, here in the American south, "God, bless her"), but I wanted the reference to "I am not a crook" in there, so I sucked it up and went with it. A crank is somebody who is crazily devoted to one particular social, political, or philosophical idea. You know, that uncle that's always going on about flouride in the water being a secret FBI plot to control us. That's a crank.
b) I do not have gills. That's some serious insufficient illustration on my part.
c) I went all "comics theory" crazy and had everyone facing against the flow, but the repetition I think ultimately fails the strip. meh.