Illustrating Headlines

Illustrating Headlines

 

While we may not be doing much reading of the newspapers anymore, we can certainly do our share of misinterpreting them. I have always appreciated an easily misdirected headline--one that was concocted by a writer with a subtle sense of humor or maybe just an oblivious editor who needed to brush up on their double entendres. Headlines aren't an obsolete art, but they just don't pack the same punch as they used to. The layouts of our news sites--even the major, supposedly classy ones--are just so cluttered with ads and photos and other junk that the headline doesn't hold the same power it once did. It doesn't have the same weight online as it did in print, none of the same gravity or command. Maybe that's why illustrator Eric Wedum chooses to render his deliberately misinterpreted headlines as newspaper clippings.

Wedum runs the Tumblr blog F--k Yeah Headlines. Rather than a simple celebration of the best in news headlines like its title might suggest, the blog is actually a showcase of Wedum's own personal illustrations of the header snippets. Every weekday he chooses one particular headline, then sets about constructing a pun or a deliberate misunderstanding from it. The resulting illustrations are silly, smiley, and often quaint. They even match the aesthetic of old newspaper and magazine comics themselves in their wavering, bold lines and singular use of color. 

Some of the headlines come from Rejected Onion, a collection of story ideas that might have but didn't quite make it to the satire news site's front page. But the best ones are the ones created in absolute seriousness and then blown wildly apart from their original intended meaning. A conservative blog's concern about "rogue mail" at an air force base is rendered as a face-punching envelope taking on a bewildered pilot. The economist Krueger who was just appointed by the Obama administration translates into an image of several politicians welcoming the Nightmare on Elm St. villain into the cabinet. Some misreads are a little blunt (yes, we all laughed at the word "cockpit" at some point and yes, probing the inside of the moon sounds naughty) but for the most part they're wry and quietly clever. 

Wedum's only been at the headline drawing game for a few months--since February--but he's amassed quite a collection of news-inspired snippets. I'm always impressed by any cartoonist that can manage to turn out a work a day, especially with quality akin to these. Those who miss the style and goofy humor of the old world of comics--you know, those of you who own the complete New Yorker cartoon collection--will probably appreciate how Wedum has scavenged the old media for new laughs. It could be that a good headline isn't quite what it used to be--it could be that the art of the commanding intro snippet is dying like the rest of print media and getting replaced with weak and lengthy summaries in bold Arial--but at least we can mock the form on its way out.