I was saddened to learn that my friend, and long time CagleCartoonist, Sandy Huffaker, has passed away.
Sandy was my hero in the 1970’s when I was in high school, and he was a big influence on me. The 1970’s were the glory days for cartoon illustrators and I rushed off to Manhattan in 1977, hoping to have a career drawing cartoons for the big magazines like my idol, Sandy. I loved reading Time magazine as a teenager because Sandy was in almost every issue, with delightful, colorful illustrations; in fact, Sandy was in all the major magazines in the 1970’s. Sandy’s work was everywhere!
When I first met Sandy, at the National Cartoonists Society, he had retired from illustration and had left New York to live in the woods of Virginia. He was doing beautiful, bucolic paintings and he missed the excitement of his cartooning glory days. My little syndicate was brand new and we talked about our love for political cartoons. I learned that Sandy had been a newspaper editorial cartoonist for a short time early in his career. He enjoyed his days drawing political cartoons and missed having a voice in the media. I said to my idol, “Come draw for me! I just started a little syndicate!” and to my surprize, with his distinctive Southern charm, Sandy said, “OK.”
From there Sandy drew 1,520 cartoons for Cagle Cartoons, regularly from 2002 to 2015 and his brilliant work was an important part of making our young syndicate a success – I don’t know how we would have made it without Sandy giving us a big lift at the beginning.
It was a joy to work with my hero! See a complete archive of Sandy’s work for Cagle Cartoons here.
Sandy’s cartoons pulled no punches. We often got flooded with angry emails from readers and editors who Sandy offended. In 2003, one of Sandy’s cartoons depicted an Iraqi holding a book titled “The Koran for Dummies” that generated nearly ten thousand angry emails and death threats (more than any other cartoon we’ve distributed). More often Sandy elicited tyrades from conservatives. Sandy was our most controversial cartoonist, and our most liberal cartoonist.
I’ve been flipping through his archive and I selected a few of my favorites. I miss our many conversations, every time one of Sandy’s cartoons stirred up new outrage. Sandy loved stirring up outrage and I loved Sandy. I miss him.
Our reader supported site, Cagle.com, still needs you! Journalism is threatened with the pandemic that has shuttered newspaper advertisers. Some pundits predict that a large percentage of newspapers won’t survive the pandemic economic slump, and as newspapers sink, so do editorial cartoonists who depend on newspapers, and along with them, our Cagle.com site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.
The world needs political cartoonists more now than ever. Please consider supporting Cagle.com and visit Cagle.com/heroes. We need you! Don’t let the cartoons die!
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