Obama New Yorker Cover

Obama New Yorker Cover © Daryl Cagle,,Barack Obama,Michelle Obama,The New Yorker,Magazine cover,muslim,radical,flag burning


Why The New Yorker’s Obama Cover is a Lousy Cartoon

Why The New Yorker’s Obama Cover is a Lousy Cartoon

Cable news channels and bloggers are buzzing about The New Yorker magazine cover featuring Barack Obama dressed in Muslim garb and Michelle Obama with an afro and machine gun, doing a “terrorist fist bump” in the Oval Office, while an American flag burns in the fireplace. The cartoon by Barry Blitt drew immediate condemnation from the Obama and McCain camps.

In an interview on the Huffington Post Web site, New Yorker Editor David Remnick argues, “Obviously I wouldn’t have run a cover just to get attention — I ran the cover because I thought it had something to say. What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings about … both Obamas’ … it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama’s supposed ‘lack of patriotism’ or his being ‘soft on terrorism’ or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the Oval Office.

“The idea that we would publish a cover saying these things literally, I think, is just not in the vocabulary of what we do and who we are… We’ve run many many satirical political covers. Ask the Bush administration how many.”

Cartoonist Barry Blitt defends the cover by saying, “It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is.” So the cover cartoon is simply an exaggeration of the allegations against the Obamas.

There are rules to political cartoons that allow cartoonists to draw in an elegant, simple, shorthand that readers understand. Exaggeration is a well worn tool of political cartoonists; we use it all the time. I’ve drawn President Bush as the King of England, to exaggerate his autocratic tendencies. I’ve drawn the president as a dog, peeing all over the globe to mark his territory. I exaggerate every day, and I don’t expect my readers to take my exaggerations seriously — but when I draw an absurdly exaggerated political cartoon, I’m looking for some truth to exaggerate to make my point. A typical stand-up comedian will tell jokes about things the audience already knows or agrees with, “it’s funny because it’s true,” or true as the comedian sees it. It is the same for cartoonists — our readers know that we’re exaggerating to make a point we believe in.

Cartoonists have a great advantage over journalists in that we can draw whatever we want. We can put words into the mouths of politicians that the politicians never said. Cartoons can be outrageous in their exaggeration; we draw things that never happened, and never could happen — but we have a contract with the readers who understand that we’re drawing crazy things that convey our own views. The New Yorker’s Obama cover fails to keep that contract with readers. Cartoonists don’t exaggerate anything just because we have the freedom to do so; we exaggerate to communicate in a way that our readers understand.

There is no frame of reference in The New Yorker’s cover to put the scene into perspective. Following the rules of political cartoons, I could fix it. I would have Obama think in a thought balloon, “I must be in the nightmare of some conservative.” With that, the scene is shown to be in the mind of someone the cartoonist disagrees with and we have defined the target of the cartoon as crazy conservatives with their crazy dreams.

Since readers expect cartoonists to convey some truth as we see it, depicting someone else’s point of view in a cartoon has to be shown to be someone else’s point of view, otherwise it is reasonable for readers to see the cartoon as somehow being the cartoonist’s point of view, no matter how absurd the cartoon is. That is where The New Yorker’s cover cartoon fails.

I reserve the right to be as offensive as I want in my cartoons, and to exaggerate however I please — but I want my cartoons to work, to be good cartoons. A cartoon that fails to communicate its message in a way that readers understand is nothing more than a bad cartoon.

Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for; he is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to more than 850 newspapers, including the paper you are reading. Daryl runs the most popular cartoon site on the Web at His book “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2008 Edition,” is available in bookstores now, and he has a new book coming out this fall, “The BIG Book of Campaign 2008 Cartoons.” See Daryl’s cartoons and columns at


The Long, Agonizing Death of Newspapers Can be Funny!

Recently the Tribune Company announced that they were reviewing the productivity of reporters at their various newspapers, with an eye toward making sure that reporters generate 600 pages of text per year. Some newspapers, like the Orlando Sentinel, have reporters who generate lots of pages of text, and some, like the Los Angeles Times, have reporters who generate relatively few pages per year. This struck me funny, and I drew the cartoon below with Tribune Company CEO, Sam Zell, implementing his policy with ten thousand monkeys at typewriters. The cartoon created a stir at the LA Times newsroom, where some reporters printed it out in a large size and posted it in the newsroom for all to enjoy.

Tribune also announced cuts in their news coverage and number of pages, declaring that their newspapers would soon consist of 50% advertising (not counting the classified section and advertising inserts which would, of-course, make the newspapers well more than 50% advertising). Many editorial cartoonists face the argument that editorial cartoons must be cut, because cartoons “generate no income” ­ that is, with no ad attached to the cartoon, it is hard to say how much profit the cartoon generates. Our own Bob Englehart, cartoonist for the Tribune Company’s Hartford Courant newspaper, responded to Tribune’s announcement by circulating the gag cartoon below. Bob included the caption: “As of June 22, Englehart cartoons will be 50% advertising.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so true. I scanned the Dilbert cartoon (right) from my local Santa Barbara News-Press. A casual reader might read the last panel of the cartoon as the gag (the “awful thing” that is happening to the character is that terrible AM 1290 Santa Barbara News-Press Radio! ARRGH!) But no, it is just Dilbert, proving that he pulls his own weight by generating ad revenue in one of the panels.

Now, how do I go about getting some product placement in my cartoons? Editorial cartoons would be a great place for unpopular companies to advertise – maybe handgun manufacturers and tobacco companies need a little more support in editorial cartoons.

I’ll get my people on it.


Obama Patriotism

Obama Patriotism Color © Daryl Cagle,,Barack Obama,Michelle Obama,flag,flag pin,lapel,patriotism,wrap himself in the flag,senator,president,presidential campaign,democrat


Six New Cartoonists!

We’ve just added six new cartoonists to the site!

1) The first one is Dave Granlund, a freelance cartoonist who was recently in the news as his job was eliminated at the MetroWest Daily News. We may all be freelancers soon as all the jobs disappear. Dave does excellent work and I wish him luck in his freelance career. See Dave’s archive here. E-mail Dave.


2) Victor Ndula draws for the Nairobi Star in Kenya. Victor writes:

Kenya has recently been in the headlines all for the wrong reasons , a botched election cost the lives of an estimated 1500 innocent Kenyan’s and 500,000 are now living in internally displaced peoples camps. The former UN secretary general brokered a peace deal a that was sealed with a cabinet swearing of a coalition government … though back from the brink, we are not out of the woods yet and it will be a long painful journey to normalcy. As cartoonists we had the un-enviable task of telling the uncomfortable truth, interestingly, our brothers in Zimbabwe are going through an almost similar situation …

I’m happy to welcome Victor to the site. See Victor’s archive. E-mail Victor.

3) I met Jianping Fan on my recent trip to China. He hails from Guangzhou (formerly Canton) in steamy Southern China. The cartoonists in Guangzhou seem to have more freedom than cartoonists in other parts of China, because they live near Hong Kong where the Chinese are used to seeing much more of the news on TV than elsewhere in China – I think Jianping’s work shows that freedom and is pretty worldly-wise. Take a look at his archive.

4) Sergey Elkin works from Moscow and his cartoons appear in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. As Sergei puts it: “Mostly I draw Putin.”

See Sergey’s archive. E-mail Sergey.

5) I remember seeing Randy Jones‘ work for many years. His work sits on the borderline between political cartoons and illustrations, which, to my eye, makes them more sophisticated.

Randy is part of a group of cartoonists that self syndicate their work to newspapers from They are an impressive, entrepreneurial bunch. See Randy’s archiveE-mail Randy.

6) Martin Kozlowski is the ringleader of the group. He also draws in an editorial cartoon/illustration crossover style, but Martin has a comic book flair to his work.  E-mail Martin. See Martin’s archive.


Editorial Cartoonists Convention in San Antonio

I just added three more cartoons to the George Carlin at the Pearly Gates Yahtzee below.

Here’s a good looking batch of editorial cartoonists, from left to right, Dick Locher, Mike Lester, Adam Zyglis, Bruce Plante, Jeff Parker, Steve Kelley and me.

I’m in San Antonio for the annual convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. The convention had the smallest turnout in memory, as cash-strapped newspapers are no longer paying for cartoonists to attend conventions, and the cartoonists worried about their financial prospects in uncertain times. The AAEC is having money troubles too. I’m sorry to see the way things are going – but the convention was fun, and it is always great to see old friends and commiserate. I’ll post more about the convention in coming days.

One of the seminars included a juror and a board member from the Pulitzer Prize committee, talking about their process for picking the Pulitzers for editorial cartoonists. It was interesting, and troubling, to see these guys struggle with the transition of readers from newspapers to the web, clinging to their old notions. Only newspaper cartoonists are eligible for Pulitzer Prizes, but the Pulitzer board wants to acknowledge the internet, so they will consider cartoonists who work on the web for their newspaper sites and also have cartoons printed on paper ­ that led to the unpopular choices last year, of animated web cartoons from newspaper cartoonists for the winner and two runners up.

Of-course, the top news sites are not newspaper web sites, with the top three, Yahoo News, and Google News leading the way, and with newspaper sites far behind. The top animated political cartoonists often have no association with newspaper sites, like acclaimed cartoonist Mark Fiore. With newspapers dropping their cartoonists, most editorial cartoonists will soon we working primarily on the web. These Pulitzer guys didn’t seem to have a good grasp of modern cartooning.

Newspaper people cling to the idea that they are “transitioning” to the web, as they pour resources into their web sites, but newspapers are marginal players on the web, and I don’t see anything on the internet that stands a chance of replacing the revenue newspapers are losing in advertising. Much of the discussion at the convention was about the hopeless situation newspapers find themselves in, and the poor decisions that are going into the “transition to the web.” It is easy to see the old thinking that goes into these lousy decisions, listening to the guys from the Pulitzer board discuss their own “transition to the web.”


Not So Funny In China

Not so Funny in China

I just got back from a speaking tour in China as part of a cultural exchange through the U.S. State Department, talking to college audiences about my political cartoons and what it’s like to be an editorial cartoonist in America.

The best measure of political freedom is political cartoons and whether cartoonists are allowed to draw their own leaders. Chinese cartoonists almost never draw their leaders, and my Bush-bashing cartoons seemed very foreign to Chinese audiences, who seemed genuinely concerned for my safety; they thought I was in danger from the politicians I lampooned. The questions were the same, wherever I went:

Q: Do your cartoons hurt your personal relationships with the politicians you draw?

A: No, I don’t have personal relationships with the people I draw.

Q: Do you worry that your drawings will hurt the reputation of someone you have drawn?

A: No, if one of my cartoons hurts the reputation of a politician that I am criticizing, then I am pleased. (Sometimes the crowd murmurs when I say this. It doesn’t seem to be what they expect me to say.)

Q: Do you ever apologize for your cartoons?

A: Sometimes, but only if I make an error or if the cartoon is misunderstood. Usually the people who are angry about a cartoon are the people I intend to make angry, and I am happy to make them angry. (The crowd murmurs at this answer, too.)

Q: Do you ever draw cartoons that are supportive of China?

A: No, I don’t draw cartoons that support anything. I just criticize. In America we have a special term for positive, supportive cartoons, we call them: “greeting cards.”

Q: Now that you have visited China, and have learned more about China, will you be drawing cartoons that support China?

A: Probably not.

Q: What do you think about the terrible things that Jack Cafferty from CNN said about China? What can be done to make CNN apologize for these remarks?

A: Most Americans don’t know Jack Cafferty and haven’t read about his remarks, but most Americans have a negative view of China and would probably agree with Jack Cafferty’s remarks. I wouldn’t expect CNN to apologize. (The students murmur.)

It’s interesting that CNN’s Jack Cafferty is a big, continuing issue in China; the students all seem to know about the guy and seem personally insulted by him.

The students ask whether I am excited about the Olympics (no, I’m not) and what I think about the earthquake (it was terrible, but I wish President Bush had responded to Hurricane Katrina as quickly as the Chinese government responded to the earthquake).

I learned what the Chinese think are funny — pigs and homosexuals. If I ever give a speech in China again, I’ll be sure to show all of my cartoons that feature pigs and homosexuals.

I didn’t show cartoons about China. I just wanted to show how I draw disrespectful cartoons about American leaders. That was enough to shock these audiences and show how different our press freedoms are. I was always asked how China is depicted in cartoons, and I answered that there are four symbols of China in international editorial cartoons: a panda bear, a Chinese dragon, the Great Wall, or the guy standing in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square –- the audience gasps –- many of the students have never seen the famous photo, and the subject of the Tiananmen Square “incident” is rarely discussed. At one speech, I mentioned the four symbols, the audience gasped, and one student jumped up, saying, “Oh! Oh! What kind of dragon?!”

I explained to the college kids about “censorship” in America, and that the government never censors cartoonists, but that freedom of the press belongs to the guy who owns the press and cartoonists often complain about their editors. This seemed to be a difficult distinction for them to grasp, in a country where the government owns or controls the press.

The Chinese have embraced capitalism; the country is booming, but the Chinese are eager to prove that economic freedom and political freedom are separate matters that don’t go together. The willingness of the Chinese to accept the restrictions on their press is shocking to my American sensibilities – just as my cartoons were shocking to the Chinese.

Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for; he is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to more than 850 newspapers, including the paper you are reading. Daryl runs the most popular cartoon site on the Web at His book “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2008 Edition,” is available in bookstores now, and he has a new book coming out this fall, “The BIG Book of Campaign 2008 Cartoons.” See Daryl’s cartoons and columns at


George Carlin at the Pearly Gates

I e-mailed a few cartoonists about their cartoons. Here are my questions:

… You and lots of other cartoonists drew a memorial cartoon of .  Carlin was a very vocal atheist and the question sometimes comes up about what the cartoonist has in mind by drawing a memorial cartoon featuring dead celebrity in a religious scene from a religion the celebrity didn’t choose.  There was a lot of commentary about this when George Harrison died, and was depicted so often at the Christian Pearly Gates.

Does the cartoonist’s religious view trump the celebrity’s religion in an obituary cartoon?  For a Christian cartoonist, who believes that his own religion is the only correct religion, is an obituary cartoon an opportunity to show that the celebrity’s religious views were wrong – as the dead celebrity would surely know by now, as he is really at the Pearly Gates right now?




Firstly, I am not sure I have ever said through conversation or my cartoons that as “a Christian cartoonist, (I) believe that (my) own religion is the only correct religion…” and, frankly, I resent the implication.

However, I will try and respond to your question regarding this specific cartoon. I did, indeed, mean as an irreverent commentary within the cartoon. I readily admit I have drawn my fair share of pearly gates and crying mascots in the past. But recently I have tried to take my inspiration from the obit cartoons of Pat Oliphant. When he does do them he places them in some kind of context of the persons life and impact. With George Carlin, (of whom I consider myself a fan), his contribution to comedy and social discourse was to tear down the walls of conformity and ridicule the overly serious. His anti-religion screeds grew longer and more serious near the end.

Hence, a cartoon I hoped would be viewed as irreverent. At least to those familiar with the subject.

I trust this answered your question.

God bless you,

– Scott

Scott Stantis, Alabama, The Birmingham News.

Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend.


My cartoon was an artistic poke/joke made at the expense of those who actually believe in some kind of real but other-world notion called “heaven” where serious stuff supposedly takes place.

Atheist Carlin (assuming he ended up in “heaven’ which, of course, he did not because there is no such place as the Pearly Gates) would have had a great time shakin’ up the joint–and hopefully St. Pete would have appreciated the show.

In cartooning, an artist’s religious or non-religious views often make their way into their artistic commentary in clear, iconoclastic and sarcastic ways–and at the end of that process, the inkslinger’s view trumps everything.

Myself, I am –like Carlin was–an atheist.

So, in George’s unholy name, here’s a light-hearted (but to-the-heart-of-the-matter) anti-Hosanna “Hoo-rah!”

Steve Benson

Steve Benson, Arizona Republic

Visit Steve. E-Mail Steve. Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to see Steve Benson‘s cartoons in your hometown paper.

Hi Daryl

Thanks for the email. I am not in the least religious, but I often do obit cartoons on famous people using the “pearly gates” setting.

It’s not that I actually believe in such a scenario, but, much like other metaphors and symbols we cartoonists use, it immediately puts the reader in touch with the situation, regardless of their religious beliefs. George Carlin’s personal views on religion never entered into it for me. The first thing I look for in a cartoon to honor the passing of someone famous, is some kind of punch line that reflects that person’s influence or effect on our world. For me, it was Carlin’s famous 7 words that you can’t say on television. The purpose of the cartoon is to inform readers of George Carlin’s passing, and remind them of his lasting influence on our culture. To me, the fact that it has a heavenly setting doesn’t take away from that message.

Best Regards

Steve Nease

Steve Nease, Oakville Ontario, Steve is the daily cartoonist for the Oakville Beaver – E-Mail Steve — Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend.

Hi, Daryl,

That was an interesting cartoon for me, because I was ( and still AM , of course ) a George Carlin fan, and one of my favorite bits of his was the one in which he pointed out the swiss cheese – like holes in Catholic theology behind eating fish on Friday.

The setting of my cartoon is not really intended as a ” George went to heaven ” scenario, but shows him in a sort of friendly but slightly contentious exchange with St. Peter involving Carlin’s classic” Seven words you can’t say on television” bit. Maybe in that setting, it’s an opportunity to point out that while some standards morph and shift – you can now say those words on television – some remain constant. So I was using George Carlin’s passing as an opportunity to try to point out some truth and irony – something I think Mr. Carlin would have approved of.

Thanks, Daryl

John Deering

John Deering,The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to see John Deering‘s cartoons in your hometown paper.

Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Visit an archive of the Mike’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to see Mike Luckovich‘s cartoons in your hometown paper.

Ken Catalino — National/Syndicated.

Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend. Please contact your local newspaper editor if you want to see Ken Catalino‘s cartoons in your hometown paper.

Jerry Holbert, Boston, MA, The Boston Herald

Visit an archive of the Jerry’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right.

Gary Brookins, Virginia — The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Visit the Times-Dispatch for archives of Gary’s Editorial Cartoons. Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend.

Chris Britt, Springfield, IL — The State Journal-Register

Visit The Journal RegisterE-mail Chris Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to e-mail it to a friend.

Jim Day, The Las Vegas Review Journal, Nevada

E-mail Jim. Visit an archive of the artist’s most recent cartoons in the drop menu at the right. Click on the cartoon to send it as an e-greeting card.

When I was on my recent speaking tour of China, I showed a bunch of Pearly gate cartoons (I’ve drawn my share of Pearly Gates cartoons, too). Often a question would come form the audience, “Are you a Christian?” I would reply, “I’m not much of anything.” And the questioner would reply, “No, no, I think you are a Christian.” – Daryl


Editors Want LOVE – My Interview with Cam Cardow, the Holiday Cartoon King

DARYL: Editors are always asking us for editorial cartoons that celebrate holidays. More than any other request we get from editors. It may be an outgrowth of editors not wanting controversy, and wanting soft, happy cartoons, and it is interesting for us to gauge just how unhappy they are with cartoonists not giving them what they want.

You are the exception. Of-course, as a syndicate we like giving editors what they want. You give them what they want, and your cartoons celebrating holidays are very widely reprinted. We liken them to greeting cards. I wondered if you had any comment on that.

CAM: Well, for me it has been a tradition at the Ottawa Citizen to draw holiday cartoons. This was a natural thing for me to do, since I evolved from being a staff illustrator many years ago to editorial cartoonist. I don’t think it is me trying to appeal to as many editors as possible, so that I can get more print, as it is just me drawing something different. As editorial cartoonists, we spend most of the year making political statements, so it really doesn’t bother me too much if we take a day out here and there just to illustrate life.

DARYL: I hear lots of complaints from cartoonists that they draw hard-hitting cartoons that don’t get printed, and their soft cartoons get all the ink – or more often, the other guy’s soft cartoons get all the ink.

  Your cartoons dominated editorial pages on Fathers Day. We got almost no cartoons from other cartoonists on the topic – and we got lots of complaints from editors about that.

CAM: I think there is room for soft cartoons on certain days. You know, as a reader, I really prefer to see a holiday cartoon that reflects the mood of the day, rather than some hard-hitting smack at another politician. I think editors understand that, but the purists in the business might take issue with that.

I’m not suggesting everyone should be drawing Father’s Day cartoons, as I really believe the best cartoons are the ones that come from inside. For me, I really like drawing heavy cartoons, as well as funny, or light-hearted. Is there a rule written somewhere where we have to be heavy every day?

DARYL: I think most editors would prefer soft every day. There is a kind of macho attitude among cartoonists that there is some virtue to drawing tough cartoons on the issues, and that the soft, “Newsweek” cartoonists are somehow sellouts. But, even those “Newsweek cartoonists” draw harsh cartoons, that Newsweek doesn’t print.

I think there is a bell shaped curve for spineless editors. Most in the middle want spineless cartoons. But there are a few at the endpoints that will print anything.

  Your holiday cartoons are a bit different, though. You’re conveying warmth. The typical argument is about soft joke cartoons. Hardly any editorial cartoonist conveys warmth in his cartoons. And clearly, as the syndicate guy here, I can see that editors respond to warmth in cartoons.

Editors want love.

CAM: Has our profession devolved to counting how many times we get reprinted? In my 20 years in this business, I have discovered that editors choose cartoons based on their own preferences. In the case of Newsweek, it’s obvious they prefer soft. Perhaps they don’t want the extra grief of having to deal with grumpy readers. Some editors prefer cartoons which reflect their opinion and others wouldn’t know a good editorial cartoon if they saw it.

DARYL: Cartoonists often argue that editors simply want to avoid controversy, or any cartoon that might offend any reader who might cancel a subscription. But I think it goes beyond that. They really want the greeting card/love cartoons – clearly on holidays, but I’d say, anytime they can get them. So long as there is an excuse to have the cartoon on the editorial page – like when there is a holiday.

CAM: I remember this argument 20 years ago when the younger cartoonists appeared and began a trend towards cracking jokes off the headlines. The old-timers were understandably upset because the whole point of an editorial cartoon is the editorial comment. Perhaps this is just a natural progression from gag-orientated to a preference for soft, fluffy cartoons. I can only speculate on what editors are thinking these days. My guess is that they appeal to readers and that appeals to editors.

  DARYL: It’s not just cartoons. We also see much more soft and fluffy from columnists on the Op-Ed page. Our most popular columnist is Tom Purcell, who often writes light pieces about life – but his columns about warm remembrances are the most popular by far.

This is all for the Op-Ed page where I would expect people to argue about issues in the news.

Another part of it may be that the readership of newspaper Op-Ed pages now is elderly and we’re delivering a product for Grandma. The editorial page has turned into the Hallmark Store.

CAM: Maybe it’s a byproduct of political correctness. There is a subtle censorship going on in the media. I saw it during the Muslim cartoon controversy. Editors were very nervous and, as a result, many cartoonists felt less freedom to say what they really wanted to say. It might also be part of trying to retain the readers they have, since as we are all very aware by now, readership is dramatically down. Perhaps that’s the key: editors are nervous these days.

DARYL: Do you totally discount the idea that editors really want the warm fluffy stuff? Do you feel editors are going for something they don’t like in order to appeal to readers?

CAM: No, editors print what they want. Remember they are people too, have kids, parents etc. A Father’s Day cartoon appeals to just about everyone. You are probably more in tune with what gets printed than I am. I frankly don’t care. I draw cartoons. If editors want them, great! If not, oh, well…

  When I was younger, I cared a great deal about appealing to editors and my work reflected that. Syndication for me was a big second income. Now it is pocket change, thanks to cartoonists and cartoon marts undercutting the market with cheap, mediocre cartoons. So, I draw cartoons for my paper with the understanding that my readership extends outside the pages of the Ottawa Citizen. I prefer to stick with what my paper desires and I’m fortunate they give me a lot of freedom to do what I do. I draw holiday cartoons; I even draw (gasp!), faith-based Easter cartoons. Fortunately, they haven’t complained yet, but editors change.

DARYL: Your faith-based Easter cartoons dominate the Easter editorial pages, you know.

CAM: Which is odd because I thought we were a secular society with a liberal-dominated media, or so I keep hearing.

DARYL: Thanks, Cam.

CAM: Thanks, Daryl.

Want to comment? E-mail Cam. If we get some interesting comments we’ll post them in the blog.


Gas Prices OUCH

Gas Prices OUCH Color © Daryl Cagle,,gasoline, gas pump, Uncle Sam, screw, screwdriver, screwed


Why do Cartoonists keep doing this?

The cartoon below is scanned from today’s Los Angeles Times, by cartoonist Mimi Pond. It is shown here about twice as big as it was printed, and it is much more legible here in the large size than it was in the newspaper, where the lettering looks like illegible, muddy blobs.

This is a problem lots of cartoonists have. They save their files with the fine black lines consisting of black, cyan (blue), magenta (red) and yellow – instead of just black. Newspapers have lousy printing so the colors rarely “register” or line up directly on top of each other, so the black and color lines muddy up and look like a globby mess.

For some reason, cartoonists insist on continuing to do this and seem oblivious to how terrible their work looks in print. We have this problem with some cartoonists we represent and no matter how many times I tell them how to prepare their art properly for print, they don’t hear it. I might as well be knocking on their front doors trying to sell them religion.

The solution to this is pretty simple, and we can all see it on the Sunday comics pages, where the black is just separate, crispy black, not a combination of all four colors. Most cartoonists start off with a clean black line drawing, then change their color settings to “RGB,” making the lines turn to three color slop but still looking good on the screen. The cartoonists for the Sunday comics are forced to comply with the rules their syndicates impose on them, and in this case, that’s a good thing.

Cartoonists need to keep their files in a CMYK format, with their black lines separate from the magenta, cyan and yellow, just like the Sunday funnies. I know I’m not going to see any change from the guilty cartoonists who work with us, who shall remain nameless (they know who I’m writing about, I’ve nagged them enough). I’m just banging my head against the wall.

And I doubt that I’ll ever be able to read one of these Mimi Pond cartoons in the newspaper.


Prigee’s Fathers Day Controversy

Our own Milt Priggee drew this powerful anti-war cartoon for Fathers Day …


The cartoon was not well received by Milt’s readers. I’ve posted some excerpts from Priggee‘s mailbox and some of Milt’s replies. Click here to send another comment to Priggee; we’ll post a selection of your responses here. See more of Milt’s cartoons here.


On 6/12/08 7:34 AM, “Mettlen, William O SPC DENTAC-Ft Hood” wrote:

Sir let me say that I am all about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, but the cartoon where you depict a U.S solider in Iraq with a letter that states we love you dad along with the soldiers head half blown off and what looks like part of a leg that is missing to be very careless. You will never know how many soldiers use these cartoons to lift their spirits every day. We love to laugh and they really do bring our spirits up. But this particular cartoon was not received very well by many soldiers. It will bring up bad memories for soldiers who have been in Iraq and other countries. You could have brought your point across by being just a little more subtle. We will continue to read your cartoon but I feel that we should receive some sort of an apology for this particular cartoon.

My name id Spc. William o Mettlen and my cell# (XXX) XXX-XXXX, call anytime.

Dear William,

Thank You for writing and sharing your views about my Father’s Day cartoon.

This cartoon was not drawn to lift any spirits but to show the public how and what military families have to deal with. This cartoon was drawn to make people mad, mad enough to demand some accountability from their elected officials for not supporting our fellow citizens who volunteered to protect our country.

I will apologize for my cartoon as soon as President Bush apologizes for needlessly sacrificing the lives of our soldiers and reunites them with their families.

We’ll have to agree to disagree about subtleness because I don’t believe war is subtle. Again, Thank You for writing and THANK YOU for serving.

The BEST to you and yours,



On 6/10/08 12:44 PM, “Andrew Altman” wrote:

You have had plenty of opportunity to knock the war. This is just indecent.

Andrew Altman

Denver CO

THANK YOU for writing and sharing your views. I’ll share your views with the kids who have lost a parent.




On 6/11/08 10:33 AM, “Vernon Miller” wrote:

That was a terrible cartoon of Bush on Fathers Day. Can’t you get off his back at least on that day. What about the men and women that have died so you can be free to disrespect them on Fathers Day.

Shame on you.

Vernon Miller


From: Joseph Thinn

Subject: Father’s day

You’re sick, Priggie:

I’m going to do my level best to forgive you and pray that you get some professional help. If needs be, I’d be willing to pay for it if you can’t afford it. Let me know. I can afford to pay for about 4 hours of help for you.

Really: get some psychiatric help. You need it.


Joseph Thinn