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Kazanevsky on Cartoonist Freedom of Expression

Ukrainian cartoonist Vladimir Kazanevky may have won more awards than any other cartoonist; he is one of the kings of the international cartoon competitions. Vlad, an occasional contributor to, has written his take on the issues facing editorial cartoonists today from his unique place in the cartooning world. See Vlad’s archive here.


By Vladimir Kazanevsky

The art of cartoon is directly related to the current life. One way or another, in his work the cartoonist willingly or unwillingly is tied to the expectations of the public. After the terrorist attack on the editorial office of weekly Charlie Hebdo, when four cartoonists were killed for their drawings the world community paid special attention to the art of cartoon. Each cartoonist began to treat his seemingly harmless creations with greater responsibility. Subconsciously, every cartoonist began to understand that cartoons are not only funny naive drawings, but potentially serious weapons. The cartoonist began to take social and censorship restrictions seriously. Most importantly he began to paid close attention to self-censorship. The cartoonist wondered how free he was in his work. Of course, you can draw without showing your creations to anyone. In this case, the artist is absolutely free. He may throw out his emotions, dreams, secret desires on paper. But the work of a cartoonist presupposes publicity. Can a cartoonist who shows his creations widely be free in creation? What is free creativity? Do boundaries exist and, if they are, by what or by who are they determined? Let’s try to answer these questions.

It’s easy to talk about limiting creativity. For example, a cartoon is a strict order. In this case, the cartoonist depends on the wishes of the customer, his tastes and views. Also, the authorities or the owners of the media often prohibit the publication of sharp cartoons that do not please them. With the limitations of creativity from the outside everything is clear. But is there absolute freedom of public creativity? Is there a limit to the freedom of creativity for public? Philosophers have written a lot and fruitfully about freedom of the individual at all times. Let us recall here only the expression of Benedict de Spinoza: “Freedom is a realized necessity.” How does this expression apply to the creative freedom of cartoonists?

The whole world was shocked by the news on January 7, 2015 of the shooting by terrorists of cartoonists and journalists in the editorial office of the weekly Charlie Hebdo. Moreover, the artists were summoned by terrorists according to the list. This means that the terrorists, or those who sent them, severely punished the cartoonists precisely for their work. Artists paid the highest price for their free thinking. This bloody brutal act and the subsequent terrorist attacks caused deep indignation of people around the world.

The weekly Charlie Hebdo continued to fiercely advocate the free work of journalists and cartoonists without borders and taboos, upholding the long tradition of the French in the pursuit of freedom. Outrageous cartoons have appeared and appear in each new issue of the publication. “As one of the former editors of Charlie Hebdo said, a cartoon should be a slap in the face,” said the French cartoonist Rodo. Is this position of speculative engagement of readers to increase circulation, or is it a true pursuit of creative freedom? Let’s try to answer this question together with famous cartoonists from different countries.

Let us take conditionally the drawings by the artists of Charlie Hebdo as the starting point for the free-thinking of cartoonists, because the artists of this weekly strive for free creativity without borders and taboos. But first, let’s get acquainted with the humor and satire that the artists of the weekly presented to the readers. Much has been written and talked about cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad associated with the terrorist attacks. Basically, all judgments boiled down to the questions: is the humorous image of the prophet offensive for believers; does Islam prohibiting any graphic images of Muhammad? The mass media actively condemned the terrorists, discussed the violation of religious taboos by cartoonists. The artists of Charlie Hebdo brushed aside such taboos without embarrassment, using sexual motives and techniques of black humor. Let us not forget that the freedom of creativity of satirists presupposes freedom of criticism of all social manifestations. Almost all of the cartoons published in weekly are saturated with caustic satire, their humor is quite specific, saturated with black humor. Cartoonists quite often criticized politicians from different countries of the highest ranks up to presidents and other famous personalities in the world.

An attempt to release a version of Charlie Hebdo in Ukraine was unsuccessful. Editor tried to instill in Ukraine, a taste for satire, which is a manifestation of creative freedom without borders and taboos as in France. The Germans tried to follow the same path. The German version of the weekly Charlie Hebdo was published for a whole year. However, the German magazine did not reach the planned circulation of 10,000 copies and was closed.

The freedom of creativity that the artists of Charlie Hebdo demonstrate causes a lot of controversy. Famous cartoonists from different countries expressed their opinion in the TV program “Ironic Commentary with Vladimir Kazanevsky” on the channel, 2021( are laudatory responses; there are also violent criticisms of the semantic premises and artistic incarnations of the cartoons published in the weekly. It was interesting to know the opinion of the cartoonists from different countries about Charlie Hebdo. French cartoonist Bernard Bouton said: “I am against all forms of censorship. You can laugh at everything. You MUST laugh at everything! A sense of humor helps you laugh at sad events.

We still have self-censorship. There are two types of self-censorship. The cartoonist may have practiced self-censorship for fear of losing his job or even his life. Or he uses self-censorship to avoid shocking his readers in case his cartoon is misinterpreted. Each cartoonist asks these questions and each of us must choose the appropriate level of self-censorship” [2]. He was supported by Russian Denis Lopatin: “Charlie is the vanguard, the cutting edge, the outpost of civilization. I admire their courage. Well done. Always or not always, I may agree or disagree with their opinion. These are the bravest cartoonists at the moment. They are always on the edge of the struggle between civilization and barbarism for freedom of speech” [2]. Bulgarian artist Ivailo Tsvetkov speaks quite differently of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists: “They (the Charlie Hebdo artists) made a business, they are deliberately looking for a scandal with their publications. Big scandal, big circulation, big buzz, more money and more profit. This freedom and courage are not entirely selfless” [2]. Constantin Sunnerberg from Belgium also expressed his opinion: “I never particularly liked Charlie Hebdo. Apparently because of a certain vulgarity, however, intentional, which does not suit me. But, of course, Charlie Hebdo has the right to do and paint what he wants and how he wants. Whoever doesn’t like it let him not look.

Unfortunately, when religion leaves the realm of individual faith and becomes politics, it always leads to the worst. Centuries of unfortunate experiences have passed in this regard. To kill for a drawing, often even misunderstood, is an excellent proof that if a person was created by God, it was an unsuccessful attempt ”[2]. Turkish cartoonist Eray Özbek calls for tolerance: “The cartoonist, criticizing the tyrant, resorts to self-criticism. I mean, he limits his freedom, because is necessary not to sacrifice oneself, but to be able to continue to fight … If our goal is to attract people with different points of view, then we must definitely approach them with sympathy ”[2]. Thus, some artists support the desire of colleagues from the weekly Charlie Hebdo for freedom of creativity without boundaries, others reject with indignation.

In order to understand how cartoonists from different parts of the world relate to the work of artists Charlie Hebdo, a wide survey was conducted on condition of anonymity. The cartoonists were asked to answer one question: “Do you support freedom of speech without taboos as suggested by the cartoonists of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo?” Answers were supposed to be short: “yes”, “no” or “find it difficult to answer.” 178 cartoonists from 52 countries agreed to take part in the survey. 17% of cartoonists found it difficult to answer, mark “no” (did not support) – 23% of cartoonists, 60% of cartoonists mark “yes” (supported). Of course, there is no need to talk about a statistically reliable survey, but general trends are easily traced. Most of the cartoonists supported free creativity without borders and the taboos of the Charlie Hebdo artists. It can be assumed that most of the artists have only heard about the scandalous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in Charlie Hebdo, but are not very familiar with the cartoons of this publication. In this regard, we have analyzed the survey carried out by geography.

95% of cartoonists in Americans countries (Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Canada and USA) supported colleagues from Charlie Hebdo, one Mexican answered “no”. This result is somewhat predictable, because in most countries of this continent the Christian religion dominates, whose parishioners and clergy are tolerant of the art of cartoon.

Similarly, the results of the survey in 26 European countries turned out to be predictable. 65% of cartoonists supported colleagues from Charlie Hebdo, 20% found it difficult to answer and 15% answered “no”.

Somewhat unpredictable results were shown by the results of a survey of artists from Asia. Chinese artists are divided. Half of them answered “yes”, half – “no”. 66% of the surveyed Indians cartoonists supported their colleagues from Charlie Hebdo, 34% of them did not. 82% cartoonists from Indonesia answered categorically “no”, 18% of them found it difficult to answer. 67% of Turkish cartoonists answered “no”, 33% answered “yes”. An unexpected result was shown by a survey of Iranian artists. The majority, 49% supported the free creativity proposed by the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, 31% found it difficult to answer and only 20% answered “no”.

Thus, according to the survey, there is a tendency towards the manifestation of creative freedom of cartoonists all over the world, regardless of political, religious and social prohibitions and taboos. Self-censorship of a cartoonist sets the boundaries of personal freedom of creativity and determines the degree of the artist’s conformism. Each of the artists for himself establishes his own ethical and aesthetic attitude to the well-established conventions, prejudices and prohibitions. If terrorists react to cartoons committing bloody violence against artists, this is a manifestation of the disease of society devoid of tolerance. The cartoonists by own free creation are fighting against these disease of society.

Illustrations by Vladimir Kazanevsky

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Turkey – So Angry About Cartoons

Here’s Turkey’s president by our Dutch cartoonist Bart van Leeuwen.

There’s another cartoon controversy that is causing friction for France. This time it is Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is outraged by a cartoon that he claims he hasn’t seen, that graces the cover of Charlie Hebdo’s current edition. Turkey has been outraged recently by French president Macron’s defense of offensive cartoons as “freedom of expression” in the wake of the murder of a French school teacher who showed Charlie Hebdo cartoons in his class as part of a civics lesson. Erdogan accused Macron of being mentally unhinged, leading France to withdraw their ambassador to Turkey and both presidents are carrying on a worsening dispute, with Macron backed by European leaders and Erdogan backed by protesting Muslim countries.

The cartoon that offends Erdogan shows him in his underwear, lifting the skirt of a traditionally dressed Muslim woman, exposing her bare bottom, with Erdogan exclaiming, “OOH! THE PROPHET!” Both figures appear to be drinking beverages containing alcohol, a taboo for observant Muslims. The cartoon is signed “Alice,” a cartoonist who I don’t know, who my French cartoonist friends don’t know, and who is not credited in any news reports that I’ve seen.

“Insulting the president” is a crime in Turkey and Erdogan has a history of retaliating against people who insult him; more than 36,000 people faced criminal investigation and thousands have been imprisoned for insulting Erdogan in 2019, according to a report from the Stockholm Center for Freedom.

Erdogan’s lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Charlie Hebdo’s management with Ankara’s prosecutor stating that the Charlie Hebdo cover cartoon amounted to “criminal libel” that is “not covered by freedom of expression,” according to state news agency Anadolu. Turkey is now promoting a boycott of French products. Protests against Charlie Hebdo cartoons are again springing up in a number of Muslim countries, focusing their ire on French President Emmanual Macron and demanding that cartoons criticizing the Prophet Muhammad should be banned in Europe.  Here’s a good article from Britain’s Daily Mail.

Erdogan has overseen the mass imprisonment and suppression of journalists who are critical of his regime.  Lately, he seems to be picking a variety of fights with many countries about different issues.

Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart recently spent a year and a half in jail for his drawings. Kart famously drew a cartoon depicting Erdogan as an orange cat that landed him in prison on an earlier occasion. Cartoonists around the world drew cartoons in support of Kart; here’s one that I drew in support of Kart when he was in prison.

I did a quick search and I found that we have 716 cartoons about Erdogan on It is no surprise that Erdogan’s short fuse and suppression of the press has made him a favorite target for cartoonists around the world.

Freedom of expression is often brought up in defense of offensive cartoons, especially against tyrants who seek to ban speech that offends them. That said, freedom of expression is not a reason to publish offensive cartoons. Cartoonists have the freedom to be asses, but we should choose not to be asses.

I would have killed the cartoon on the cover of the current Charlie Hebdo issue if it had been submitted to me – but it is a top story in the news today, so I posted it here in our blog. It is the crazy reaction to the cartoon that makes the cartoon newsworthy.

Here is a nice selection from our vast, Erdogan cartoon archive.

Robert Rousso, France


Christo Komarnitsky, Bulgaria


Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands


Marian Kamensky, Austria


Tchavdar Nicolov, Bulgaria


Arend van Dam, The Netherlands

Our reader supported site,, 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 site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.

The world needs political cartoonists more now than ever. Please consider supporting and visit  We need you! Don’t let the cartoons die!

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Bill Schorr Decade!

Bill Schorr’s favorite cartoons of the past decade are below! Bill was a staff cartoonist for the old Herald Examiner newspaper in Los Angeles, The Daily News in New York City and The Kansas City Star.  See Bill’s favorite cartoons of the decade on USA Todaywhere you can click on each cartoon and see it blown up to fill the screen with a pretty, high-resolution image.  See the complete archive of Bruce’s editorial cartoons here.

Look at our other, great collections of Cartoon Favorites of the Decade, selected by the artists.
Pat Bagley Decade!
Nate Beeler Decade!
Daryl Cagle Decade! 
Patrick Chappatte Decade!
John Cole Decade!
John Darkow Decade!
Bill Day Decade!
Sean Delonas Decade!
Bob Englehart Decade!
Randall Enos Decade!
Dave Granlund Decade!
Taylor Jones Decade!
Mike Keefe Decade!
Peter Kuper Decade!
Jeff Koterba Decade!
RJ Matson Decade!
Gary McCoy Decade!
Rick McKee Decade!
Milt Priggee Decade!
Bruce Plante Decade!
Steve Sack Decade!
Bill Schorr Decade!

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Today’s E-mail Interview with a Turkish Newspaper

When I take the time to write responses to a questions from reporters, I think I’ll post them here. This one is from a Turkish newspaper today.

Hi Daryl,

Thanks so much. Here’s a few questions. I’m really interested in your views and opinions:

Do you think Le Monde cartoonist (Jean Plantureux) purposely left out Turkey – from his recent image?

Do you think cartoonists must ensure that symbols like flags are correctly interpreted?
Do you think Twitter and Facebook followers really understand why they are changing their Facebook profiles to various flags etc.

Besides Turkey, Paris and Belgium – there’s been attacks this past year in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Chad,  Tunisia, Egypt, etc – across the globe. Do you think there are double standards when it come to Western media response to such attacks?

Many thanks

DPlantu france belgiumear …,

Do you think Le Monde cartoonist (Jean Plantureux) purposely left out Turkey – from his recent image?

I think Plantu draws exactly what he means to draw.

Do you think cartoonists must ensure that symbols like flags are correctly interpreted?


France Belgium Turkey flag cartoonCartoonists want readers to correctly understand their cartoons. Cartoons that are misunderstood are ineffective cartoons. Cartoonists are in the business of communicating their ideas. There is nothing we can do to insure that readers correctly interpret our cartoons, except to strive to draw good cartoons. I don’t think of “flags” as something to interpret, except that I generally understand that American readers don’t recognize the flags of other countries. Worldwide cartoonists typically use flags to represent countries more often than American cartoonists

Do you think Twitter and Facebook followers really understand why they are changing their Facebook profiles to various flags etc. 

I’m aware of the French flags in the profile pictures on Facebook in response to the attacks in France; the Facebook users intended to make an expression of solidarity with the French in response to the terror attacks. I haven’t followed other instances of flags in Facebook profile pictures.

Besides Turkey, Paris and Belgium – there’s been attacks this past year in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Chad,  Tunisia, Egypt, etc. – across the globe. Do you think there are double standards when it come to Western media response to such attacks? 

Terror attacks in countries that have frequent terror attacks are not as newsworthy as attacks in countries where these events are a new trend. I suppose this can be argued to be a double standard in the respect that human life should have the same value everywhere.

President Obama reportedly argues that deaths from “slipping in bathtubs” accounts for more lives lost than terrorism. Surely more people die from bathtub falls in China than anywhere else, simply because there are more people in China; by that measure, the news should always be dominated by bathtub deaths in China rather than terrorism. It is the role of editors to decide what news is most important; I don’t consider these editorial decisions to be a “double standard.” I’m more interested in news on the Brussels attacks than I am in news about still more carnage in Chad.

I don’t know the origin of the altered Plantu cartoon that you sent to me, including the Turkish flag character. I’m guessing it wasn’t drawn by Plantu, but rather by a copyright-infringing reader who wanted to make a different point, that Turkey has suffered more terrorist attacks than France and Belgium.

Please send me a copy when you come out with your article.


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How to Fight ISIS? With Cartoons

Pundits like to complain that there are few voices from the Islamic world that condemn terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. I run a small business that distributes editorial cartoons from around the world. With every major attack, including the recent attacks in Paris, I see a chorus of cartoons from Arab countries condemning the terror. The pundits must not be looking at the cartoons.

Cartoon by Steve Sack.

Editorial cartoonists are typically the most influential voices in newspapers throughout the Middle East, reflecting the views of their readers. Newspapers remain important in everyday life in the Middle East. Editorial cartoons grace the front pages throughout the Middle East. Arabic language cartoonists are typically anti-American and anti-Semitic, but on issues of terrorism they are largely voices of reason.

I often hear politicians complain about how the war with Islamic extremists is a battle for hearts and minds and we need to step up our role in an information war that we are losing. Editorial cartoons could be a weapon on the
front lines of that battle. By now Americans should see how powerful cartoons can be; clearly the terrorists see this, as cartoonists are among their primary targets. It is difficult for Americans to comprehend that editorial cartoons are important and effective in the Middle East because we view cartoons as trivial jokes, leading us to miss many opportunities.

Until recently, the US State Department had programs that brought American cartoonists on speaking tours to the Middle East to meet their colleagues, and had reciprocal programs to bring Arabic language editorial cartoonists to America. The programs sought to spread common values to countries where persecuted and influential cartoonists typically are barred from drawing their own presidents. These effective State Department speaking programs for editorial cartoonists were dropped at the time of the “sequester” budget cuts. USAID supported journalism education initiatives in the Middle East ignore and exclude cartoonists.

As international respect for America has plummeted, respect for many of our institutions still runs high. American cartoonists are respected around the world, like American jazz musicians and basketball players. Middle Eastern cartoonists are eager to have their work appreciated by American readers and by the star American cartoonists who they respect and emulate. The Arab cartoonists push back against the press restrictions imposed by their regimes and envy America’s press freedoms.

Every act of terror brings new recruits to the Islamic extremists in ISIS; they seek glory, selling an image of bravery, striking back against the arrogant infidels in the West. Brandishing a gun demands a kind of respect. Fighting for religious values, no matter how twisted, demands a kind of respect. ISIS craves respect; what they can’t bear is ridicule. Islamic extremists who are widely seen as the butts of jokes won’t find many eager converts.

Cartoon by Milt Priggee.

Cartoonists are masters of disrespect and are a continuing threat to the Islamic extremists. It is no surprise that editorial cartoonists are prime targets for terror. Along with other web sites around the world, my own editorial cartoon Web site,, is suffering hacker attacks that appear to originate with terrorists and despotic regimes who fear cartoons. Terrorists and despots have a weakness in common; they can’t take a joke.

America needs to wake up, deploy and support the world’s best soldiers in the modern information war, American cartoonists.

This weekend President Obama claimed that he is already doing most of the things that his political opponents demand in the war with ISIS; he called on his critics to contribute new and constructive ideas on what should be done. My recommendation is inexpensive and powerful: bring back and greatly expand the State Department’s shuttered editorial cartoon programs around the world.

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St Just and Georges Wolinski

I’ve been attending the editorial cartoonists convention in St. Just le Martel, France in recent years, and it is always great fun – but this year it had a somber tone, along with the biggest attendance ever, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders.

That’s me in front of portraits of the five slain cartoonists drawn by Moine, the brilliant, French architect turned cartoonist who had a huge exhibition of cartoonist caricatures in the main gallery. Thats Honore, Cabu, Wolinski, Tignous and Charb in the portraits; I’m obscuring Wolinski. Moine has drawn portraits of most of the regulars at St Just, and had the drawings published in a book that is treated much like a high school yearbook at the convention, with everyone signing their own pages in other cartoonists’ books.
Georges Wolinski


George Wolinski was a regular at St Just every previous year I attended. He was a convention friend who enjoyed encouraging my wife to drink much more and he stood out as a star of the convention, highly respected by his French colleagues.

The museum built a lovely memorial to Wolinski by recreating his Paris studio, pictured below. The furnishings were moved to St Just and every detail was replicated, including the positions of the books and the art materials on his drawing tables.



Visitors look through two large windows into either side of the studio enclosure. The windows inside the studio recreate Wolinski’s view of Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris’ trendy Rive Gauche. Wolinski’s wife came to St Just to make sure every detail in the studio was correct.

Wolinski was a prolific cartoonist and his work stretched well beyond Charlie Hebdo. He was known for his sexy cartoons. The book cover at the left is typical of Wolinski’s work. On the right is a poster that Wolinski did for the St Just festival. The poster for the festival is drawn each year my the winner of the “Humor Vache” award, a cow.

This year’s cow winner is “Coco,” another Charlie Hebdo and St Just regular; this was the second cow for Coco, who was a popular choice after her terrible ordeal during the attack, and her excellent work coming back after the horror. I’ll do another post on Coco.

The appreciation for the editorial cartooning profession that is on display at St Just is wonderful to see. Each convention is like a cartooning family reunion, and the loss of five members of the family was an awful blow to the community.


This is typical Wolinski. I took this photo of one of his pieces titled “The Perfect Chinese Massage” from his exhibit at St Just. A lot of his work is wordy with lots of French that I don’t understand – but this one I can understand.


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Muhammad Cartoon Stimulus and Response … and Repeat

We just saw yet another terror attack provoked by cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, this time at a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland Texas. A competent cop shot two home-grown terrorist gunmen before much damage was done. The event was organized by a right-wing group called “Stop Islamization of America” that was best known for opposing the construction of a mosque in Manhattan. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists them as a hate group, which they deny.

Cartoonist Rénald “Luz” Luzier, who drew the famous Charlie Hebdo cover after the shootings in France, recently decided he would no longer draw Muhammad cartoons. I can sympathize with Luz’s choice, since he’s now “typecast” as the premier Muhammad cartoonist – It seems reasonable that Luz wouldn’t want his career to be boiled down to being the “Muhammad cartoon guy.”

I’m an editorial cartoonist; I haven’t drawn a Muhammad cartoon myself, because I haven’t been inspired to do so. I shy away from drawing cartoons that some people would find offensive. I don’t use four letter words, or the “N-word” in my cartoons. I don’t draw sexually explicit cartoons. Offensive subject matter in cartoons can be so loud that it drowns out anything else I might want to say in a cartoon, except, “Look, I have the freedom to draw something offensive.”

Many cartoonists have drawn Muhammad cartoons, and racist cartoons, and dirty cartoons; that’s fine, that’s their business – but drawing offensive stuff just to draw attention to myself, or to prove that I have the right to do so, just looks like lousy cartooning to me. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were doing more than that; they were addressing issues in French culture that were important to them, and rejecting all religions that they felt didn’t fit with their secular society.

I knew three of the five Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who were murdered earlier this year and I got to know more of them at French cartoon festivals. They have a genuine passion for their issues and our conversations always turned to a discussion of their religion-bashing cartoons. Here in America we’re not faced with the same social pressures and similar cartoons here should seem out of place.

The “Stop Islamization of America” people, who sponsored this contest, are poking the extremist Islamic beast to elicit a predictable response. This violent, cartoon stimulus and response will surely continue to be repeated.

It doesn’t matter that I personally don’t choose to draw Muhammad cartoons, or that most cartoonists don’t care to draw offensive cartoons, all editorial cartoonists are now being seen as recklessly poking surly Islamic beasts. My profession is being painted with the Muhammad cartoon broad-brush.

I was recently asked to speak at a local college, and I met the college president; the first thing he said to me was, “Now, don’t show any of those Muhammad cartoons.” This is not unusual. Casual conversations with editorial cartoonists often start with, “So, do you draw those Muhammad cartoons too?”

Like Luz was typecast, it seems we’re all typecast now.


See My Big, Long, Video Interview with Mr. Media

Here’s my long interview with Bob Andelman (Mr. Media) about my work, the editorial cartooning business and editorial cartoons around the world.

This is a cartoon I was working on when I did the interview at my drawing table.


Our Charlie Hebdo Exhibit at NJCU

It is easy to do an exhibition like NJCU did - just print out our Charlie Hebdo Response cartoons and tape them to the wall!
It is easy to do an exhibition like NJCU did – just print out our Charlie Hebdo Response cartoons and tape them to the wall!

I got a nice note from Theta Pavis at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, she writes:

I spoke to my students about what happened in Paris, and so I was excited to see the collection of cartoons you made available on the CMA website. I brought several of my students to the recent meeting in NYC and really enjoyed the panel you did … My students spent hours looking through the cartoons you made available; they put one on the cover of their newspaper, The Gothic Times, and wrote about the events and reactions from students. They then worked with me to have about 20 or so of the images installed in a small gallery in our student union building. They also used a few of the images for a flyer made to promote the event.

I am sending you here one of the flyers, and will also send a shot or two of the gallery; it had an explanation about the exhibit noting that it was made possible through you and your group and the CMA as well.

Download our Charlie Hebdo Exhibit here.



Our Charlie Hebdo Exhibit, Recently in Prague

The Anglo-American University in Prague responded to our call and recently organized an exhibition of cartoons from our high resolution Charlie Hebdo exhibit package. They also had a very well attended panel discussion event with the exhibit about the impact of the Charlie Hebdo attack and response around the world. Great to see! Read more about the event here.

Thanks to Daniela Chalaniova for organizing the event and thanks to the expert panelists who came to speak (Clemen Stauer and Jakub Janda)!

I met Daniela on a speaking trip I did to Prague a few years ago, and she has since decided to make editorial cartoons her field of study. I wish more academics would focus on editorial cartoons!

Our high resolution Charlie Hebdo exhibit package contains over 300 cartoons from top cartoonists around the world. It is free and we have permissions from all the contributing cartoonists for any institutions who would like to use the cartoons for an exhibit or event.

Prague4 Prague3 Prague2 Prague1


Columns, Pirates, Brilliant Daughter and More More More

Someone tweeted this disturbing, altered, pirated cartoon to me.  PriateCartoon
It is disturbing to have my work pirated like this – but I’m not sure it is copyright infringement, since it has a different message and there are probably enough changes to qualify for the legal standard of “fair use” as commentary. Also, removing my signature from the art removes an argument that the art defames me. Still, it is rude. If an editorial cartoonist did something like this the AAEC would be calling for his head. Here is my original drawing …

Here’s some more miscellany – I thought this column from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune was very nice.

My charming and talented daughter, Susie, had an exhibition of her work recently in San Francisco. These are watercolors she did as part of her cartoon-journalism coverage of the Silk Road trial in New York City.

Susie is up for an award from my old partners at Slate, for this piece from Al Jazeera America.

Here’s a nice photo of a section front from the weekend before last in the Augusta Chronicle, from my cartoonist buddy, Rick McKee.

That’s enough errata for now!







Cartoon Revenge Through Hacking

Want to help? Visit We need more heroes.

There was a time when readers who are offended by a political cartoons would write a letter to the editor. Now angry readers rant online; they demand apologies or retribution for being offended.

I run a “syndicate” that distributes editorial cartoons and columns to about 850 subscribing newspapers in America. I’m perceived to be the “boss” of the cartoonists, and I get angry demands that I fire cartoonists I work with, who drew cartoons that offend. Just draw about abortion, the Confederate Battle Flag, gun control, religion, Israel or the Palestinians – and the cyber outrage will flow.

The Sandy Huffaker cartoon that inspired the CAIR flame campaign to punish the cartoonist.

One of our cartoonists drew a cartoon a few years ago that showed an Iraqi soldier holding a book titled, “The Koran for Dummies.” The cartoon motivated a group called the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to put a call out to their members to e-mail me, demanding that I punish the cartoonist; I received many thousands of crazy e-mail threats in response. Whenever there is a big response to a cartoon, it is usually because some group is organizing the effort.

Recently my political cartoon web site at has been getting hacker attacks. New, crazy, huge, sophisticated, brute force, distributed denial of service hacker attacks, from IP addresses all over the world, focusing on taking us down.

The hackers succeeded in breaking through to erase data on our hard drives on our servers and bring our site down. Luckily, we had an unconnected backup in the cloud, and this attack had us down for only a day rewriting the hard drives. We don’t keep credit card information or salacious emails about movie stars online, so there isn’t much for hackers to do except to take us down.
The new attacks started before the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, back when we were featuring cartoons about North Korea and the Sony Pictures hackers. is still going down occasionally as the hackers change their strategies. I suppose this is the new reality for editorial cartoonists, who have never been well paid by newspapers that are continuing to cut their budgets. Editorial cartoons seem to be the new flashpoint for a clash of civilizations, even as we tighten our belts.

The bottom line is that our site is now expensive to host as the attacks continue to become more costly and time consuming for us. We thought about dropping the site and concentrating on our little newspaper syndicate, but we’re trying something different.

We’re putting up a plea to our readers to make contributions to help us keep the site online. I see lots of other sites with “donor” buttons, including opinion sites like and, but this is new to us. Visitors to will see a pop-up window this week, asking for support, and offering lots of nice perks for different levels of support.

We’re hoping the love and support of editorial cartoon fans can overcome the costs of the evil editorial cartoon haters.

Want to help? Visit We need more heroes.