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Blog Newsletter Syndicate

Jeff Koterba Laid Off

CagleCartoonist Jeff Koterba, who has drawn for The Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska for 31 years, was laid off today. There was a time when editorial cartoonists worked for newspapers and syndicated their cartoons to get their work seen outside of their home town; those days are almost gone, as jobs for cartoonists have been decimated at troubled newspapers.

The Lee Enterprises chain has been making painful cutbacks for some time now. Three more CagleCartoonists still have jobs with Lee Enterprises and tell me they haven’t heard anything about cartoonist cutbacks at their own papers. I wish them all luck.

Jeff is my pal and one of our most popular cartoonists; he’s a  regular on our weekly Top Ten most reprinted cartoons list. I’m happy to report that Jeff will continue to draw cartoons for CagleCartoons.

Jeff wrote a book and gave a great Ted Talk about living and working as a cartoonist with Tourette Syndrome.


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!

Categories
Blog Newsletter Syndicate

Mike Lane Remembered

I was saddened to learn that Mike Lane, the brilliant cartoonist who drew for The Baltimore Sun, has passed away. See our archive of Mike’s cartoons on Cagle.com.

Nearly twenty years ago I started my CagleCartoons.com syndicate; Mike was one of the first cartoonists to join our group and Mike’s brilliant work was a very important boost for us as we were starting up. Mike had a unique, expressive style and I really appreciated his support in our early days. Mike drew for The Baltimore Sun from 1972 to 2004. He joined CagleCartoons in 2002, drawing for syndication for seven years after he left The Baltimore Sun.

Mike pulled no punches in syndication, blasting George W. Bush from the left. Mike drew with a profound sense of morality. His art is bold and funny. Mike was a liberal champion of the downtrodden. He was an all-around great cartoonist!

Mike retired from editorial cartooning in 2009 and we’ve kept his cartoons in our PoliticalCartoons.com store, where reprints from his seven years with us continue to sell.

Here’s a quote from Mike, from an obit in the Baltimore Sun, “It’s not enough to simply depict opposing factions. It’s good to pick a fight. But it’s not noble or courageous; it’s just my job. Any less is pandering to popular opinion. Too many cartoonists value popularity over doing their jobs. I have a long history of angry letters to the editor. One of my proudest is from the general counsel to the National Rifle Association.”

Here is another nice obituary from The Baltimore Sun.

I’m proud to have called Mike my friend. Here are some of Mike’s outstanding cartoons from the archive of Mike’s years with us –the first batch is about newspapers …


This second batch is about Thanksgiving, just because Thanksgiving is coming up this week and there are so many, great Mike Lane cartoons to choose from on all topics …



Categories
Blog Syndicate

I Miss Wayne Stayskal

I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite cartoonists, Wayne Stayskal, has passed away this week. Wayne retired from editorial cartooning as the conservative cartoonist for The Tampa Tribune in 2004. He was a great guy, and a rare, funny conservative, with a simple, sketchy, charming style. Columnist Cal Thomas wrote a nice obit for Wayne here on Townhall.com.

Devoted Cagle.com fans will remember Wayne from the first ten years of our site. Wayne was an enthusiastic Cagle.com contributor and I often featured him on the front page and in special topical sections devoted just to Wayne. Wayne was a staunch defender of gun rights and the Second Amendment. Wayne laughed about how often he drew variations on the same cartoon of a burglar being frustrated by a gun wielding homeowner – there really were a lot of these, and they were all funny.


In our early years, when Cagle.com  was partnered with Slate.com and MSN.com and we were getting lots of traffic, I often put up special sections of Wayne’s cartoons. The most popular were “Cartoon Shootouts” between Wayne and all the rest of the cartoonists, with Wayne as the sole voice defending gun rights versus all the rest of the cartoonists demanding gun control. Wayne loved these and enjoyed the crazy email responses he got, sharing many of the emails with me. These online, cartoon shootouts were wildly popular.

I’m grateful for the time and conversations I had with Wayne in our early years. I appreciate Wayne’s support. His work stands the test of time and remains brilliant. Wayne was a gentleman and a friend and a great talent.  I miss him.


Categories
Blog Syndicate

Another Cartoonist Position Retired – Randy Bish

My editorial cartoonist buddy, Randy Bish, recently retired from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the conservative paper in a rare two newspaper/two cartoonist town. Randy is the latest in a long line of cartoonists losing newspaper staff positions –where the newspaper doesn’t hire a new cartoonist. 

Randy is a long time contributor to Cagle.com and PoliticalCartoons.com. Here is Randy’s post about leaving his position and a few of Randy’s cartoons – see Randy’s cartoon archive on Cagle.com


In the same year that “Back To The Future” was in theaters, the wreckage of the Titanic was discovered and Microsoft released Windows version 1.0, a young man from Walkchalk walked into the offices of the Tribune-Review to nervously start his first day as an editorial cartoonist.

It was March 11, 1985, and I was that nervous young man.

Since that day, the world has changed in so many ways.

bish3 bish2

 

Two space shuttles (Challenger, Columbia) and their crews were lost. An American president was impeached.

An iPhone was invented. The nation was gripped by a court trial when a famous athlete, accused of killing his wife, was found not guilty. On a September morning, terrorists took down four airliners and two towers.

During these years, I’ve had the honor of drawing five American presidents.
(six, if you count the drawings that I did of Jimmy Carter back when I worked for the Valley News Dispatch)
I’ve drawn every crooked politician from the time when they worked in Harrisburg or Washington until the time when they went to prison.

In my time at the Trib, I’ve been blessed to have been able to meet the people who were my heroes. One of the saddest parts of my job was having to be the one to draw memorial cartoons of the heroes that we have lost. My salutes to the people who have left their marks on our world became some of the most popular cartoons among readers. To this day, I still have people who ask for copies of my tribute to Snoopy cartoonist Charles Schulz.

I’ve seen my cartoons travel across the world, going to places that I never could have imagined. They’ve been reprinted in textbooks in Europe and found homes in museums. The mother of an American soldier once told me the story of how her son made a poster-sized copy of a cartoon that I had drawn of Saddam Hussein. When the soldier’s unit entered one of Hussein’s palaces, the young man hung the cartoon across the headboard of Saddam’s bed.

My time here at the Tribune-Review will end after September 9, when I will leave to pursue other interests.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some great people in the past and blessed incredibly with all of you who have read my cartoons through the years, whether in the paper or online. And now, as I face a new chapter in my life, I look forward to seeing what the future holds.

Any man who can spend over 30 years of his life doing the things that he loves to do is a lucky man.

I cannot begin to tell you just how much your friendship and your support has meant to me.

You have all made my world a better place, and for that, I thank you.

Randy Bish

 bish1

 

Categories
Columns

How to Save an Editorial Cartoonist

These are tough times for political cartoonists as newspapers cut back. Cartoonists are still widely syndicated in newspapers across the country, but national syndication pays a fraction of what cartoonists made from traditional staff jobs, making them an endangered species as cartoonists lose their jobs.

The irony is that political cartoons are more popular than ever; cartoons spread quickly across social networks, look great on tablets and smart phones, and reach millions of readers through syndication. Editorial cartoons are part of state-mandated testing in 8th and 11th grade, and are a part of the weekly homework for millions of students in America.

In recent years the number of editorial cartoonists has declined by half, to about 60. One of the best is Bill Day, who drew for decades for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, and before that the Detroit Free Press. Bill has a room full of trophies from a storied career as an editorial cartoonist, winning almost every prize a political cartoonist can win. Bill’s cartoons are syndicated to half of the newspapers in America, but there is little money to be made from syndication as newspapers pay pennies a day for cartoons.

When he was laid off from his newspaper, Bill went to work for Federal Express, lifting heavy boxes, until that was too much for his back. Bill now works every day in a bike shop; he draws his cartoons at night; he is in danger of losing his house and faces the tough choice of retiring from his long career in editorial cartooning — ironically, at a time when more readers than ever are reading his work.

Editorial cartoonists are no different from newsroom journalists, who have been losing their jobs in the same proportion as newspapers cut back. We know that journalism will continue to be important in the future, but we don’t know what form the business will take, as unemployed journalists now work as freelancers and bloggers; the same is true with editorial cartoonists, but since there are so few cartoonists the cuts threaten the viability of the profession. We may soon face a time when there are only a dozen political cartoonists left, and editorial pages will be like McDonald’s, with everyone in the world choosing their dinner from a handful of choices on the same, bland menu.

You can help stop the decline of our profession, stop the bleeding and preserve the public debate by saving one important voice at this important time. You can keep Bill Day working, and we’ll make sure that his work continues to be seen by millions of readers in syndication.

We’re doing a crowd-funding campaign at www.indiegogo.com/billday to raise $35,000, to be paid as a salary to Bill to draw four editorial cartoons a week, every week, for an entire year, as if he was working for a newspaper. That’s a total of 208 cartoons, covering everything from the presidential election to Wall Street and our corrupt political system. If we’re able to raise more we will keep Bill working longer. All donated funds will be kept in a segregated fund, only for Bill’s salary. Bill will send his original drawings as premium gifts to contributors, and will sign prints and send e-books to fans who donate in smaller amounts.

Our unique American art-form needs you. Bill needs you. Please, save our editorial cartooning profession, save Bill and keep an important, progressive voice in the public debate by donating to keep Bill drawing for the next year and beyond.

CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE AT WWW.INDIEGOGO.COM/BILLDAY

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Daryl Cagle runs the CagleCartoons.com newspaper syndicate distributing editorial cartoons to more than 850 newspapers around the world including the paper you are reading now; he is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society. Comments to Daryl may be sent to [email protected] Read Daryl’s blog at www.cagle.com/daryl.