Our Bulgarian Cagle Cartoonist, my buddy Christo Komarnitski, started an editorial cartoon newspaper called “Prass Press” which roughly translates to either “Whack newspaper” or “Pig newspaper” meaning the newspaper that “whacks the (government) pigsty in Bulgaria -the dirty dealings, hypocrisy and corruption.” If only Bulgarian readers could see a copy of the newspaper I’m sure they would enjoy it.
Alas, just like in the old communist days, when government authorities don’t like political cartoons, newspapers just “disappear”. More than 90% of the copies of Prass Press have been lost by the only distribution company in Bulgaria, which happens to be controlled by the Bulgarian government that the Prass Press criticizes.
Sorry to be away from doing the videos for so long! Yesterday I streamed my process drawing this one and you can see the whole thing in real time in the YouTube videos below. Here’s the angry face-off between the Trump-USA and Mexican eagles.
The video below shows me drawing this one, from scratch, on paper, with a pencil.
In the next video I’m coloring the cartoon in Photoshop …
Yes! The beard is gone for the foreseeable future! (I know that is shocking – it’s still me … really.)
I drew this Mexican flag, “flipping the bird” cartoon eleven years ago when the Mexican government was distributing brochures they created to give advice to Mexicans who were hiking across dangerous, unprotected border areas (they should bring a hat and lots of water to drink).
Today the Mexican public is heaping accolades on their unpopular president, Enrique Peña Nieto; maybe this is just what Peña Nieto needs.
Here’s my year in review! The year started off with Donald Trump knocking off his opponents one by one, in a big Republican field.
Trump attacked his fiercest rival, Ted Cruz, for being born in Canada, arguing that he was not “native born” and constitutionally ineligible to be president.
Trump had a famous, short-lived feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, which led him to boycott a presidential debate that was sponsored by Fox News. Trump’s absence seemed to amount to a victory for him.
Bernie Sanders started out strong and threatened to steal the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic establishment couldn’t grasp why young women voters rejected Hillary and flocked to Bernie.
Bernie hung on until the end – Hillary just couldn’t put him away.
Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died, and the Republicans would not allow a vote for Obama’s nominee for nine months, in the hope that a Republican would win the election.
The terrible Zika virus spread north from South America.
Ted Cruz and John Kasich tried teaming up for a last ditch effort to derail Trump. It didn’t work.
Trump won the Republican party nomination for president – a concept that many Republicans found difficult to accept.
Trump’s fashion model wife, Melania, gave a speech at the GOP convention that seemed to match a speech by Michelle Obama.
Trump attacked a Muslim “Gold Star Family” that spoke against him at the Democratic Convention.
The media was obsessed with Trump, giving him lots of costly air time – but after he won the GOP nomination, the media turned on Trump and Trump’s support surprised all of the pundits.
Many Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to support their new nominee.
The Party of Lincoln was horrified.
“Pay to Play” allegations about the Clinton Foundation stung Hillary.
In other news, Civil War freedom fighter Harriet Tubman was selected to grace the $20.00 bill, kicking slave plantation owner Andrew Jackson off.
Great Britain voted for “Brexit” – an exit from the European Union.
Highly publicized, and unjustifiable police shootings led to attacks on police and nationwide demonstrations.
Greedy drug companies raised priced and screwed customers.
The Summer Olympics were dominated by news of the success of the American swim team, and then by news of the American swimmers vandalizing a bathroom and lying about it.
The Trump vs. Clinton campaign was possible the ugliest presidential contest ever.
Trump made a surprise visit to meet the president of Mexico – to the horror of Mexicans.
Trump seemed to be fond of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, as the Russians hacked the Democratic party boosting Trumps campaign by releasing embarrassing emails through their proxy, Wikileaks.
The race was tight, focusing on swing-states.
Hate groups endorsed Trump – and I heard from many of them by e-mail.
Trump accused Hillary of being too sick to be president.
The presidential debates drew the biggest audiences ever.
“Access Hollywood” recordings of Trump bragging about sexual assaults dominated the headlines.
Trump claimed that the election was “rigged” against him, suggesting that he wouldn’t “accept” the election results if Hillary were to win.
Days before the election, FBI Director James Comey reopened the e-mail investigation of Hillary, an event that Hillary’s supporters believe cost her the election.
Half the nation was shocked.
The election was a Democrat apocalypse.
Trump’s transition was just as crazy as his campaign, with untraditional cabinet picks of generals and billionaires who seem to defy his promise to “drain the swamp.”
Donald Trump made a surprise trip to Mexico today. He is rather unpopular in Mexico, which led me to draw this cartoon featuring Mexico’s famous Angel of Independence statue reacting to Trump’s greeting.
The Angel of Independence in Mexico City is the scene of frequent political protests and is an icon in Mexico like the Statue of Liberty is to us. One of my favorite cartoonists in Mexico, Angel Boligan, draws the Angel often, and I thought I would post a few – here she is in one that Boligan calls “Sin City”
And here she is as a cigarette …
Here she’s replaced by the police.
And in this one, she seems to have lost her motivation – or found new motivation …
See me draw this Trump cartoon in the video below …
and see me color the cartoon in Photoshop in the video below …
This is the Zika mosquito hitch-hiking from place to place.
Here he is in black and white. I usually do a special version for grayscale, rather than just gray scaling the color art.
In the video below you can see me draw this bad boy. I thought long and hard about whether to put a “Zika” label on the mosquito, and I made the manly decision to forego the label.
In the video below you can see me coloring the mosquito in Photoshop. It should open 14:40 into the video, that’s no mistake, it just takes out the time. I didn’t edit this one!
3/21/16 update: Here’s my mosquito as it appeared today in the Ouest France Newspaper, France’s highest circulation newspaper. Thanks to my buddy Kianoush Ramezani and his united sketches.org foundation that organizes this stuff. I’m impressed that they put my photo and bio alongside the cartoon.
Breaking news can make a cartoon go missing. I was finishing up the color on this Donald Trump immigration cartoon last Friday afternoon when the news about the Paris Terror Attacks broke. Clearly, newspapers would not me interested in Donald Trump for at least a week. I notice that it is only today that the Donald is creeping back into the news with word that he is now leading all the polls again.
I thought this cartoon would be provocative, I didn’t guess that it would be ignored. I guessed wrong.
This weekend I went to the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Nashville, Tennessee, my hometown. I’m an editorial cartoonist; I sit at home drawing and I rarely go to big conventions. The only thing I have to compare the NRA to is the San Diego Comic-Con, and I thought the NRA convention stacked up pretty well to Comic-Con.
The NRA convention is half the size of Comic-Con. The crowd was certainly different, with the NRA sporting more beer bellies and gray hair than Comic-Con. Both the NRA and Comic-Con are mostly male, and both are full of fervent fans. It is a lot easier to park and get a hotel room at the NRA convention, and it is much cheaper and easier to get into the NRA than Comic-Con, which costs well more than ten times the $25 it costs to join the NRA and attend the NRA convention. Comic-Con sells out months in advance; anyone can go to the NRA at the last minute – like me.
There isn’t much religion at Comic-Con, although it isn’t unusual to hear people exclaim, “Oh my God” when they see the length of the line to meet the cast members of “The Big Bang Theory.”
There’s lots of religion at NRA conventions. The Saturday morning NRA annual meeting began with everyone in the audience holding hands and bowing their heads as someone on the stage prayed about how God has chosen the NRA to lead the fight against the “enemies of freedom” who, we were later told, are President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg, in that order.
There are enemies at Comic-Con too; scattered through the crowd are assorted Darth Vaders, storm-troopers, super-villains and monsters. Years ago there were Klingons everywhere, but the Klingons have dwindled in recent years, and now they are rare. My effort to build up my Klingon vocabulary has clearly been a waste of time. “Ghay’cha’!”
There was an anti-gun protest group, in town for the NRA convention, that had trouble making a dinner reservation. I’m told they were unwelcome at nearby restaurants, and their group had to drive thirty minutes out of Nashville, to Murfreesboro, for dinner. It is also difficult to make a dinner reservation at Comic-Con.
The exhibit floors at the NRA and Comic-Con are fascinating. One NRA exhibit I enjoyed featured videos of cool stuff getting shot, including row after row of watermelons, which made impressive explosions. Rows of televisions being shot were much less interesting than the watermelons. The legislature in Tennessee is debating allowing exploding targets. Tennessee already allows for the sale of fantastic fireworks – the aerial kind that would start forest fires if they were allowed in flammable California – but in Tennessee, fireworks are wholesome fun. Explosions are popular at Comic-Con too (the Death Star comes to mind). Alas, real, legal explosions in California are just the stuff of dreams.
Tennessee’s Republican legislature has been pandering to the NRA in the weeks leading up to the convention; they are close to passing a “Guns in Parks” bill that would prohibit cities from banning guns in their municipal parks. Most of the prospective Republican presidential candidates gave speeches at the NRA convention on the first day. At the annual meeting, many mentions of vile Democrats were met with hisses from the enthusiastic, Republican crowd, who were equally angry about Islamic extremists, defending the border with Mexico, and President Obama as they were about threats of gun control. The NRA convention is about much more than guns; it is about a broad agenda that is Republican, conservative, and Christian.
The same mission-creep is apparent at Comic-Con, which should be about comic books, but has grown to be about anything entertainment related, which may have nothing to do with comics. Any TV show. Any movie. Whatever. Are there some TV stars from a detective, procedural show doing a panel? Yes? Let’s go stand in line! My God, the line is so long.
I’ve had a crazy week since I drew a cartoon of the Mexican flag, with the eagle shot dead by a stream of machine gun bullets. The cartoon illustrates the terrible violence in Mexico. Since President Felipe Calderón announced his war on the drug cartels, over 28,000 people have been killed in a civil war that shows no sign of easing. I got a spirited, angry reaction on my blog and in e-mails from Mexican readers who objected to my “desecration of the sacred Mexican flag.”
My cartoon appeared at the same time as Calderón‘s state of the union address to Mexico’s Congress in which Calderón claimed to be making progress in the worsening drug war. Mexico’s conservative, national newspaper Reforma, and other papers in their chain, published my cartoon at the top of their front pages. The convenient timing of my cartoon “scandal” was an opportunity for Reforma to make an effective front page dig at Calderón, and soon the cartoon was picked up by almost all of the other Mexican newspapers. The Mexican Embassy in Washington responded to the cartoon with a letter to my home publication, msnbc.com, stoking the cartoon controversy even more.
Many outraged Mexican readers pointed out that it is against the law in Mexico to alter the image of the flag – a law that didn’t deter Mexican newspapers from printing the cartoon.
There are raw nerves all around. I’m still being deluged with online comments and e-mails, half from angry Mexicans who think the image of their flag must never be tampered with. The Mexican mail is laced with colorful profanity, about how America is the cause of all of Mexico’s problems, with our demand for drugs and our guns fueling the violence.
The rest of the responses are supportive of my cartoon, some from Mexicans who say my cartoon describes how they feel, others from angry Americans who see any criticism of Mexico as supportive of their anti-immigrant fervor. Conservative readers seem to take glee in sending me dozens of photos of Mexicans disrespecting American flags in every imaginable way. The Mexican readers write that the American flag is “not the same” and “you Americans respect nothing – you wear your flag in your underwear!” (The flag-underwear reference is a popular one.) I also hear a lot about how “you Americans use your ‘freedom of speech’ to crap on everyone else!”
Another popular argument is that the “sacred” Mexican flag is just like the Prophet Muhammad, and no cartoonist should dare to draw the Mexican flag just as they wouldn’t dare to draw Muhammad. I generally respect religious beliefs and I shy away from religion bashing in my cartoons, but I don’t grant the same respect to governments. It is the role of editorial cartoonists to criticize governments and nations, and to use the symbols of nations in our cartoons. Cartoonists all around the world use flags in their cartoons and no country can opt out of criticism because they view their own flag as “sacred”. This attitude outrages my Mexican critics, especially since it comes from an ugly, foreign, American cartoonist.
Ever since the Danish Muhammad cartoon crisis I get mail on various topics, from readers who want offending cartoons removed, demanding apologies– “just like with the Danish Muhammad cartoons. “ In the old days readers would write thoughtful letters to the editor of their newspaper; now readers expect to interact in real time with the cartoonist; they want to strike back and get retribution for the perceived offense. A few hot-button topics always get the responses: Mexico/immigration, the Confederate battle flag, abortion, gun control, Israel vs. the Palestinians and Islam. The e-mails are always the same: punish, fire or educate the ignorant, racist cartoonist; ban the topic in cartoons; apologize.
Part of the friction comes from a basic misunderstanding of what an editorial cartoon is – some people think editorial cartoons are supposed to be funny jokes. A good editorial cartoon might be funny, it might make readers cry, or think – and sometimes a cartoon that makes readers angry is the most effective cartoon of all.
Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for MSNBC.com; he is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society. Daryl’s cartoons are syndicated to more than 850 newspapers, including the paper you are reading now. Daryl’s books “The BIG Book of Campaign 2008 Political Cartoons” and “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year, 2010 Edition” are available in bookstores now. Read Daryl’s blog at www.blog.cagle.com/daryl
On Saturday we’ll all sip our Margaritas, munch on our burritos and think about cartoonists. Saturday, May 5 is “Cartoonists Day.”
Some readers will remember when most of the newspaper comic strips touted Cartoonists Day. As a cartoonist, I love the idea of having my own day where my fans shower me with gifts and adoration – in fact, that was pretty much the idea behind Cartoonists Day. The date was chosen because the first recurring character in American newspaper comics, the Yellow Kid, first appeared in print on May 5, 1895. Cartoonists are suffering from a painful transition now as newspapers decline and their traditional markets for gag cartoons and advertising work suffer a prolonged slump. We can cheer Mom up on Mothers Day, make the secretary happy on Administrative Professionals Day and feed the government on Tax Day — even trees and flags have their own days — why not make long-suffering cartoonists happy with their own day?
The first Saturday in May is also “Free Comic Book Day,” where comic book stores join in a promotion to give away comic books and which happens to fall on May 5 this year. This is also Cartoon Appreciation Week. The stars are aligned for cartoonists this Saturday.
Unfortunately, Cartoonists Day has had a bumpy ride and cartoonists have allowed it to fade away. It all started back in 1997 when Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman, the creators of the comic strip “Baby Blues,” organized “The Great Comic Strip Switcheroonie,” where cartoonists traded places to draw each other’s comic strips on April Fools’ Day. It was great fun and a creative success.
When I was president of the National Cartoonists Society (NCS) in 2000, Charles “Sparky” Schulz, the creator of “Peanuts,” passed away and I oversaw a special day in the comics where almost all of the cartoonists drew a comic strip tribute to Sparky. After 9/11 the NCS organized a successful Thanksgiving Day tribute on the comics pages to raise money for victims of the World Trade Center disaster.
Cartoonists usually work in isolation and the opportunities to work together were great fun at first – then the glow started to fade. Some cartoonists were enthusiastic about the idea of Cartoonists Day, and pushed the idea of every comic strip artist participating to display the Cartoonists Day logo in their strips, and write something about it in their strip to “raise awareness” of underappreciated cartoonists. The strip cartoonists were urged to do this every year on May 5. Then charities got the idea; they called the NCS saying, “Hey! You cartoonist guys all got together to raise money for the 9/11 victims, how about raising money for this terrible disease, or that one – you can’t believe that Cartoonists Day is more important than my horrible disease, do you? Where are your priorities?!” Of-course, they were right, but there were just too many terrible diseases and social ills waiting in line for space on the comics pages.
Then many of the star cartoonists became weary. They would say, “Why are we doing this Cartoonists Day thing in our strips again?” and “Isn’t it kind of egotistical and self-serving for us to use our strips to call attention to ourselves like this?” Of course, they were right.
Then there was the problem of Cinco de Mayo. Cartoonists who wanted to generate publicity for themselves had to share their day with another topic. Cartoonists in the Midwest couldn’t understand why the cartoonists in California were busy with their Margaritas on Cartoonists Day.
The NCS stopped promoting Cartoonists Day and it slowly faded away. Some cartoonists hated to see it go. There is still a Web site at cartoonistsday.com. Some cartoonists still lobby for the return of Cartoonists Day, but the day has disappeared. Mexico won the cartoon war because the cartoonists took their pens and went home.
And I never got my presents.
Daryl Cagle is a political cartoonist and blogger for MSNBC.com. He is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and his cartoons are syndicated to more than 800 newspapers, including the paper you are reading. His books “The BIG Book of Bush Cartoons” and “The Best Political Cartoons of the Year,” 2005, 2006 and 2007 editions, are available in bookstores now.