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Me and My Axe

We’ll take a break from the pandemic for my brilliant cartoonist buddy Randy Enos who shares another story about his early days as a cartoonist illustrator. (I must say, Randy’s experience sounds remarkably like my own experience as  a cartoonist illustrator in Manhattan 15 years later.)

Email Randy Enos

Visit Randy’s archive –Daryl


In 1955, I shared a room in Boston with a friend of mine from high school who was attending the New England Conservatory of Music which was practically across the street. He was a classical trumpet player who talked like a jazz musician. He woke up late one morning and ran around our small room screaming, “Where’s my axe? Where’s my axe?” He had forgotten where he had put his trumpet case and he was late for school.

Years later when I became an illustrator, I discovered that some illustrators called their portfolios axes. I liked that so I adopted the term. I, and my axe, made the rounds on the New York streets for many years visiting art directors every single Thursday. As I mentioned in a previous story, I took my annual 3 week vacation from the Famous Artists Schools by taking off every Thursday until my vacation had been used up. To prepare for these visits to the Big Apple, I would go through all the magazines on a newsstand and take down the phone numbers of the art directors. At Grand Central Station there was a huge bank of phones in the center of the main floor where now stands a big international magazine store. I’d settle myself down in one of the phone booths and proceed to call one art director after another telling them that I was just in for the day and could I drop by for just a few minutes with a portfolio. In those days, all the art directors set aside Thursdays for looking at portfolios. So, I’d lug my axe up and down Madison Ave., Fifth Ave., Lexington Ave., and all the streets in-between.

I had a lot of guts in those days and would blithely walk into Time magazine, Fortune, Business Week, The New York Times, a newcomer with barely any published work except a few little awful spots I had done for The Famous Artists Magazine. The bulk of my samples were crazy and very off-beat creations I had drawn using an ink bottle stopper or pen and ink or a combination of both. I thought that if I were to make a success at this illustration business, I would have to have an eye-catching original style. Well, for the most part, my early work only found its way into the girly magazines like Escapade where I discovered young daring ADs who would take a chance on a crazy style like mine. The focus of these magazines was, of course, photos of sexy girls and they were willing to experiment with avant garde  illustrations for which they paid very little. Because of the low pay, illustrators were given lots of freedom and often worked without having to submit roughs first. Attached to this article are examples of some of these early samples of mine. In the early 1960’s, when I lucked into my first Playboy jobs and could show tear sheets from that prestigious publication, I found doors opening in much classier markets. In Playboy, I did my very first linocut which was to set my style for good.

On Thursdays, as I mentioned, The ADs were seeing lots of artists so the visits were brief. You’d walk in, open your axe and he or she would riffle through the samples, usually stone-faced making no comments and that would be that. You’d leave a photostat or print of some kind and a business card (mine were hand-made).

As I went on in my first few years, I stuck to “high-end” publications because I realized that working in what some called a “sophisticated” style I wouldn’t have a chance with magazines that had a more common appeal. My markets eventually became publications like Time, Life, Fortune, Forbes, airline magazines, lots of food magazines and political and social satire magazines like The Nation, The Progressive, Avant Garde, Monocle, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone and the National Lampoon. I also did work for Sports Illustrated, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post and lots of other newspapers all over the country.

And, speaking of the phone bank at Grand Central, my wife did her share of usage there when she started doing theatrical work in New York. She would go into the city and immediately hit the phones. One day I had to get a job into my old friend Mike Gross who was then working at Exxon. I was busy with other jobs so I asked my wife to take it in for me and IMMEDIATELY deliver it to Mike across the street from the train station. I said, “Do not stop at the phones… he needs this right away.” Of course, being a dutiful wife, she got off the train and went IMMEDIATELY to the phone banks. At that moment, across 42nd St., a bomb went off in a small office at the base of the Exxon building. Everyone was evacuated. Mike went into panic mode because he knew that Leann would have been right there at that spot at that time. He found a phone on the street and called his wife, Glennis, and told her to call my home and discreetly inquire about Leann. I think Mike found Leann, at that moment, casually sauntering into the melee of police, ambulances and whatnot.

Back to my axe. At first, I’d go into the city and lug it around to potential clients all day with no success. I got used to it. Leann got used to it. After a while, she wouldn’t even ask if I got anything. It was a given that I hadn’t. 

One day, I walked into Harper’s Magazine to see the editor. They didn’t have an art director per se. I actually recognized his name and face because I had seen him on television being interviewed. I opened up my axe and, as always, he flipped through the pages very rapidly and closed it. I gathered up my sample book and thanked him politely and headed for the door. He said, “Where are you going? I have a job for you!” I couldn’t believe my ears. He reached into a desk drawer and produced a manuscript and handed it to me. I HAD RECEIVED MY FIRST MAJOR MAGAZINE JOB! I wasn’t used to this. It wasn’t part of my ritual. It was a major shock to my system. I was nervous on the train going home clutching my axe for good luck.


I worked like the devil on that little black and white job. He hadn’t asked for rough sketches. I was so unsure of my concepts for it that I did 4 or 5 finished solutions just to cover myself. I remember the illustration. It ended up being a pen and ink drawing of a guy lying in the crater of a volcano puffing on a pipe and emitting a trail of smoke. I’ve looked high and low for that sample and, alas, I just can’t find it.


We need your support for Cagle.com (and DarylCagle.com)! Notice that we run no advertising! We depend entirely upon the generosity of our readers to sustain the site. Please visit Cagle.com/heroes and make a contribution. You are much appreciated!


Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The Ugliest Woman in the World

Baseball Soup

The Lady with the Mustache

The Rest is History

Randall Enos Decade!

Never Put Words in Your Pictures

Explosion In A Blue Jeans Factory

The Garden of Earthly Delights

Happy Times in the Morgue

I was the Green Canary

Born in a Volcano

When I was a Famous Chinese Watercolorist

My Most Unusual Art Job

A Duck Goes Into a Grocery Store

A Day With Jonathan Winters and Carol Burnett

Illustrating the Sea

Why I Started Drawing

The Fastest Illustrator in the World!

Me and the GhostBusters

The Bohemian Bohemian

Take it Off … Take it ALL Off!

I Eat Standing Up

The Funniest Cartoon I’ve Ever Seen

The Beatles had a Few Good Tunes

Andy Warhol Meets King Kong

Jacques and the Cowboy

The Gray Lady (The New York Times)

The BIG Eye

Historic Max’s

The Real Moby Dick

The Norman Conquests

Man’s Achievements in an Ever Expanding Universe

How to Murder Your Wife

I Yam What I Yam

The Smallest Cartoon Characters in the World

Chicken Gutz

Brought to You in Living Black and White

The Hooker and the Rabbit

Art School Days in the Whorehouse

The Card Trick that Caused a Divorce

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the NCS

Categories
Blog Newsletter Syndicate

Chappatte’s Brilliant Book!

Our brilliant CagleCartoonist, Patrick Chappatte, just came out with a brilliant new book, “This is the End.” Order the book!  See Patrick’s Best of the Decade here.  See our archive of Patrick’s newest cartoons here.

Patrick made cartoon news last year when he was dropped by the New York Times in response to a cartoon another cartoonist drew, that Patrick had nothing to do with.  The Times vowed not to print editorial cartoons at all, so they could be sure they wouldn’t print a bad cartoon.  Patrick’s book features his last cartoons from his years working with The New York Times.  I asked Patrick to send me some of his favorite cartoons from the book, along with his comments –here are some of Patricks great cartoons along with his comments …

 


Thanks to Facebook, we have lots of friends, everywhere. Mark Zuckerberg is our friend. Actually, when you think of it, he may know you better than your best friend…

 

Trump grabbing Lady Liberty – or American democracy – by the … : yeah, I know, it’s a classic. One of those ideas that, the moment you come up with it, you know that other colleagues will revolve around the same visual. So obvious, but also irresistible. I had a tote bag made out of this cartoon, it sold out quick. In January 2017, I took one of these bags with me at the World Economic Forum in Davos, hoping to offer it to Donald J. in person. Of course that didn’t quite work out. Instead, I the bag found a happy owner in the person of Joseph Stiglitz, the economist, Nobel laureate and a supersmart critic of the President. Months later, he very kindly accepted to sign the foreword of my book.

 

It’s always illuminating when Trump meets other World leaders. Because then, you really get to size up the man. By comparison, you get a measure of his character. When he met Pope Francis in May 2017, I did this cartoon. Do you know the actual answer to this question? Who of the two has the most followers? Which one is the largest church? Any guess?
(Answer: Last time I checked at the end of 2019, pope Francis counted 49 million faithfuls. And the cult of @realdonaldtrump?  66 million followers…)

 

Whether for Trump or against him, aren’t we all playing into his hands? If he didn’t invent the phrase “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, he incarnates it like nobody else on this planet. From time to time, it does feel good to get him out of the picture, and just focus on the actual reality and real-life consequences of his politics. Like those tax cuts.


The guns debate: America in a nutshell. The inspiration for this cartoon came from something that happened to me in Nevada a few years ago: I was kicked out of a grocery because, having my hands full, I had asked my 18 years old son to help me carry a pack of beers to the counter. The cashier went crazy. Misdemeanor! Crime! i was obviously trying to cover underage drinking! Had I asked my son to carry my gun for me, it would all have been just fine…

This is one of my favorites. Just like George W. Bush invaded Iraq in order to impress and surpass dad, this cartoon might contain the quintessencial explanation of Trump’s main policies, when it comes to Iran, the affordable care act and some other things he’s obsessing about.


The President choosing a Supreme court candidate. Imagine what it will be like in his second term…

 

I did this cartoon at the beginning of the impeachment inquiry, in September 2019. Someone brought it back recently and told me how insightful, how prophetic it was! We like this idea, us cartoonist: to be called “prophetic”. A cool compliment. When in fact, regarding Trump’s impeachment, the writing was all over the wall already back then. I was just being lucid. Which is enough of a compliment – and could be a good definition of our job.

 

We love Patrick ––GO BUY HIS BOOK!

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World’s Fastest Illustrator

Here’s another piece from my cartoonist buddy, Randy Enos –the fastest illustrator in the world.

Email Randy Enos
Visit Randy’s archive –Daryl


For many, many years my working hours were from about 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 the next morning, with breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was in the late 50’s into the late 90’s … then things slowed down a bit.

In the early years, I would often travel to New York to deliver jobs and to pick up work. Sometimes the regular work I would pick up from The New York Times and N.B.C. in particular, were jobs that were “overnight jobs”. I would rush home, do the jobs until 4:00 in the morning, sleep and wake up about 10 or 11 then go on the train to deliver them. I loved working at night. I would play movies that I would rent, while I was working. Sometimes, I would be so intensely working on the job that I wouldn’t even look up to see a single scene, I would just listen to the sound. I rented so many movies (and got additional free ones from the library) that I became a favored customer at several video stores and would get invited to their private office parties. I was renting 2 or 3 movies, EVERY day. I preferred listening to movies rather than music.

I never missed a deadline but had some harrowing moments sometimes in the middle of the night thinking that I wasn’t going to make it. My solution for that was to create a little schedule for myself. I had picked a complicated medium to work in because I’m not the brightest bulb on the tree. I invented this linocut-collage thing which included printing a carved lino block on many different colored papers (Pantone papers) in many different colored inks (water soluble Speedball) and then cutting portions of each print and pasting it all together… a hard to describe complicated procedure which netted me a unique style of my own which was unlike anybody else’s (no other illustrator would be stupid enough to go through a process like this into the wee hours of the morning). SO, here’s the kind of schedule I would quickly write out to assuage my fears of not being able to finish before the morning’s train time.

Only with my more complex and “scary” jobs would I make out a schedule like this. The ones that I thought I’d never be able to do in one night.

9 pm to 10 pm… make a sketch for the illustration.

10 pm to 11 pm… transfer the sketch to my lino block.

11 pm to 2 am… cut the block (or blocks, because I would often have more than one illustration to work on at a time).

2 am to 2:30 am… rest break (watch some of the movie).

2:30 am to 3: 30 am… ink the block (or blocks) and print on colored papers.

3:30 am to 5:00 am… dry the prints (in my little studio microwave) and cut them out with X-acto knife and paste up the illustration.

5:00 am to 7:00 am… do any retouching that would be necessary etc.. Put a flap on it and stick it into an envelope.

DONE.

When I could see that there was ample time to go through all my processes, right in front of me, the panic would subside as long as I kept to the schedule.

As I said, a lot of the time I would have more than one illustration to work on at a time. Six seemed to be my magic number. I always seemed to have six jobs on the board to do. As soon as one would be checked off, another had replaced it. Also, when I looked at a magazine or newspaper stand, I could, almost always, count at least six publications that I was in at any given time. In my 63 years, I’ve worked for every American magazine except The New Yorker. I even did an illustration for People and they don’t even carry illustrations. Have you ever seen one in there?

I never did any advertising work (unless you count the very “editorial” nature of my NBC illustrations), but, rather, I was in the low paying but much freer and more interesting world of editorial illustration (books, magazines and newspapers). And the money was all over the place from doing a small spot illustration for the back pages of Time magazine for $1000 to elaborate double-page spreads for The National Lampoon or Progressive magazine for $150 – $200. I never thought about the money (my wife says that’s a major problem with me) and put just as much energy and time into the low paying jobs as I did for the higher paying ones –sometimes more. And, I never turned a job down because, unlike other illustrators, I didn’t care about playing tennis or golf or going on vacations. I only cared about making pictures. On beautiful hot and sunny days, I was only happy if I was in my basement studio with some juicy jobs to work on.

In those days, I used to bill myself as “The World’s Fastest Illustrator”!

Time magazine had the habit of giving out rush jobs and sending a driver out to Westport to pick it up. That could be harrowing. I once got one of those jobs. No time for a sketch to be approved or anything. I worked out what I was going to do with the art director over the phone. Then he would say, “Okay Randy, the driver is setting out now to pick it up!” Then I would quickly draw my illustration onto my block and start cutting away at it, all the time with the vision in my mind’s eye of the driver on the Merritt Parkway heading toward me. Fortunately, it would take him almost an hour.

Okay, here’s the fastest job I ever did. My next door neighbor was the editor of Fairfield County Magazine. She called me from work and said that she had a quick job for me. She had some photos of lawn furniture and wanted me to just draw on them with pen and ink and make the chairs and tables into cartoon characters. She said she’d drop off the photos on the way home that night. Later, she came to my door with an envelope with the photos. I took them and rushed over to my drawing board as she left and quickly drew arms and legs and heads on the photos and went out the door and gave them to her as she was putting her key into her front door. Time elapsed… under a minute!

Some of the fastest illustrations I had to do were for The Wall Street Journal, which I like to call The Wall Street Gerbil. Back in the black and white days before there were any color illustrations in the newspapers (I did the first color illustration for them later on) we used to FAX the originals, Believe it or not!

On the other hand, I had a client who never had a deadline. Let me repeat that… NO DEADLINE… ever. It was the Boy Scout magazine, Boy’s Life.

The art director, Joe Connolly would call me up and ask me if I could do the job and that he would be sending me the text. It would always be one major full-page illustration and three smaller ones for each story. At the end of our conversations, he would say, “And, as always, Randy, there’s no deadline!” Boy’s Life was one of my highest paying clients but the stories had practically no content with which to work. They were void of any substance. I defy any average illustrator to get even one idea for an illustration never mind three! It’s a good thing I wasn’t an average illustrator because I did them for many years. Joe would just hand out and stockpile up the illustrated stories until he needed them for an issue. And he used top illustrators so I was in good company.

On one occasion, I slipped his manuscript under a pile of other stuff because I knew there was no immediate rush and went on to other projects. It stayed there for a WHOLE YEAR!!! Joe called me up and I suddenly remembered the long lost manuscript that I had forgotten about. I stammered, “Oh jeez, Joe, I forgot about the story … I’ll get to it right away!” He said, “No no no, there’s no deadline, I’m just calling you with another job!” You don’t find clients like that very often.

I used to do a lot of work for McGraw-Hill magazines. Some of it was tedious, mundane sort of things. One massive job I had, involved me putting down lots of Prestype lettering. God, what a nightmare! The lettering would crack or pull off or go down crooked and I struggled for hours and hours doing that tedious rush job. I stayed up without sleep for TWO nights and was going on to my third night (the job was due the next morning) when I just pooped out. I couldn’t go on any longer… I needed to sleep. I just gave up at one point and said, “I can’t do it, I’ve got to sleep” and promptly passed out. I awoke in the morning and went into panic mode. It was minutes before train time. I rushed into my studio to find the job sitting there… completely finished!! My wife had been watching what I had been doing and while I slept, she finished the job beautifully.

I knew there was a reason I married her beside the fact that she was a cutie-pie!


We need your support for Cagle.com (and DarylCagle.com)! Notice that we run no advertising! We depend entirely upon the generosity of our readers to sustain the site. Please visit Cagle.com/heroes and make a contribution. You are much appreciated!


Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The Fastest Illustrator in the World!

Me and the GhostBusters

The Bohemian Bohemian

Take it Off … Take it ALL Off!

I Eat Standing Up

The Funniest Cartoon I’ve Ever Seen

The Beatles had a Few Good Tunes

Andy Warhol Meets King Kong

Jacques and the Cowboy

The Gray Lady (The New York Times)

The BIG Eye

Historic Max’s

The Real Moby Dick

The Norman Conquests

Man’s Achievements in an Ever Expanding Universe

How to Murder Your Wife

I Yam What I Yam

The Smallest Cartoon Characters in the World

Chicken Gutz

Brought to You in Living Black and White

The Hooker and the Rabbit

Art School Days in the Whorehouse

The Card Trick that Caused a Divorce

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the NCS

Categories
Blog Newsletter Syndicate

The Gray Lady (The New York Times)

My brilliant buddy, Randy Enos remembers working for The New York Timessee Randy’s archive of editorial cartoons, email Randy Enos –Daryl


I started doing illustrations for The New York Times around 1963 and continued on until 2016. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, I had to quit my part time teaching at Parsons because the Times would go so far as to call me there and ask me to come by before going home. It got so crazy I had to just stay home and freelance instead of trying to teach at the same time.

Working for the Times was different than working for any of my other clients because at the Times there was a “bull pen” opposite the art directors’ offices where 4 or 5 free-lance illustrators sat and worked at drawing boards every day. There was Robert Zimmerman, Randy Jones, Tom Bloom, Robert Neubecker, David Suter and others who would come in and hang out and eat lunch in the Times’ cafeteria. They might be delivering a job and then just hang around and likely pick up another job while there because it was so convenient for the A.D.s to just walk across and get a quick spot drawing. I, myself, did not do any illustrations there (well, only once, I think) because I was working in my linocut style and it was inconvenient for me to do my work other than at home, but it was fun to talk shop with the boys (I don’t remember any women there except Tom Bloom’s pregnant wife) and we had good times all sitting together in the cafeteria.

I remember a few notable illustrations I did for The Gray Lady, the nickname of the Times, among the many hundreds I did in those days. One was a ¾ page illo for the front page of the Wednesday Living Section, which was a section I often worked for under art directors Jerelle Kraus and later Nancy Kent. The subject simply was chicken sandwiches. The author had gone around to various famous high-scale chefs and asked them how they would make the humble chicken sandwich. The article went on to talk about inexpensive chicken as a food in general. So, I decided to create (in the large space I was given), the grandest picture of a chicken that the world had ever seen. I had overnight to do it. I rushed home and started working. I worked all night long without any sleep lino-cutting an intricate, highly decorative, complex vision of a big eye-catching chicken saying, in a tiny word balloon, “cheap.” By morning I had printed it out but felt that I still had time on the train to embellish further with a rapidograph pen, which I did in the hour-long trip to Grand Central Station. Jerelle was very happy with it and wondered what I could possibly do if I actually had a lot of time to do an illustration like this so she decided to give me an advanced assignment to do a Halloween front page a year in advance. I worked on a large apple tree, Halloween revelers, cider, trick or treaters and the like, in as much detail as I could for the whole year amidst all my other jobs. I lovingly drew every detail of the bark and every twig and leaf on that tree and every li’l kid in costume until it filled almost the entire front page of The Living Section. To tell you the truth, though, the chicken was better.

A detail from Randy’s Halloween cover, that he worked on for a year.

Another time, I was on vacation in California and Jerelle thought it would be cute to give me an assignment while I was out there. Through some fantastic Sherlock Holmes sleuthing she acquired my mother-in-law’s phone number and tracked down my number out there and found me in Los Angeles. I thought it was such a funny, perverse feat of art directorship that I actually accepted the job and had to go out and buy some lino cutters, lino block and printing ink and roller to do it.

It was so much fun to work for Jerelle. She really fought for the illustrators, constantly doing battle with the wordsmiths in the struggle for space on the pages. Later, she was on the Op-Ed and would get people like Folon and Andy Warhol to do pictures for her. She spoke about 6 languages and she seemed to know everybody –even Richard Nixon.

Jerelle asked me once to do a Santa Claus. It had to be a Danish Santa Claus… AND… it was to be in a long vertical space. So, I drew a tall skinny European-style Santa whose outfit was replete with intricate detail featuring symbols of the Danish Christmas. At the last minute, before going to press, she lost that space in the paper and ended up with a smaller, more conventional almost squarish shape for the art. No time for me to re-do it. She skillfully cut the top part of my picture and joined it to the bottom part (eliminating the whole central area). Because she was an artist herself, she was able to make it work. I liked it better than what I had done.

I had worked with Nancy Kent at Connecticut Magazine and then she went to the Times and I worked with her for many years until she retired. She worked the Living Section for a long time and was then given the special magazines to do. Those were great because I sometimes got to do covers along with interesting inside stuff for subjects like Travel, Health, Christmas, etc..

I worked on the Book Review section with Steve Heller and got to do covers there too. When Steve came to the Times, he had come from Screw Magazine. At Screw, he had called me one day (I didn’t know him yet) and said, “Will you do a cover for me for $100?” Then he named the important artists like Ed Sorel who had done $100 covers for him so I said “Yes.” He loved my cover and asked for a second one. Then he went to the Times to the Op-Ed page. When I found him there, I said, “How do you like working for The New York Times?” To which he replied, “It’s just like working for Screw!”

Randy’s Al Hirshfeld parody for “Not the New York Times.”

In 1978, the Times workers went on strike. They were out for quite a while. No New York Times! Some guys from the Lampoon plus the author Jerzy Kosinski, Carl Bernstein and his wife, Nora Ephron and George Plimpton and other notables decided to try a parody of the Times and have it printed up to look exactly like the Times. They even got some of the actual pressmen from the Times to lay it out and compose it. The famous writers all wrote parts of it and a small number of artists like myself were asked to join the fun. Everybody thought we’d be sued so the contributors were allowed anonymity. I decided to take a chance and use my real name in doing a parody of a Hirschfeld cartoon and another parody of a typical “vague and incomprehensible” op-ed cartoon. In the Hirschfeld, I decided to draw “Nina” and hide the name “Hirschfeld” in the picture the way he used to hide his daughter’s name, Nina in his caricatures. I later found out that Hirschfeld saw my parody and said, “Very interesting”.

The parody of the Gray Lady was hilarious. There were takes on Bloomingdale ads, ridiculous TV listings, ads for movies, the “Living” section became the “Having” section and gave tips on furnishing your loft with old newsstands. The front page featured two main stories. The first was New York blaming overweight marathon runners for destroying and collapsing the Queensboro bridge complete with a photo of the bridge collapsing. The other major story was the death of the new Pope. At that time, we had a new Pope taking office after the incumbent Pope died and shortly thereafter the new Pope died, so, on the front page we had “ Pope Dies Yet Again” showing a THIRD Pope (a picture of Lampoon editor Tony Hendra) who had the shortest reign ever… 19 minutes.

We didn’t get sued and we had a big party for all contributors at George Plimpton’s townhouse on the upper east side.

As I sat reading my copy of Not The New York Times on the train out of Westport one day while the strike was still on, an excited commuter leaned over the back of my seat and started shouting, “The New York Times is back?” I said, “No, this is Not The New York Times”. He said, “But, that’s The New York Times!!” Finally, I carefully pointed to each word on the masthead, Not… The… New… York… Times”! He slunk back in his seat utterly confused and dejected.

As of late, the art in the Times (on Sundays especially), often consists of big, splashy nonsense. Even Ralph Nader wrote a letter to them condemning the waste of space on frivolous and meaningless art that cheats the reader of valuable news items that could occupy the wasted space.

And now, most recently we see that the Gray Lady has dispensed with all editorial cartoons in her foreign editions. The once glorious art-laden Lady is no more.

The Gray Lady has gotten a lot grayer now.

Randy’s cartoon lino-cut about The New York Times banning editorial cartoons.

See Randy’s archive of editorial cartoons, email Randy Enos


Read many more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The BIG Eye

Historic Max’s

The Real Moby Dick

The Norman Conquests

Man’s Achievements in an Ever Expanding Universe

How to Murder Your Wife

I Yam What I Yam

The Smallest Cartoon Characters in the World

Chicken Gutz

Brought to You in Living Black and White

The Hooker and the Rabbit

Art School Days in the Whorehouse

The Card Trick that Caused a Divorce

The Mysterious Mr. Quist

Monty Python Comes to Town

Riding the Rails

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the NCS

 

Categories
Blog Newsletter Syndicate

NY Times and Dachshunds!

Cartoon protests continue to rage around the world, in response to the New York Times” decision to drop all editorial cartoons after they were criticized for for choosing to publish an anti-Semitic cartoon. Here’s another one from me …

You may notice that this blog and Cagle.com don’t run advertising. Cagle.com is supported entirely from reader contributions –you make the site happen! Cagle.com is the face of editorial cartooning to the world. Please support us and our endangered art form with a contribution to keep our site up and keep our cartoonists drawing! Visit Cagle.com/Heroes, even if you’ve contributed before, even if you can only afford a tiny donation, we can’t let our important graphic voices go silent! Editorial cartoonists face extinction now more than ever before!

For more about the New York Times vs. Cartoonists, visit these past posts:

From 2019: More New York Times Cartoon Blowback

From 2019: Cartoons About No More New York Times Cartoons

From 2019: The New York Times Trashes Cartoonists

From 2015: The New York Times, A Student Contest and Editorial Cartoons

From 2012: The New York Times Cartoon Kerfuffle

From 2012: The New York Times Cartoons Kerfuffle Part 2

From 2007: The New York Times and Cartoons

Here’s a great column by our own Brian Adcock for The Independent.

Here’s an excellent column by Martin Rowson, for The Guardian.

Here are some more New York Times bashing favorites that came in after my last post. This one is by Angel Boligan from Mexico City.

This one is by Nikola Listes from Croatia …

 

This is by Joep Bertrams from Holland …

 

This one is by Hajo de Reijer from Holland …

This one is by Tchavdar Nicolov from Sofia, Bulgaria …

 

This one by Dave Whamond sums it all up …

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Blog Newsletter Syndicate

More New York Times Blowback

The New York Times’ stupid decision to stop publishing editorial cartoons is generating more articles around the world, and the world’s cartoonists are responding with lots of cartoons on the topic – some of the cartoons are more offensive than Antonio Antunes’ cartoon, and I won’t show them here, but I’ve posted some new ones here.

Courrier International, the great French news magazine that reprints lots of editorial cartoons by international cartoonists, asked me a bunch of questions for an upcoming article; I thought I would post my responses here.

1) As a cartoonist and founder of Cagle Syndicate Cartoon, what do you think of the incriminated cartoon by Antonio Moreira Antunes?

This is the famous, offending cartoon by Antonio Antunes.

I would have killed the cartoon if it came in to us. I can also see how the cartoon could have slipped through, without notice, since the cartoon didn’t feature an obvious, anti-Semitic, Der Stürmer cliché like depicting a Jew as a rat or spider.

The Antonio cartoon illustrates the trope that Jews manipulate the world’s non-Jews, with yarmulke-wearing Trump blindly following Jews, which are broadly indicated by the Star of David the Netanyahu-dog wears on his collar, rather than having the dog wear an Israeli flag which would indicate that Trump is led by Israel. When cartoonists mix anti-Israel and anti-Jewish metaphors, the cartoons should be killed. It isn’t about the dog, although the choice of a German Dachshund is provocative; the most common anti-Semitic cartoons depict Jews as Nazis.

This cartoon is by French cartoonist, Pierre Ballouhey. “Teckel” is French for Dachshund.

When we get an anti-Semitic cartoon from one of our cartoonists, I email the cartoonist letting him know why we killed his cartoon, and usually the cartoonist will say, “OK, I get it.” Over time, our cartoonists have learned where we draw the red lines and it is less of a problem for us. Anti-Semitic cartoons are so common around the world that the cartoonists are usually unaware that their cartoons are offensive.

2) Did the decision made by the NYT surprise you (that is : did you see it coming?)? What’s your reaction?

The Times doesn’t run editorial cartoons in their USA edition and has a long history of being cartoon-unfriendly, so their decision to stop running cartoons in their international edition didn’t surprise me.

Cartoon by Pat Bagley of the Salt Lake Tribune.

I was mostly surprised that the Times suddenly cut off their relationship with their partner, Cartoonarts International Syndicate, because of the poor decision of a Times editor. Cartoonarts is a family business that has worked with the Times for nearly twenty years, with the Times handling all of Cartoonarts’ sales and online delivery services, which were suddenly cut off. The announcement that the Times would “stop using syndicated cartoons” didn’t describe how brutal their reaction was to a small business that relied on their long-running partnership and support from the Times.

Cartoon by Milt Priggee.

3) Many cartoonists (Chapatte and Kroll, among others) reacted to the NYT’s decision saying : it is a bad time for cartoons, caricature, humor and derision. Do you agree with this appreciation?

Yes, jobs with newspapers are mostly a thing of the past for editorial cartoonists. Outrage is easy to express on the internet and often takes the form of demands for revenge on the publication and the cartoonist who offended the reader. Newspapers are responsive to organized online outrage and shy away from controversy. Cartoons draw more response from readers than words, and responses are usually negative as people who agree with the cartoons are not motivated to email the newspaper.

Cartoon by Hassan Bleibel from Lebanon.

When did things begin to turn ugly, and why?

Editorial cartoonists are in the same, sinking boat as all journalists. Things turned ugly when the internet took the advertising revenue away from print.

Is there a US specificity in this context, especially since Donald Trump was elected president?

Not regarding Donald Trump. I’ve drawn Trump as a dog, and I’ve drawn Netanyahu as a dog. Cartoonists love to draw politicians as dogs. Anti-Semitic cartoons are common around the world but are not common in the USA where editors do a good job of recognizing and killing offensive cartoons.

Cartoon by Neils Bo Bojesen from Denmark.

4) Why is it important to defend cartoonists and press cartoons, according to you? (or: do you think a world without cartoons and caricature has become a serious eventuality? Can you imagine such a world?) What should be done to defend this form of journalistic expression?
5) As a cartoonist and founder of Cagle Syndicate Cartoon, what would you say about the role played by social medias? Do you see them rather as a useful tool or a threat to a good and sound public debate? Or somewhere in between?

It is troubling that so many people get their news through social media. Social media has taken the advertising revenue away from traditional news media – both online and in print – so journalism is being starved. Editorial cartoonists are no different than other journalists; we’re underpaid freelancers now; we draw for love rather than because of any good business sense.

Cartoon by Arcadio Esquivel from Costa Rica.

I run an editorial cartoons site for readers at Cagle.com, and we stopped running advertising on the site. We rely on donations from readers to support Cagle.com. Other publications are going non-profit and relying on donations to support their journalism – I’m impressed with Pro-Publica and the Texas Tribune. The Guardian has been successful with support from their readers.

Cartoon fans who worry about our profession can support us by going to Cagle.com/Heroes and making a small contribution. We really appreciate everyone’s support!

 

Cartoon by Dale Cummings from Canada.

 

Cartoon by Nikola Listes from Croatia.

 

Want to see more of my posts about the New York Times’ ugly, recent history with editorial cartoons?

Visit:

2012, The New York Times Cartoon Kerfuffle, Part 1

2012, The New York Times Cartoon Kerfuffle, Part 2

2007, The New York Times and Cartoons

2015, The New York Times, a Student Contest and Editorial Cartoons

 

 

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Blog Newsletter Syndicate

Cartoons About No More New York Times Cartoons

An article in The Week reminded me that I had drawn a cartoon about The New York Times not running editorial cartoons back in 2003.

The offending Antonio Antunes cartoon that lost a job for Patrick Chappatte, crushed a syndicate and lost a top venue for all editorial cartooning.

 

 

Here’s another good article about the Times’ decision from our own Brian Adcock.

 

 

And here are some of my favorite cartoons on the subject. This one below is by Jos Collignon from Holland.

 

This one is by Emad Hajjaj from Jordan.

 

This one is by Randy Bish from Pittsburgh. 

 

This one is by Jose Neves from Montreal.

 

This one is by the great Dario Castellejos from Mexico.

 

This one is by Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer.

 

This is by Robert Rousso from France.

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Blog Newsletter Syndicate

NY Times Trashes Cartoonists

Yesterday we learned that the NY Times terminated the contracts with their two cartoonists who have been regular contributors to the NY Times International edition, Swiss Cagle Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte and Heng Kim Song from Singapore.

The offending Antonio Antunes cartoon that lost a job for Patrick Chappatte, crushed a syndicate and lost a top venue for all editorial cartooning.

This is another over-the-top reaction to the stupid decision of a Times editor to run an anti-Semitic cartoon. Here’s a quote I gave to the Washington Post:

By choosing not to print editorial cartoons in the future, the Times can be sure that their editors will never again make a poor cartoon choice. Editors at the Times have also made poor choices of words in the past. I would suggest that the Times should also choose not to print words in the future –just to be on the safe side. –Daryl Cagle


Patrick learned that he lost the gig in an online announcement from the Times, which later expanded on the subject with a self-serving statement from their editorial page editor, James Bennett, bragging that the Times won a Pulitzer Prize in the editorial cartooning category – though he fails to mention that the prize was for a non-fiction piece where a writer wrote a script that was illustrated by a cartoonist –not what I would call a prize for an editorial cartoonist.

Patrick gave me permission to re-post this announcement from his blog:

Patrick posted this Charlie Hebdo cartoon with his announcement.

 

 


The end of political cartoons at The New York Times

All my professional life, I have been driven by the conviction that the unique freedom of political cartooning entails a great sense of responsibility.

In 20-plus years of delivering a twice-weekly cartoon for the International Herald Tribune first, and then The New York Times, and after receiving three OPC awards in that category, I thought the case for political cartoons had been made (in a newspaper that was notoriously reluctant to the form in past history.) But something happened. In April 2019, a Netanyahu caricature from syndication reprinted in the international editions triggered widespread outrage, a Times apology and the termination of syndicated cartoons. Last week, my employers told me they’ll be ending in-house political cartoons as well by July. I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh: that’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon – not even mine – that should never have run in the best newspaper of the world.

I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow. This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions. Twitter is a place for furor, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows in.

Over the last years, with the Cartooning for Peace Foundation we established with French cartoonist Plantu and the late Kofi Annan – a great defender of cartoons – or on the board of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, I have consistently warned about the dangers of those sudden (and often organized) backlashes that carry everything in their path. If cartoons are a prime target it’s because of their nature and exposure: they are an encapsulated opinion, a visual shortcut with an unmatched capacity to touch the mind. That’s their strength, and their vulnerability. They might also be a revealor of something deeper. More than often, the real target, behind the cartoon, is the media that published it.

“Political cartoons were born with democracy.

And they are challenged when freedom is.“

In 1995, at twenty-something, I moved to New York with a crazy dream: I would convince the New York Times to have political cartoons. An art director told me: “We never had political cartoons and we will never have any.“ But I was stubborn. For years, I did illustrations for NYT Opinion and the Book Review, then I persuaded the Paris-based International Herald Tribune (a NYT-Washington Post joint venture) to hire an in-house editorial cartoonist. By 2013, when the NYT had fully incorporated the IHT, there I was: featured on the NYT website, on its social media and in its international print editions. In 2018, we started translating my cartoons on the NYT Chinese and Spanish websites. The U.S. paper edition remained the last frontier. Gone out the door, I had come back through the window. And proven that art director wrong: The New York Times did have in-house political cartoons. For a while in history, they dared.

Along with The Economist, featuring the excellent Kal, The New York Times was one of the last venues for international political cartooning – for a U.S. newspaper aiming to have a meaningful impact worldwide, it made sense. Cartoons can jump over borders. Who will show the emperor Erdogan that he has no clothes, when Turkish cartoonists can’t do it ? – one of them, our friend Musa Kart, is now in jail. Cartoonists from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Russia were forced into exile. Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists in the U.S., like Nick Anderson and Rob Rogers, lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying. And pushing back. Political cartoons were born with democracy. And they are challenged when freedom is.

“The power of images has never been so big.“

Curiously, I remain positive. This is the era of images. In a world of short attention span, their power has never been so big. Out there is a whole world of possibilities, not only in editorial cartooning, still or animated, but also in new fields like on-stage illustrated presentations and long-form comics reportage – of which I have been a proponent for the last 25 years. (I’m happy, by the way, to have opened the door for the genre at the NYT with the “Inside Death Row“ series in 2016. The following year, another series about Syrian refugees by Jake Halpern and Michael Sloan got the NYT a Pulitzer prize.) It’s also a time where the media need to renew themselves and reach out to new audiences. And stop being afraid of the angry mob. In the insane world we live in, the art of the visual commentary is needed more than ever. And so is humor.

Patrick Chappatte
June 10, 2019

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The Pyramid of Success

My cartoonist buddy, Randy Enos, is a generation older than me and comes from the same New York City illustration background that I jumped into, fresh out of college in the 1970’s. I grew up following Randy’s work in the National Lampoon and all the top magazines as I was a budding illustrator. Randy knows all of the famous illustrators who were my heroes in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I’m delighted to syndicate Randy’s off-beat editorial cartoons and I’m enjoying the memories he’s writing for my blog –especially this one. –Daryl

Toward the end of November 1973, my buddy, Stan Mack, called me in to The New York Times to do a cover for the Sunday magazine section which he was art directing at the time. They were doing a story on John Wooden, the famous coach of the UCLA basketball team. Wooden was famous for giving his players a mimeographed sheet of platitudes which reflected his recipe for succeeding in sports and in life. He arranged these platitudes on the paper, in ruled boxes that stacked up to form a pyramid. He called it his “Pyramid of Success.” It was just a simple typed up sheet of words to live by. Each time a player was recruited, he would find this sheet of paper in his mailbox the next morning.

Stan had been at a loss as to how to feature Wooden on his cover. He wanted to avoid he obvious montage of, perhaps, a head shot with a basketball player in the background. Then he stumbled upon Wooden’s “Pyramid” in the text. Stan had seen a couple of jobs (one I remember was for Esquire) where I had done some wood-block or lino-block lettering and he thought that I could take this homely little typewritten page and do something nice and artistic and colorful for his cover. So, I tackled it in my normal lino-cut collage technique where I would print my lino block on different colored papers (in different colored inks) and then collage the whole thing together. The finished art appeared on the cover, Sunday, December 2nd, 1973.

The Randy Enos version of UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” that ran on the cover of The New York Times Magazine.

Bright and early Monday morning the telephones started ringing at The New York Times – and they continued ringing until finally the Times had to recruit outside help to man the phones. Then the mail started pouring in, sacks of it. Then the Times gave out my phone number and address to callers and my phone started ringing and my home mailbox started filling up. Each time, I would go to the Times to pick up or deliver a job, I would be presented with a sack full of mail addressed to me at the Times. They dealt with the ones addressed to them.

This deluge was caused by readers, who seized with the passion of Wooden’s words, were demanding copies, re-prints, ANYTHING we had to offer. We were getting correspondence and calls from, mayors’ offices, corporations, law enforcement bureaus, libraries, universities, along with just plain ol’ ordinary citizens – LOTS and LOTS of them. Some were upset because they had also written to Wooden and received only a dopey little mimeographed sheet in black and white. They wanted the one in color – the POSTER!

I had created a FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER!

It went on for months and months and finally years and years … and years. My son recalls visiting a friend in college and seeing it on many students’ walls. My wife was getting tired of the constant phone ringing and cursed the Times for giving out our number and address.

Years later, people would write or call and say that their copy of the Times cover was yellowing on their wall and did I know where they could get a better reproduction of it. My answer to all of them was that I couldn’t sell them or give them a copy or a poster of it because it wasn’t totally mine. It was Wooden’s thing. I merely had interpreted it in color. They would have to get his permission and then maybe something could be worked out. They never got back to me. Finally I contacted Wooden by letter and said that he was obviously getting the deluge that I was and so perhaps we should get together on this and make reproductions of it for sale or something. Leann was already imagining a life of exquisite bliss on a tropical island where we and our 5 horses would be sipping daiquiris and never having to work again. But Wooden never replied.

Years would go by and I would think that maybe it had finally gone away. And then, the phone would ring, or I’d get a letter with the familiar phrase, “Back in 1973 you did a cover for the …”

Okay. I lied. One entity got through to Wooden. It was McDonald’s. They sent me a letter from the coach that said that I could give them the art for a Christmas card for their employees. I had previously told them that if they got permission from Wooden that I would let them use my picture for free. Of course, I never thought they’d get it. So a big black limo pulled into my driveway and I handed over my original art. Later they returned with it and magnanimously provided me with a coupon entitling me to two free hamburgers and a coke. I never redeemed the coupon. And I never saw the Christmas cards.

The Times had given out repro rights to some people like IBM, who used it as the cover bearing the Times masthead.

Many decades have passed and I haven’t had any more letters and calls for a while. Of course, I haven’t checked the mail yet today. Out of the thousands and thousands of requests that the Times and I received, not one single one was complimentary about my art (I’m sure Wooden hated my grotesque version of his beloved, mimeographed Pyramid). It was only the sentiments expressed by Wooden that captured their imagination and desire to own a copy of it (suitable for framing).

Years and years after 1973, I was at the Times one day and one of my art directors said, “Randy, I want to show you something.” I followed him to a back room where there was a closet. He unlocked it with a key and there before my astonished eyes were shelves laden with copies of the Sunday, December 2nd, 1973 edition of The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Randy Enos

Email Randy

 

Read more more of Randy’s cartooning memories:

The Pyramid of Success

The Day I Chased the Bus

The Other Ol’ Blue Eyes

8th Grade and Harold von Schmidt

Rembrandt of the Skies

The Funniest Man I’ve Ever Known

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part One”

Read “I’m Your Bunny, Wanda –Part Two”

Famous Artists Visit the Famous Artists School

Randy Remembers Tomi Ungerer

Randy’s Overnight Parade

The Bullpen

Famous Artists Schools

Dik Browne: Hot Golfer

Randy and the National Lampoon

Randy’s Only Great Idea

A Brief Visit to Outer Space

Enos, Love and Westport

Randy Remembers the National Cartoonists Society

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Blog

My Charlie Hebdo Week Rant

I usually don’t draw such wordy cartoons, but I thought this would get around better than if I wrote the same points in a column.

To explain this one, reading from left to right, the wart-hogs become progressively more disturbing. On the less disturbing left is The Los Angeles Times, which ran a blank, editorial cartoon shaped spot that wasn’t really blank, but contained a line of words, telling readers that this is what the world would look like if there were no editorial cartoons, with an attribution to the write who wrote those words. Ironically, The Los Angeles Times runs no cartoons three days a week or so – they could run that line three times a week with no blank spot. Cartoonists are at their best when times are tough and feelings run high. Editors are most cartoon averse when times are tough and feelings run high. (That said, the LA Times runs three or four of our cartoons a month – we usually love you, LA Times.)

The second wart-hog represents “Web pirates”, who are a problem for cartoonists most of the time, although now they have their heart in the right place with Charlie Hebdo tribute cartoons, and I can’t be too angry at them this week. I’m more angry with the big Web sites like The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post that are stealing cartoons and not paying the cartoonists right now. Even The New York Daily News is non-paying pirate now. Come on people – you should pay the cartoonists. Cartoons are cheap. You can see how important editorial cartoons are around the world now. Pay the cartoonists.

The third wart-hog is The Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which just laid-off their nationally syndicated cartoonist, Chan Lowe, at a time that couldn’t be more awkward. The Sun-Sentinel just dropped the most important part of their newspaper.

CharlieHebdoCoverMore on word-people who don’t get it – The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, neither of which has an editorial cartoonist. My New York Times wart-hog says, “We can write about dead editorial cartoonists; we don’t need to hire any editorial cartoonists.” My faux quote is inspired by The New York Times‘ famous statement that they don’t need to show the Danish Muhammad cartoons because they can describe the cartoons with words – of-course, they can’t. And The New York Times has been making similar statements recently about not showing the Charlie Hebdo cover.

There are a couple of quotes from The New York Times that I have no attribution for, just cartoonist gossip, but they both ring true. The times is quoted saying, “We would never hire an editorial cartoonist because we would never give so much power to one man.” and the second quote: “We would never hire an editorial cartoonist because you can’t edit art like you can edit words.” At least they are honest, bone-headed word-people. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal run cartoon illustrations, where they give an assignment to a illustrator, rather hiring a real editorial cartoonist who draws what he thinks, like a columnist writes what he thinks – no, not that.

President Obama is on the right. Instead of going to Paris with the other world leaders, Obama met with the N.B.A. Champion San Antonio Spurs. Looks like the White House is run by The New York Times.

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Blog

The New Issue of Charlie Hebdo

CharlieHebdoCover
This is the cover of the Charlie Hebdo issue that was released after the attack. The full issue is in the pdf below. They printed 50 times more copies than usual, and still sold out right away.

The new issue of Charlie Hebdo just came out in France, greeted by long lines at newsstands; it reportedly sold out right away. Thanks to my alert buddy, Alan Gardner at thedailycartoonist.com, I’ve posted a downloadable pdf of the whole issue below.

I’m ashamed of my American journalist colleagues who refuse to show the Charlie Hebdo cover, among them The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press and CNN.

The New York Times executive editor, Dean Baquet, explained his decision to characterize the cartoons in words rather than show them: “We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these [cartoons] are gratuitous insult.” Brooke Baldwin on CNN described CNN’s decision as partly based on considerations for their employees’ safety.

I would describe the New York Times’ many false articles about “weapons of mass destruction,” running up to the war with Iraq, as a “gratuitous insults” also.

CNN’s explanation is just cowardice.

Charlie Hebdo

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Columns

The New York Times Cartoon Kerfuffle

There was a “cartoon kerfuffle” this week as The New York Times announced that they would begin running traditional editorial cartoons again, in an email invitation to selected, top political cartoonists. It was good news that one of America’s biggest newspapers would again embrace our art form, but their offer was so lousy it only made the cartoonists angry.

What the Times proposed was having all the best cartoonists submit finished cartoons to them on Fridays, for publication in their Sunday edition. The Times wanted the cartoons to be exclusive to them; the cartoons could not be reprinted elsewhere. The Times would pick one of the cartoons and pay the winning cartoonist a paltry $250, sending him an exclusive contract only after he wins the selection contest; the dozens of losing cartoonists would get nothing. Of course, the cartoonists reacted to this offer with disgust, and the Internet has been buzzing with cartoon disdain for the arrogant New York Times the past few days.

The Times is arguably the most prestigious newspaper, and they have been without a staff editorial cartoonist for many decades – a sore spot for our beleaguered editorial cartooning profession which has been losing jobs at about the same rate as newsroom journalists, as newspapers’ fortunes have declined. Before dropping editorial cartoons entirely, the Times ran a weekly “round-up” of syndicated cartoons under the title, “Laugh Lines,” in which they selected funny cartoons that were like Jay Leno jokes, expressing no strong opinion, but good for a smile. Cartoonists suspected that the new cartoon in the Times would be the same, encouraging cartoonists to compete for the Times’ favor by submitting opinionless, funny cartoons that would further “dumb-down” the profession. The Times would also remove the artist’s signature from their editorial cartoons, an annoyance to the cartoonists.

Newspapers have gotten used to the idea that editorial cartoons are cheap, because of “syndication” where cartoonists distribute their cartoons to hundreds of newspapers through “syndicates” (businesses that charge very little for the cartoons). But syndication is no extra work for the cartoonist, distributing only cartoons that the cartoonist has already drawn for his own newspaper, and the syndicated cartoons are “non-exclusive,” that is, they can be purchased and reprinted anywhere, unlike the New York Times proposal for exclusive cartoons for only $250, with a contest between cartoonists who would spend time submitting and making changes for the Times’ editors, with only one cartoonist having his work printed and getting paid.

It is a sign of our times, of how far our cartooning profession has fallen, and of how callously editors have devalued our work that the Times would solicit cartoons under these conditions – and also a sign of how arrogant The New York Times has become, to assume that top cartoonists would participate. There has been some blowback, with prominent cartoonists writing letters to the Times dissing the offer and refusing to participate; one of my favorites came from award-winning Canadian cartoonist Cam Cardow who wrote:

“I suggest you take this idea back to the boardroom from which it was birthed and have it reconsidered. I would also humbly suggest that your editors take an afternoon off and head to the local library to study the contributions editorial cartooning has made to journalism and society. For one, you’ll be surprised to find out professional cartoonists don’t live in trailer parks, or panhandle at malls. Some of us even have all our teeth. Well, we Canadian do.”

I’m told that the Times is now “revisiting the policy.” I have a few suggestions for the Times:

1. Try reprinting the best syndicated cartoons again, with signatures of the artists in place, and without the title, “Laugh Lines,” so that cartoons which make a reader cry or think might get equal play in the Times as the little jokes.

2. Or, if you want an exclusive cartoon, trust one cartoonist and pay him or her fairly. Find someone whose point of view is in line with the Times’ editorial stance; commit to that cartoonist and give him the same freedom that you do with your columnists. After all, editorial cartoonists are graphic columnists, except that our work is more powerful than the words of columnists. Nobody tears out a column and sticks it to their refrigerator.

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. Comments to Daryl may be sent to [email protected] Read Daryl’s blog at www.cagle.com/author/cagle.