Here’s a new batch of my old TRUE cartoons. This first one is a self-portrait of younger me, sitting on the toilet, talking on my land-line rotary phone. Looking at the old True cartoons makes me feel young again, until I notice details that make me feel old.
Editorial page editors typically reject anything new and different from editorial cartoonists. Unusual styles and formats are just not what editors want to see. Editors like cartoons that look like what they think editorial cartoons should look like – which leads to lots of cartoons that look much the same.
I’ve been a big fan of Andy Singer’s self-syndicated, altie “No Exit” panel for years, and I’ve been encouraging Andy to try his hand at more traditional editorial cartooning. Andy’s panel has content that is socially conscious, like an editorial cartoon, but it is not the right shape, and it is wordy, and it doesn’t have caricatures of politicians and the panel format with a title is simply not something editorial page editors will consider putting in their daily editorial cartoon hole.
What to do? Andy wanted to be on the editorial pages but was committed to continuing the “No Exit” panel. Then he gave me a new pitch, saying, “Daryl, you know, when I put two of my panels next to each other it becomes the shape of an editorial cartoon, and if I do two panels that are on the same topic, and color them, it looks like one big editorial cartoon.” The idea looked interesting to me. The result is rather stylistically different than what editors are used to but Andy’s new editorial cartoon format looks like wordy, multi panel editorial cartoons, and editors seem to be accepting them. The connection between the two panels might be a stretch, but no one seems to notice. So far, so good.
A number of comic strip cartoonists, Like Dan Piraro and Wiley Miller, have been doing their cartoons in both strip and panel format for years. Andy’s work has some format advantages over most magazine gag cartoonists’ work; Andy’s panels are topically editorial cartoons to start with, and he doesn’t have a classic gag cartoon style with a caption at the bottom, which would be more difficult to reformat. Still, it may be that some other socially conscious panel or gag cartoonists could develop a new market by finding a procedure to reformat their ongoing work as editorial cartoons. Andy Singer is the trailblazer.
I drew a self-portrait in today’s cartoon. All the news about Chinese hacking strikes close to home as we’ve had lots of trouble with hacker attacks on our servers, that our ISP has traced to China. I’m guessing that the Chinese junta doesn’t like American editorial cartoons much. I drew a Chinese dragon looking over my shoulder.
I did a State Department sponsored speaking tour in China some years ago, and I told the Chinese audiences that when I draw cartoons about China I represent China with a Panda, or a dragon, or the Great Wall, or that guy standing in front of a tank in Tienanmen Square. The Chinese audience would always murmur and look at each other when I mentioned the tank in Tienanmen Square, which was quite provocative for them and always stirred up the crowd. At one college I said that line and one excited college kid stood up and asked in English, “Oh! Oh! What KIND of dragon?!” That still makes me laugh.
Here’s my very rough pencil sketch.
Next I do the finished line art, in dark, hard pencil on a 14″x17″ piece of Duralene drafting vellum. This is what most people will see in the newspapers since most of them still print in black and white.
Here is the color version. The color on this one was fun. I grabbed a bunch of Chinese dragons from Google Images for scrap on the dragon, and I pulled details from three or four different dragons that I thought were cute.