Posts Tagged ‘editorial cartooning’

The wrong Bozos keep getting kicked off the bus

January 26, 2019

Here’s a golden oldie, from my short stint at The Arizona Daily Star. I didn’t stick around to get the sack; I shot out of that place like a rat out of an aqueduct.

As long as we have a cartoon president, how ’bout drawing him up a cartoon Wall®?

We have the technology. Also, the manpower. Newspapers are shitcanning Pulitzer-winners right, left, and center, among them Steve Benson, who was the editorial cartoonist at the Arizona Republic back in 1980, when I scribbled the occasional ’toon for The Arizona Daily Star.

This is nothing new, of course. A J-school prof warned me in the Seventies that there were maybe a thousand editorial cartoonists, tops, and that I might consider expanding my portfolio a tad. This was excellent advice. Because their numbers kept shrinking like a spider on a hotplate, to hundreds and finally dozens.

It was nearly impossible to even make a start Back in the Day® because what few cartoonists there were could be had for chump change via syndication. So the editor of the Frog Dick (S.C.) Daily Lily Pad & Croaker could have Pat Oliphant every day for the price of a tepid cup of Maxwell House at Lulu’s Lunch Bucket.

I still got to draw cartoons, as you know. But I did it as a reporter, as a copy editor, as an assistant feature editor, and like that there. On the side. Onliest time I ever got hired as an honest-to-God cartoonist was when that Boulder-based journal of competitive cycling decided I was too dim to be their managing editor but funny enough to scribble gags about fat masters, dope fiends, and Suits.

In a few short years there won’t be any of us. Robots will be drawing all the cartoons. And you won’t get any of the jokes, because they will be by robots, for robots.

“Ha ha,” they will say. “That’s very logical.”

Paul Conrad, R.I.P.

September 4, 2010
A cartoon by Paul Conrad, then of The Los Angeles Times, circa 1982, when I was the editorial cartoonist (and a number of other things as well) at the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

A cartoon by Paul Conrad, then of The Los Angeles Times, circa 1982, when I was the editorial cartoonist (and a number of other things as well) at the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad died today at age 86.

He was one of the greats, deflating blowhards with a stroke of his razor-sharp pen, and won three Pulitzers for his mastery of the art. His first came at The Denver Post, where if memory serves he was succeeded by the even more acerbic Pat Oliphant. Conrad also won himself a spot on Nixon’s famous enemies list.

I met Oliphant once, at the Fine Arts Center here in Bibleburg, back when I was working for the Gazette. But I never met Conrad. However, I do have a signed print of one of his cartoons, a nice rap in the tusks for the Elefinks from when he worked for The Los Angeles Times.

He will be missed.