Saturday, September 24, 2016

Whom to Believe?

Streitkräfteback Saturday returns yet again to the cartoons running in the papers 100 years ago today. Give or take a few days.

When last we checked in on the war in Europe, the Germans were starving. At least, that's what the French (and those humorless Russians, for that matter) would have you believe.
"If Only the Dove of Peace Would Come!" by K. J. Hampol in Le Pêle Mêle, Paris, September, 1916
Not surprisingly, I haven't been finding many German cartoons lamenting food shortages. Admittedly, I'm not scouring German magazines, but one would think that if there were such cartoons, the Allied and Ally-sympathetic press would have picked up on them. So what were German cartoonists drawing about?
"The Strong Lungs of Messrs. Asquith and Briand" by E. Schilling in Wieland, Munich, September, 1916
The Schilling cartoon refers to British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith and to Aristide Briand, who held the French offices of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister at this point. My read on the cartoon is that it is lampooning them for empty belligerent talk while waving laurels of peace. German and German-American media were also belittling reports of Allied gains at the Somme, where the battle lines would continue to go back and forth for some time to come.

Under the category of Sour Grapes, we have another cartoon from Wieland, this about British victories at Calais, France and Saloniki (present day Thessalonika), Greece:
"Two Victories" by W. Trier in Wieland, Munich. September, 1916

With all sides weary of war, some Europeans hoped that America would step in as a neutral power to broker a peace deal.
"The Angel Of Peace Cannot Bother..." in Simplicissimus, Munich, September, 1916
Returning to the American press, this Chicago Examiner cartoon depicting, in the background, conflicting claims about the progress of the war offers proof that we've been complaining about our election campaigns for longer than you or I or grandpa has been around.
"Under Fire" by Harry Murphy in Chicago Examiner, September 26, 1916

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Q Toon: Diary of a Wimpy Gov

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Sep 21, 2016
After the North Carolina-based Atlantic Coast Conference joined the NBA and NCAA in pulling their championship games out of the state over HB2 (the so-called "Bathroom Bill" passed to overturn Charlotte's LGBT rights ordinance), Governor Pat McCrory and Republicans in the state legislature made Charlotte a desperate offer:

Repeal your ordinance, Charlotte, and we'll repeal our law repealing your ordinance.

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts is having none of it, telling the Charlotte Observer, "There's no legal reason for Charlotte to do anything."
City Attorney Bob Hagemann agreed. In the memo to Roberts and the council, he said the council’s failure to repeal the ordinance “is in no way a legal obstacle or impediment to the General Assembly’s ability to modify or repeal House Bill 2 as it deems appropriate.”
With North Carolina LGBT Pride underway in Raleigh-Durham this weekend, Charlotte should see plenty of support for its position.

I hope it's not too much of a stretch to depict Gov. McCrory as Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons. The two have very different facial types; McCrory's face is tall with a prominent nose and a crooked mouth; Wimpy has a round face with a round nose and a mouth that only shows up when he's eating. Wimpy's eyes leave plenty of room for his ample forehead; to caricature McCrory, the eyes have to be high on his face, and he has a full head of hair. On the other hand, both seem to squint a lot.

North Carolina cartoonist V.C. Rogers complimented me on a caricature of McCrory I'd sent for the display of HB2 cartoons up at the AAEC's Political Cartoon and Satire Festival this week. He took note of how I drew his nose; Rogers doesn't take the same approach, but produces an instantly recognizable likeness nevertheless. When I had drawn McCrory with a smaller nose earlier this year, I hadn't been quite satisfied with the result.

Most of the other cartoonists in the Tarheel State exaggerate their governor's schnozz, if not generally quite as much as I have this week. Kevin Siers has cast him in a Punch 'n' Judy show. Dwayne Powell often draws McCrory as a parrot. John Cole doesn't make the nose quite so prominent, but he keeps it tall.

The chef of the Charlotte Cafe, on the other hand, does not, and is not intended to resemble Mayor Roberts in any way. (The reference is to the character Roughhouse. And I hasten to add that this cartoon was drawn well before the protests over the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte police yesterday. Most of this blog post was, as well.)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Second Time Around

For Stonetempleback Saturday today, I'm just going to throw out an example of A Better Idea hitting me after deadline.

In September 1991, months after pulling American troops out of the Iraq War I, President George H.W. Bush's administration was again being bedeviled by Saddam Hussein. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the Department of Defense had to come up with another reason for their space-based missile programs and Hussein's refusal to accept defeat quietly was the best they could do.
That's Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Chief of Staff John Sununu flanking President Bush The Elder. Vice President Dan Quayle is the kid making the veiled reference to Communist China, a "most favored nation trading partner."

I can't say I was entirely pleased with that cartoon. Depicting Vice President J. Danforth Quayle as an intellectual lightweight was pretty low-hanging fruit in those days. Somebody actually devoted an entire quarterly publication to it, in fact.
Volume 1, Number 1, page 1.
I got the cartoon done by deadline, and that was the important thing at that moment in time.

Another issue in the news 25 years ago this month was the fear that the U.S. economy wasn't recovering as it had appeared to be: the talk was of a "double dip recession." And thence came a much better cartoon idea than the first.

For that matter, it resulted in a much better caricature of Bush.

By the way, The Quayle Quarterly was put out of business by the 1992 election. They did not move on to become The Al Goreterly.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Kenosha Festival of Cartooning

A number of issues have made it difficult for me to attend this year's Kenosha Festival of Cartooning as much as I would like, but I was able to make it down to the University of Wisconsin at Parkside last night to see the editorial cartoonists' panel discussion.
Ann Telnaes (Washington Post), Wiley Miller ("Non Sequitur"), Jen Sorensen (The Nib, Fusion), and John Hambrock ("The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee") discussed the role of editorial cartooning in this election year, as well as the reactions some of their cartoons have provoked. (It shouldn't be necessary to say, but strangers phoning a cartoonist's mother is way, way out of bounds. How would you like it if we drew your mother?)

If you're in the area, you'll find the rest of the festival at the Kenosha Public Museum downtown. If you're lucky, the exhibit of editorial cartoons, with works of Garry Trudeau, Kevin Kalaugher, Steve Brodner, Mike Ramirez, and many more might still be up at UW-P's Rita Tallent Pickens Hall.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Q Toon: Tears in a Bucket

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✒Sep 15, 2016

Brenda Dale Knox, an actress, singer and celebrity of Savannah, Georgia better known as The Lady Chablis, died last week at the age of 59. The transgender icon came to national attention in John Berendt's book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (from which the quotation in this week's cartoon comes) and the Clint Eastwood movie adapted from it. As CNN put it, "She wasn't the book's main character, but she may have been its most memorable."

Berendt wrote of her, in the forward to her own book, Hiding My Candy, "She is a gifted comedienne whose humor is instinctive and whose power to amuse comes from exquisite timing, a flair for the outrageous, and — I trust she'll forgive me for saying so — balls."