Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dick Locher's Presidents

Dick Locher, a long-time editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, passed away this past Sunday at his home in Naperville, Illinois, at the age of 88. In a career stretching from 1972 to 2013, he won the Pulitzer Prize (1983), Fischetti Award (1987), Overseas Press Club Thomas Nast Award (1982 and 1983) and Sigma Delta Chi Award (1982).
"Shhhh! ... I Think I Hear Someone Coming" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, May 13, 1974
In honor of Mr. Locher, here is a quick sampling of his cartoons of American presidents during his career.
"Bug Spray" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, August 17, 1974
I had wanted to share here a September, 1974 cartoon showing a Chicago road crew filling potholes on the expressway with "marshmallow fluff." It is what I'm referring to with the term "pothole cartoon," meaning an evergreen idea that a cartoonist could leave with an editor for release during the cartoonist's vacation or family emergency. It's a hilarious image that I used to have on my bedroom wall before moving it into a scrapbook. Unfortunately, when I did so, I used rubber cement, which has since seeped through the newsprint, creating dark brown stains that I just can't Photoshop out.
"After All Those Promises You Made" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, February, 1978
Instead of any of Locher's editorial cartoons from the Reagan era, here is an episode of Dick Tracy in which the Gipper makes an appearance. Locher worked as an assistant to Dick Tracy's creator, Chet Gould, from 1957 to 1961, and returned after the death of Rick Fletcher to draw the strip with Max Collins from 1981 to 2009.
"Dick Tracy" by Dick Locher and Max Collins, 1983
Locher's son John also assisted in the drawing of Dick Tracy until the younger Locher's untimely death in 1986 at the age of 25. For the next 30 years, Dick Locher and his wife, Mary, have been at the helm of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists' John Locher Memorial Award for college cartoonists. Eligibility for the award was expanded in 2015 to include graphic journalists and web cartoonists age 17-25.
"But His Lips Aren't Moving" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, May 14, 1990
If you ever find yourself in Naperville, look for the statue of Dick Tracy, down by the river at South Webster Street.
"I'm Here to Arrest Mumbles" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, 1993
Current Chicago Tribune cartoonist Scott Stantis writes:
"In this world of snapchat vulgarity Dick was that rare breed: a courtly gentleman. When I was lucky enough to be named editorial cartoonist here at the Chicago Tribune one of the very first people to reach out and congratulate me was Dick Locher. I first met Dick years earlier at an Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention. As a wet-behind-the-ears cartoonist I was in awe of this giant of our industry but, like a true gentleman, he put me at ease and we became fast friends. Dick has always been a font of encouragement, advice and good humor."
Read more encomiums of Dick Locher from his fellow cartoonists here. Then look up the word "encomium."
"We're Going to Hand Him His Lunch" by Dick Locher in Chicago Tribune, 2002
Parkinson's disease persuaded Locher to retire from cartooning in 2013. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary; a daughter, Jan Evans; a son, Stephen, a brother, Bob; a sister, Carolyn Holubar; five grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
"Obama Care" by Dick Locher for Tribune Media Services, 2012
P.S.: Totally by coincidence, I've got more Dick Tracy coming here this Saturday. Do tune in.

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