Thursday, June 30, 2022

Q Toon: Clarence Concurs


You may have heard that the U.S. Supreme Court completely overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood last week, thereby turning nearly half a century of women's rights of bodily autonomy over to the politicians in their state capitols.

The majority opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito promised pinky swear on a stack of Bibles that the Court's decision had no impact on other rulings resting on a constitutional right of privacy earlier Courts had found in the 14th Amendment. 

Justice Clarence Thomas, however, wrote a separate concurring opinion declaring that all bets are off.

“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” Thomas wrote on Page 119 of the opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, also referring to the rulings that legalized [access to contraception,] same-sex relationships and marriage equality, respectively. “Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous’ … we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents.”

Thomas added, “After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

As has been pointed out many, many times this week, Loving v. Virginia was conspicuously absent from Justice Thomas's list of demonstrable errors in need of correction. As cavalier as Thomas is in advocating wholesale annulment of same-sex marriages like mine, he is suspiciously circumspect in regard to resurrecting the anti-miscegenation laws that would break up his own. Anti-miscegenation laws that remained on the books in a majority of states well after ratification of the 14th Amendment — for nearly a century in the case of Thomas's home state, Loving's appellee.

Point made, counselor. Move on.

So, what further constitutional provision errors might Thomas have in mind to correct?

Perhaps cases such as Cruzan v. Director Missouri Dept. of Health (1990), which limits the state's right to force you to undergo a medical procedure against your will. Republicans have been all too eager to pass laws forbidding certain medical procedures (e.g., abortion, gender therapy); we'll see how long it takes for them to pass laws requiring certain medical procedures.

Given that they purport that America's gun violence problem is solely a matter of mental illness, my prediction is: sooner than you think.

Thomas, currently the Court's longest-serving Justice, has been itching from Day One to roll back Americans' rights to 1868 in areas ranging from affirmative action to gun regulation to union rights. And very high on his little list is marriage equality.

Back in 2020, Thomas wrote a dissent in the Court's decision not to hear a case brought by Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

"[T]his petition provides a stark reminder of the consequences of Obergefell. By choosing to privilege a novel constitutional right over the religious liberty interests explicitly protected in the First Amendment, and by doing so undemocratically, the court has created a problem that only it can fix," Thomas wrote. "Until then, Obergefell will continue to have 'ruinous consequences for religious liberty.'"

Joining in and concurring with Justice Thomas? Samuel Anthony Alito.

Monday, June 27, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

If you've been following my cartoons, you probably knew where I was headed with this week's cartoon already.

So here are a couple of leftover thoughts from this past weekend.

When the Supreme Court decision was announced on Friday, I was some 8½ miles away from my drawing board; but I changed my Facebook cover photo to the cartoon I drew back in May when the draft of Justice Alito's decision was leaked.

Friends and strangers quickly shared the cartoon — it will be a while before I find our how extensively — while all the other editorial cartoonists were still at their drawing boards coming up with new responses. And friend of the blog Mike Peterson included it in the next morning's Comic Strip of the Day column at Daily Cartoonist.

All appreciated, and many thanks for the support.

And this janitorial note:

I included a cartoon in Saturday's post that had appeared in the Quayle Quarterly. I haven't been able to find out which issue it was in; I know where I used to have the actual magazine in my old apartment, but in 17 years, it is one of many things that has never found a proper home in our current house.

I'll probably find it someday when looking for something else, assuming it wasn't in the box of stuff that got soaked when our basement flooded 16 years ago.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Too Jejune for Junes

Last Saturday, I asked what was so rare as a J.N. "Ding" Darling cartoon in June. The answer, for now, would be mine. 40 years ago, my June cartoons were rare indeed, whereas "Ding" drew nearly three dozen of them 100 Junes ago.

"South Atlantic," June, 1982

Starting out as a cartoonist for college newspapers, I didn't have anyone to publish anything I drew in June at first. But if I had an idea I really liked, I'd draw it anyway. Clearly, I had expended a considerable amount of thought coming up with this parody of "South Pacific" about the Falkland War between Great Britain and Argentina in May and June of 1982.

"Contingencywise," June, 1982

Drawing cartoons like this one about the resignation of Reagan's first Secretary of State, Al Haig, was useful in terms of keeping in practice and honing the craft. And in this particular case, beefing up the portfolio of work I would send out to newspapers who might be looking to hire a cartoonist.

"Isn't It a Shame..." in Quayle Quarterly, Winter, 1992?

Skipping ahead one decade, here's a cartoon I drew in June of 1992 that wasn't published for months later. It happens to be the only cartoon I drew in June of 1992 in spite of freelancing for the Racine Journal Times. Perhaps there were no local issues of interest that month.

Instead, I offered this to a national magazine, The Quayle Quarterly, devoted to the wet-behind-the-ears Vice President of the United States, J. Danforth Quayle. Quayle had spoken out strongly against Candice Bergen's TV sitcom "Murphy Brown" for a plot arc about the title newscaster choosing to become a single mother.

Given the Republican Party's committed opposition to abortion, those of you too young to remember 1992 might have expected Mr. Quayle to have applauded Ms. Brown's decision to carry a pregnancy to term. But those of us with a few more birthdays under the bridge remember that the abortion issue to the religious right was never about when a fertilized egg becomes a human. 

It was always about sex. Sex outside of marriage = always bad. Shame, shame, shame on you, Murphy Brown. And your little bastard, too.

With no other cartoons from June, 1992 to show here, let's now leap ahead another decade.

"Mixed Marriage," for Q Syndicate, June, 2002

To balance the drawing vs. publication discrepancy of my Dan Quayle cartoon, this next cartoon was actually drawn in December (hence the 2001 copyright tag) for release in June.

As helpful as it may be to have some ready-drawn cartoons on hand for those occasions when I wouldn't be sending a fresh new one for syndication, it is nearly impossible to predict what topics and issues will be a propos in the future. Routine events such as Pride Month, Thanksgiving, and Christmas only go so far, and might not coincide with a vacation, health crisis, or everyday writer's block.

Continuing the topic of trying to stay in the closet:

"Out to the Ballgame," June, 2002

Now, I don't remember whether there was some ballpark that observed Pride Month with a Cross-Dressers Get In Free Day in 2002. But this cartoon does remind me of the time a guy pretended to be Front Row Amy at a Milwaukee Brewers game some years back. 

Front Row Amy is a Milwaukee institution of sorts. For years, this young lady has had season tickets in a front row seat behind home plate. She always pays rapt attention to the game, keeps score, and applauds every pitch that goes the Brewers' way. You never, ever see her having refreshments of any kind.

She favors — exclusively — very low-cut tops that highlight her impressive cleavage. In tight TV shots of left-handed batters, you can't miss that cleavage in the background. These days, she always wears a facemask, but Brewers fans would recognize her anywhere.

She doesn't attend each and every home game; her seat may be empty, but there's usually somebody else more than happy to fill such a prime spot. And for one game, it was some dude who showed up in a long-haired black wig and a top that was as low-cut as any of hers.

Until a later inning when he switched to a Batman costume.

Finally, I could have drawn this Pride Month cartoon six months early, but I didn't.

President Obama had rescinded the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy back in December, 2010; and yes, military recruiters did start showing up at Pride events to enlist new recruits. 

The homophobic Right has since dropped the word "recruiting" in favor of the apparently more ominous sounding "grooming," so this cartoon doesn't work as well as it did ten years ago. I mean, this guy could be telling Darlene that he spied a hair stylist's booth or a dog show, but do you even find that sort of thing at Pride events? 

So, no, it doesn't make sense as an editorial cartoon with groomers instead of recruiters. But fear not: there are still opportunities for parody.

Some enchanted evening
You may see a groomer
With a sense of humor
across a crowded room.
You'd better decide
to hang up the phone
And leave any briders or groomers alone!  

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Q Toon: Driven to Distruction


So I've finally gotten a cartoon drawn about the arrest almost two weeks ago of the 31 white heterosexuosupremacists in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. With them in their van were plans to attack the LGBTQ+ Pride event underway there that weekend.

Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a community organizing group that advocates for inclusivity and democratic principles, said [the planned attack was] a far cry from an isolated incident.

“People should be paying attention to these arrests far beyond Coeur d’Alene,” Ward said via email. “Idaho is a bellwether state for where the rest of the country may be headed in terms of how anti-democracy groups try to build power and how effectively they’re blunted.” He noted that in 2020, Idaho was among the first states to “turn anti-transgender attacks into law” by banning trans women and girls from school sports and that the local Republican Party has supported candidates for the library board who ran on pulling LGBTQ books from shelves.

Republican politicians have been whipping up these amateur fascists with a constant drumbeat of anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant, racist, pro-violence rhetoric and legislation. Their ranting seems especially heated this year, but it has been going on for decades now, amplified by their cheerleaders and coaches at Fox News, OAN, Newsmax, and social media echo chambers.

Perhaps I should have identified the politicians in the lower panel of this cartoon. I've drawn about some of them before; Idaho Governor Brad Little is a newcomer here, however. 

The Idaho House passed legislation in March that would criminalize gender-affirming medical treatment for minors, tacking it onto existing laws banning female genital mutilation. The state Senate refused to take up the bill, thus saving Gov. Little from having to sign or veto it.

As for the rest of the motley crew in my cartoon, we've already discussed Texas Governor Greg Abbott's executive order classifying transgender therapy as child abuse, the "Don't Say Gay" law signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Congresstroll Lauren Boebert's malice against colleagues' transgender children, Ohio's pending bill, and Reprehensible Marjorie Taylor-Greene's anti-LGBTQ+ rantings and ravings. I just haven't gotten around to those same policies in Alabama, Arizona, and a host of other GQP-run states. 

That, along with their racist appeals to get "Critical Race Theory" — an academic topic on the level of multivariate calculus and quantum physics — out of public elementary schools is exactly what drives neoNazis like these "Patriot Front" lunatics to think they must save the White Cis Male Race from replacement by colored transgender wimminfolk.

Heck, I certainly understand the appeal of the LGBTQ+ experience.

Is it that attractive to everyone? Probably not.

But you can't tell that to the idiots in the U-Haul. They're listening to someone else.

[J]ust as police must contend with the growth of extremist groups, the public must pay attention to the elected officials and personalities in the mainstream who ignite the talking points that ultimately animate far-right groups.

When they see a mainstream politician pick up on something they agree with, they see that as validation,” [Kurt Braddock, a professor at American University] said of false claims some Republican lawmakers have made about trans people being “groomers” and “pedophiles.” “Just like the ‘great replacement theory,’ it trickles down to the far-right elements and they run with it.”

Monday, June 20, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

It is with considerable sadness and great pique that we report on the imminent passing of the website of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists after a long illness. has been experiencing difficulties for a while now; for my part, some of my cartoons weren't going "public" from "private" when they were supposed to lately. Other cartoonists had problems uploading their work at all.

The code developed by the original web design company in its effort to accommodate the various goals of the AAEC and its sundry members has proven to be impossible for our current company to fix, and the general consensus seems to be that it's time to put out of our misery.

It was nice for us having a place to store our work on line; but even though Facebook might continue to urge your friends to wish you a happy birthday for years after you're dead, nothing on the internet is quite as permanent as we were once led to believe. Except for that Ancient Aliens Crazy Hair Guy meme.

To anyone who has gone to the AAEC site to repost cartoons that I have split up into individual panels here, I can only apologize and refer you to any of the links on the right side of this page that go to publications that post my work on line. is survived by its Facebook page and Twitter feed. Memorials to the AAEC are appreciated.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

What Is So Rare as a Ding in June?

I had originally intended to post this a couple weeks ago, but other things kept coming up. Better late than never:

The editors at Colliers Magazine carved out a bit of space in their issue of June 10, 1922, to highlight J.N. "Ding" Darling, their regular weekly editorial cartoonist:

A clue to Darling's fame here is that he never signed his cartoons for Colliers with his nickname; yet I'm sure that all of his readers knew exactly whom this paragraph was about before reading a word of it. Of the other editorial cartoonist "classics" cited in the article, Nast and Davenport were dead and gone, but McCutcheon was very much still active at the Chicago Tribune.

Before launching this weekly Graphical History tour half a dozen years ago, I was familiar only with Darling's pen-and-ink work for the Des Moines Register and New York Journal, so I find his wash work for the national magazine interesting. I suspect cartooning afficionados will, too, so today's installment shares his Colliers cartoons from June, 1922.

"Two Miserable Extremes" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Colliers, June 3, 1922

The percentages cited in Ding's June 3 cartoon are more or less the same now as they were at the start of the Roaring Twenties (we can ask Sen. Bernie Sanders to confirm the figures for us). The 1% these days, however, are crying not just all the way to the bank, but all the way to outer space.

"Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Colliers, June 10, 1922

Some things do change over time. Nowadays, hardly anybody is going to be familiar with Longfellow's poem about the village blacksmith. Heck, do today's millennials even know what a blacksmith was?

"The Modern Generation..." by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Colliers, June 17, 1922

Speaking of millennials — or centennials as you might have called them then — we're back in familiar territory with this cartoon. Ding is commenting on the national coal miners strike more than on flappers' manners

"Rearranging Pa's Things for Him" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Colliers, June 24, 1922

Ding's output in this period is pretty impressive: he drew these weekly cartoons for Colliers in addition to his seven cartoons a week for the Des Moines Register, plus the occasional local cartoon for the New York Tribune.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Q Toon: Is There a Doctor in the House?


In a cynical effort to gin up their base, Republicans continue to bash transgender persons in state after state after state. They have a two-pronged approach: criminalizing gender therapy for youth, and forcing transgender athletes to give up sports.

Legislation slithering its way through the Ohio legislature would open the door for Karens and Darrens to force any student athlete to undergo medical genital examination, simply by accusing them of being transgender.

Whether they are or not.

It would be cruel enough merely to ban transgender students from girls’ and women’s athletics. But this bill opens the door to something worse: using weaponized genital exams to expose an imagined invasion of transgender girls. ...

The proposal also gives anyone — whether a parent eager to eliminate their child’s competition or a national activist looking to make local trouble — the standing to challenge an athlete’s gender, and provides no disincentives for making false reports.

Beyond the ways in which the measure would harm young trans athletes, there is no check on the vicious ways in which hypercompetitive parents might use this bill to hurt not just trans girls but any young women. And we know those ruthless parents are out there.

Parents have sued after their children were cut from varsity teams. They’ve subjected opposing teams to racial abuse in an effort to rattle them. Wanda Holloway notoriously hired a hit man to knock off her daughter’s rival for a slot on the school cheerleading squad, as well as the girl’s mother.

We're not just talking about requiring someone to hand over their birth certificate, either. State Republicans want more than just a note from their doctor.

During a press conference led by Democratic state representatives, Dr. Anita Somani held up a speculum, used for vaginal exams, as she explained the details of procedures that could be required of children if a coach, official or even a parent questions the gender of child on a sports team.

“It’s invasive and uncomfortable even for adults who have a trusting relationship with their physician,” Somani said.

She said the requirements in House Bill 151, the bill that would ban trans youth from sports and allow gender verification regulations, go beyond typical sports physical examinations would be “legally forcing children to undergo medically unnecessary exams.”

... “Let me perfectly clear, this extreme legislation, which would require children to have genital exams to play high school sports is nothing short of state-sanctioned sexual abuse,” [Rep. Jessica] Miranda [D-Forest Park] said.

There is still a possibility that Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, might veto this bill, as Indiana's Republican Governor, Eric Holcomb, did to another transgender-bashing bill in Ohio's neighbor to the west last month. Governors have to answer to all the voters in their states, including those whose kids would be subjected to "state-sanctioned abuse."

But the Republicans making up the supermajority in the Indiana legislature only have to answer to the voters that they carefully selected to be in their districts, so they easily overrode Gov. Holcomb's veto.

There's an unshakable Republican supermajority in the Ohio legislature, too.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Stuart Carlson, RIP

I've just learned of the passing of editorial cartoonist Stuart Carlson this past Friday at age 66. Carlson started drawing for the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1983, and continued brightening Brew City editorial pages for 25 years until some idiot at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel decided that the paper no longer had any use for an editorial page.

This is one of Carlson's first cartoons for the Sentinel (if not actually the very first), and an early fan letter:

Everything is temporary when you come down to it, but I guess that editor's note should have served as an omen.

Carlson continued drawing for Universal Press/Andrews McMeel Syndication after the Journal-Sentinel let him go, and as recently as May 31.

Carlson won the 1995 Fischetti Award for this one:

The Journal Sentinel and Daily Cartoonist have more examples of Carlson's work.

This Week's Sneak Peek

There has been a lot of LGBTQ+related news this week, not least of which was the alarming arrest of 31 neo-nazis on their way to attack an LGBTQ+ Pride celebration in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

I could have drawn about that last night, but I'm opting to wait until more of the facts come to light. Somewhere there is a hero who saw a bunch of masked, uniformed, armed fascists cramming into a U-Haul and decided to alert the authorities. There were authorities who took that report seriously and intercepted the U-Haul with sufficient force to apprehend these domestic terrorists.

Somewhere, there may also be someone who sent his minions on this mission while remaining safely in the shadows himself. Somewhere, there may well be more to come.

Meanwhile, there are people in elected office whose actions, because they are in positions of power, are equally reprehensible.

Tune in here again on Thursday.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

A Third-rate Burglary

"He Says He's From the Phone Company" by Paul Conrad in Los Angeles Times, June, 1972

The House's televised "January 6th" hearings this month coincide with the fiftieth anniversary next Friday of the Watergate break-in: the "third-rate burglary" that brought down Richard Nixon's presidency.

"This Is Where The Democratic Platform Committee Will Meet" by Gene Basset for Scripps Howard Newspapers, ca. June 19, 1972

A so-called plumbers squad of Republican-affiliated operatives were caught breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee, which was preparing for the party's national convention the next month. The Democratic Party's likely presidential nominee, Sen. George McGovern, representing the party's anti-war, "New Left" insurgent faction, had just won primaries in California, New Mexico, and his home state of South Dakota. 

"The Phone Company Cut Off My Service" by Bill Mauldin in Chicago Sun-Times, ca. June 24, 1972

It was still too early to count out the more establishment Democratic candidates, Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie. Alabama Governor George Wallace, seriously wounded in an assassination attempt in May, despite a strong showing in Michigan, was a very long shot.

"When Did You First Begin..." by Don Wright in Miami News, June 20, 1972

At the time, McGovern's chances of unseating President Nixon were regarded as slim at best, so bugging Democratic national headquarters seemed an overreaction by the Nixon campaign to McGovern's candidacy. The White House's earlier involvement in sabotaging the campaigns of the Democrats' more establishment candidates would come to light only later as the scandal unfolded.

"What Makes You Jump to the Conclusion that I'm a Republican" by Guernsey LePelley in Christian Science Monitor, by June 26, 1972

No indeed, there wasn't a great deal of mystery as to why someone would want to burgle the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

"Who Would Think of Doing Such a Thing" by Herbert Block in Washington Post, June 20, 1972

Paul Conrad and Herblock (the latter working at the newspaper of Woodward & Bernstein) were not the only ones to note that the burglars' tactics resembled those of the Nixon administration. John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst in this cartoon were Nixon's first Attorney General and Mitchell's newly-minted successor in the office.

"Everything Went Dead" by Jeff MacNelly in Richmond News Leader, ca. June 27, 1972

The ITT scandal, referenced in some of these cartoons, surfaced the previous February when investigative columnist Jack Anderson exposed internal memos at International Telephone & Telegraph that implied a connection between the company's political donations to the Republican Party and Nixon's Justice Department settling an antitrust case in ITT's favor. 

"Agent 0072 Muffs One" by Tom Engelhardt in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 20, 1972

Around the corner from the Post-Dispatch offices, Engelhardt's counterpart at the Globe-Democrat pooh-poohed the importance of the Watergate break-in — as he would continue to do right through the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings two years later.

"Boy—We've Got Him Trapped" by Don Hesse in St. Louis Globe-Democrat, before June 26, 1972

The Watergate break-in was discovered in the wee hours of a Saturday. The following Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against the Nixon administration in a case where his Justice Department had wiretapped suspects without prior judicial approval. Justice Powell's ruling in U.S. v. U.S. District Court applied Fourth Amendment protections:

"Though physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed, its broader spirit now shields private speech from unreasonable surveillance. ... The price of lawful public dissent must not be a dread of subjection to an unchecked surveillance power. Nor must the fear of unauthorized official eavesdropping deter vigorous citizen dissent and discussion of Government action in private conversation. For private dissent, no less than open public discourse, is essential to our free society."

"Empty..." by Ken Alexander in San Francisco Chronicle, June 21, 1972

Ken Alexander's cartoon also cites the Justice Department's unsuccessful prosecution of San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto in an antitrust case (just one of several news events such as Hurricane Agnes vying for attention that week). But Alioto's was a mostly local issue, whereas the Nixon administration's fondness for wiretapping real and perceived enemies was an integral factor in the Watergate scandal.

"Such an Interesting Creature..." by Pat Oliphant in Denver Post, ca. June 24, 1972

Oliphant's cartoon stars the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, Lawrence O'Brien, and would be the first of a swarm of cartoons making a play on the word "bug" ...

"Your Kid Has Been Bugging Me" by Tony Auth in Philadelphia Inquirer, June 20, 1972 way or another.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Ranan Lurie, RIP

Another of the giants in my profession has gone to that great drawing board in the sky:

1968, Life magazine

Ranan Lurie, who died on Wednesday at the age of 90, was an outstanding caricaturist in his day, an Israeli-American published worldwide. (Albeit hardly ever in one place for very long.)

1969, Life magazine

And when I say he was a caricaturist, it's largely because he concentrated so much on getting the faces of politicians so exquisitely exact that he didn't bother to be so persnickety with the other elements of his cartoons.


And it didn't detract from his cartoons in the slightest.

(But make no mistake: drawing someone riding a bicycle ain't easy.)


Aside: Let this be a lesson, kids: don't ever use rubber cement to put newspaper or magazine clippings into a scrapbook. (You kids didn't understand a word of that, did you.) What appears to be grayscale in this cartoon of Henry Kissinger and the leaders of Germany, Greece, France and Great Britain is just my lousy choice of an adhesive staining the paper.

And I've cleaned up this scan considerably.

Oct., 1976

Even if you didn't catch Lurie's signature or the helpful title over his cartoons, you could recognize them by the little sun shining in each and every one.

July, 1976
There are more recent Lurie cartoons out there, but I'll have to leave them for others to display. These are just a few of the ones I saved in scrapbooks back in the day.

Rest in shalom, Mr. Lurie.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Q Toon: Contains S-3XL Content

There are always complaints about how commercialized LGBTQ+ Pride festivals have gotten over the decades.

But these festivals are all about Being Who You Are, and some people happen to be natural born entrepreneurs.

So I hope you'll forgive me for occasionally wondering whether the Progress Flag (the rainbow flag with black, brown, white, pale blue and pink chevrons added on the hoist side) was created as an expression of greater inclusiveness, or just to sell more flags, bumper stickers, decals, clothing, and jewelry to people who already had the old six-color versions.

Alas, we didn't make it to Milwaukee's Pridefest last week, so this is only a wild guess as to what the hot new festival merchandise is this year.

Monday, June 6, 2022

This Week's Sneak Peek

  This week's cartoon started out being about Florida, but it didn't stay about it for long.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Wing Man

 A commenter at Daily Cartoonist this week pointed out an editorial cartoon about editorial cartooning from 1901 in the St. Paul Globe, so I had to go look it up.

"Two of a Kind" by Frank Wing in St. Paul (MN) Globe, Sept. 18, 1901

The cartoon was drawn shortly after the death of President William McKinley, assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. It seems that one Rev. Earl Cranston, Bishop of the American Methodist Episcopal Church, sermonized that editorial cartoonists were as much to blame for McKinley's assassination as were the anarchists.

Looking up the Globe cartoonist, Frank Wing, I quickly found that Charles Schulz had referenced him in an episode of "Peanuts." The kid with the bag over his head is Charlie Brown:

"Peanuts" by Charles Schulz, June 28, 1973

Having studied cartooning with the man, Schulz was obviously very familiar with the cartoons of Frank Wing (1873-1956), moreso than a child Charlie Brown's age could reasonably be expected to be. 

This is the cartoon Charlie is talking about:

"Yesterdays" by Frank Wing, reprinted in Minneapolis Star-Journal, June 18, 1946

Wing drew a single-panel cartoon titled "Yesterdays" in the Minneapolis Journal starting around 1910. He moved to the Minneapolis Tribune in 1920.

Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, February 22, 1920

After disappearing from the Twin Cities newspaper stands in 1937, old "Yesterdays" were rerun in the Minneapolis Journal (by then bought out by the Star) in 1946.

in Minneapolis Star-Journal, March 8, 1946

It would have been around this time that Wing encouraged Schulz, then in his 20's, to cartoon professionally. Aside from some juvenalia, Schulz's first published cartoon was the single-panel "Li'l Folks" in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press from 1947 to January, 1950. "Peanuts" launched in October of that year.

In the "Peanuts" series excerpted above (and later adapted for a 1983 TV special), Charlie Brown, having gone to summer camp, has taken to wearing a sack on his head because of an embarrassing rash resembling the seams on a baseball. This makes him suddenly popular and, as "Mr. Sack," he is elected camp president by the other kids.

There is a saying in cartooning circles: Three Things Make A Blog Post. So here's the third:

Little did Sparky Schulz realize that he would be referencing not one, but two Twin Cities cartoonists on June 28, 1973.

by Steve Sack in Minneapolis Star-Tribune, February 1, 1984