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Here’s a new batch of my old TRUE cartoons. I’m disappointed that so many of these are are dated and don’t hold up over time. I think the stats have only gotten worse in the past 20 years. I’m this batch, there must be twice as many taxing agencies, and the national debt must equal four times the number of grains of surface sand on Jones beach, times $2. I’m putting these up on PoliticalCartoons.com and CagleCartoons.com and I see that newspapers are starting to run them. I hope those newspapers aren’t counting grains of sand.
The story about President Trump’s awkward condolence call to the widow of a fallen soldier has dragged on for more than a week. I wasn’t going to draw about it, but as the story droned on and on, with more awkward false tweets and statements from the White House, it looks like I can’t avoid this one.
I went on my first National Cartoonists Society (NCS), USO trip last week. The NCS has a long history of working with the USO, dating back to the 1950’s and we’re cheap entertainment – all we need is a pen, a pad of paper and a place to sit.
Bahrain, aside from some flashy skyscrapers downtown, is a pretty desolate looking desert, with beige sand, a beige sky and searing heat. Bahrain is a kingdom that has a long bridge to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis like to come to Bahrain to go to a movie, shop and go out for dinner. I suspect the food, movies and restaurants in Saudi Arabia leave something to be desired, so Bahrain is crammed full of hotels, shopping and restaurants.
Out in the middle of nowhere there is a tree they call the “Tree of Life” that grows where there are no other trees in sight. The locals think the tree is thousands of years old, left over from the Garden of Eden. Those cans on the ground are flood lights. Our group of cartoonists is there in the photo, from left to right, Paul Combs (fireman cartoonist and former political cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune); Michael Ramirez, the knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal, right-wing, Pulitzer-winning star editorial cartoonist; Dave Mowder, Illustrator and character cartoonist; Todd Clark, who draws the comic strip “Lola” and writes gags for another half a dozen top strips; next is me in a Hawaiian shirt, and on the right is Ed Steckley, a brilliant caricature artist/illustrator from New York.
I enjoy drawing for the troops! They seem to really appreciate the cartoons. Typically, they will pull out a cell phone with a photo of a boyfriend, a girlfriend or a dog from back home. I sometimes suggest combining the boyfriend with the dog, which is a big hit with the women soldiers, although it doesn’t work the other way around – “girlfriend as a dog” cartoons are to be avoided!
There are US military installations all around Bahrain, including a very big naval base where we spent a good deal of time drawing. We visited a Patriot missile installation and got a great lesson on how the anti-missile missiles work, but they wouldn’t let us shoot one off.
We had originally been slated to visit Afghanistan, but the Pentagon “locked down” Afghanistan as “too dangerous,” so Bahrain was the safe, backup plan. I’m told that some of these NCS/USO cartoonist trips can be rather rugged and adventurous. Since this was my first time, I have nothing to compare it to. It wasn’t rugged. We had a nice hotel. But is was still an adventure.
I was the oldest guy on the trip. It seems to me that the troops are getting younger as I get older. They are kids. Big, tough kids. I appreciate all they do and it was great fun to sit an talk with so many of them.
Here’s my new cartoon on “red lines” in Syria. President Trump seems to have embraced “red lines” and we’re hearing that Trump may order new attacks in response to other, non-poison gas related atrocities in Syria.
The thing I liked most about Trump during the campaign was his often-sated promise to keep us our of Middle East wars. Now Trump owns the crayon.
I did this one as a live stream – but the drawing was pretty minimal, and the conversation during the short video wasn’t very entertaining, that I decided to skip uploading the video this time. I’m also behind on posting cartoons and I need to catch up! Too much to do – sorry!
Trump’s cabinet picks are heavy with generals and billionaires. Saturday Night Live’s depiction of Breaking Bad’s Walter White as the choice to head the Drug Enforcement Agency made me laugh and let to this cartoon.
It is said that some artists drawings all look like themselves, or all look like their wives – for me, everything I draw harkens back to my Muppet days – and all my chickens look like Camilla. (Camilla is the chicken girlfriend of Gonzo.) I can’t get her out of my head; Camilla haunts me.
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.
In old time comics there was a great thing where, when a character gives a dirty look the cartoonist would draw knives, or daggers, coming out of their eyes, pointing at where they are looking. Urbandictionary.com defines it this way:
When someone who tries to intimidate another person, they will flinch quickly towards that person, and exercise a quick widening of the eyes, in effort to scare away the supposed moron who tried to intimidate them in the first place. Usually, the kid who gives the dagger eyes is much more adapted to survive through mockery, and this action helps to scare off possible douche bags who try to scare the dagger eyed kid.
In Hawaii they call it “stink-eye”. With all the stabbings, “dagger eyes” worked for me.