Blog Newsletter Syndicate

Why does The New York Times keep breaking my heart?

This post is by my buddy, Jeff Koterba –Daryl

By now, even many who don’t normally pay attention to inside-journalism stories, have taken notice of the recent decision by The New York Times to cut all editorial cartoons from their international edition. In recent weeks, friends and strangers have messaged, and have even stopped me at coffee shops in Omaha, the city where I draw cartoons for The Omaha World-Herald, to express their frustration at the news.

The fact that readers, even in the Midwest, are vexed about what’s going into the pages of an international newspaper is somehow heartening. But angst, alone, won’t bring back cartoons to countless readers abroad.

Not all that long before this latest unfortunate news, the U.S. edition of the Times would run a weekly roundup of editorial cartoons in their Sunday Review section. In the years before my work was picked up for syndication, I would submit to The Times my latest work. Much of my excitement came in anticipation of going to a local convenient mart to pick up the Sunday Times. But, of course, nothing compared to the exhilaration I felt on those rare occasions when I would open the paper and discover that the editors had chosen one of my drawings. I felt validated, but more so, I felt connected to something bigger…to the “Great Conversation,” as a friend of mine likes to say about weighing in on current events.

The weekly roundup would eventually go away, replaced by a long-form editorial comic. It broke my heart to know that I would never again see my work reprinted in the Times. But I moved on and eventually moved—to Austria. It was during a nearly two year stay in Innsbruck, while drawing remotely for my newspaper in Omaha—that I fell deeply, madly, in love with The International New York Times. Founded in the late 1880’s as The Paris Herald, the newspaper changed owners and names several times before settling on its current moniker in October of 2013. A few months later I found myself drawing from the Alps, a guy from Omaha who had never lived elsewhere and knew almost no German.

The International New York Times allowed me to once again feel connected to something greater than myself. As I took trains throughout Europe, I always—ALWAYS—made sure I had that wonderful friend along for the ride, with its broadsheets like a large bird’s wings, it’s news from around the world, and yes, with its own editorial cartoons.

What a joy to visit an old-fashioned newsstand in Paris and find that beautiful, familiar, New York Times logo peeking out beyond all the French-language publications! Or to linger over her pages at a café in Rome, sipping espresso. And again, to read those cartoons.

Those cartoons were my dessert. And I savored every inked line.

Back stateside this past spring, I was on an early flight from Tucson to Phoenix. Before taking off I’d already spread open that day’s New York Times. Next to me, a young lady began laughing and pointing at my newspaper. I studied the page facing her trying to figure out which article she found to be so funny. Perplexed, I finally asked.

“That,” she said, motioning to indicate the entire newspaper. “You’re reading one of those.”

The young lady in question was smart and well-spoken. When I asked if she reads newspapers, she again laughed and said, “Never.”

“Have you ever even held a newspaper?” I asked.


“Would you like to try?”

I handed her a section of the newspaper, and after she fumbled around, trying to figure out exactly how to fold the pages to make it more convenient to read, she fell silent. For a moment I thought perhaps she’d fallen asleep. Instead, she was deeply immersed in…reading. I almost told her that I was a cartoonist, but didn’t. I did, however, imagine her one day traveling abroad, perhaps stopping by a newsstand at a train station in Berlin, and noticing The International New York Times. Maybe she would pick up a copy, and just maybe she would read an editorial cartoon and feel connected to something greater.

Jeffrey Koterba’s
award-winning cartoons are distributed by Cagle Cartoons. In 2010, two of his original drawings flew aboard space shuttle Discovery. In his TEDx talk Jeff discusses the link between Tourette Syndrome, vulnerability, and creativity.  E-mail Jeff.

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Blog Syndicate

The Nastiest Trump Cartoonist

I often get emails from readers who suggest cartoon ideas, and they are typically angry rants with crowd scenes coming from people who can’t visualize how to draw a simple cartoon, something like: “draw the whole world farting on Trump, which knocks him off of a cliff where he will fall and land in a vast sea of thousands of pigs.” I usually respond to say, that’s too nutty, and Im too lazy.” Well, not so for my buddy Marian Kamensky. (I’m thinking of doing a book of the nastiest Trump cartoons. See my new Trump coloring book here:

Here are some more nasty Trump cartoons from Marian. I’m not sure I understand this one …

There have been a whole lot of Trump as caveman cartoons – here’s Marian’s.

There have been lots of Trump as Hitler cartoons. Here’s Marian’s view of Trump as a Nazi election choice.

I’m not sure why Marian sees Trump as a fish, buried in the ocean floor, but … well, OK.

Here’s Marian’s Trump as a pig with a swastika anus. hmmm.

Here’s Marian’s Trump trail to the White House.

Marian on Trump’s statement, later walked back, that women who have illegal abortions should be punished.

The international cartoonists, like Marian, were drawing Trump/Nazi metaphors from the start. There was no ramping up the cartoon criticism.

Marian is not alone in the crazy-nasty Trump cartoon bandwagon. Should I do that “Most Nasty Trump Cartoons” book?


Secrets of a Woman, Editorial Cartoonist, Revealed

Rachel Gold's "self-portrait."

There are very few women editorial cartoonists, and I’m not sure why. At this time, there is only one woman who has a full time job drawing editorial cartoons for a print newspaper, out of about 75 newspaper cartooning positions in America. The disparity extends to the unsolicited submissions I get from aspiring cartoonists, who are 99.9 percent male; the same is true among the almost-all-male cartoonists around the world. Naturally, a rare woman editorial cartoonist gets special attention, just because she is a woman.

When discouraged political cartoonists sit behind a beer and complain, sometimes the talk turns to the idea of pretending to draw as a woman, to take advantage of affirmative action minded editors who might prefer cartoons by a woman, and affirmative action minded award juries who might be more inclined to give awards to a female cartoonist – but I had never heard of a cartoonist actually going through with the scheme.

One of the top editorial cartoonists in Austria is Rachel Gold, who draws for the national Wiener Zeitung and Tiroler Tageszeitung newspapers. Rachel is remarkable, not only because she is a rare, female editorial cartoonist, but also because she’s not female, and she doesn’t really exist. Rachel Gold is a fictional character, created by Austrian cartoonist Markus Szyszkowitz.

Rachel was created in response to Markus’ frustrations, working under editorial constraints at his former newspaper, the Kronen Zeitung. Rachel got a job, and a paycheck, as a cartoonist at the Wiener Zeitung, replacing Markus, who was forced to leave his editorial cartooning job under pressure from his editor, because his cartoons had offended a politician who would later become Austria’s chancellor.

Drawing in a different style, with a different political point of view, Rachel could draw cartoons that Markus could never get past his editors. Markus is convinced that his editors, and the Austrian readers, were willing to accept more hard-hitting, liberal cartoons from the young, pretty, Jewish immigrant girl from Israel. Given Austria’s harsh history, Markus believes that Rachel gets more editorial leeway because she is Jewish, rather than because she is a woman.

Austrian cartoonist Markus Szyszkowitz.

According to her Wikipedia page, Rachel was born in Tel Aviv in 1978, she was raised in Israel and moved to Vienna in 1999, where she has been a freelance artist since 2004 and is one of only two, female, political cartoonists in Austria.

Markus’ editor began to suspect that something funny was going on with the mysterious woman cartoonist, who suddenly appeared in 2 other Austrian Papers – not only making jokes bashing the new Austrian chancellor but also about the Kronen Zeitung, which Markus tells me, took great care to protect the chancellor’s image. The Kronen Zeitung editor hired an off-duty policeman to investigate Markus and, after a year of digging, the gig was up. The cop had uncovered evidence that Markus was actually Rachel. Rachel’s secret identity was revealed and the editor fired Markus/Rachel.

Markus landed on his feet with another editorial cartooning job, both as himself and as Rachel, for other Austrian newspapers including Die Presse, while his alter-ego Rachel draws for Wiener Zeitung and Tiroler Tageszeitung. Rachel’s cartoons continue to be more liberal and hard-hitting than Markus feels he can get away with (which is evident in Tiroler Tageszeitung, in which both Rachel’s and Markus’ cartoons appear on alternating days).

Rachel’s identity, although not a secret, isn’t known outside of a small community of Austrian cartoonists and journalists. Readers have no idea that Rachel is actually Markus. Rachel has a nice Web site, has published collections of her work in books and has an audience of Austrian fans, who have no idea that she doesn’t exist.

Here are a few cartoons by Markus Szyszkowitz and his alter ego, Rachel Gold. We’ll feature more cartoons on the site from Markus and Rachel soon.  The cartoon below shows the tighter style that Markus uses for Rachel – this cartoon will run in the newspaper on Monday.

In the Rachel cartoon below, Obama says, “What do you mean the world hasn’t become any more secure?” and Russian President Medvedev says, “After all, we can be destroyed only 30 times over, instead of 44 times over!”

Here’s another Rachel Gold cartoon about China …

The cartoons below shows Markus’ looser style for the cartoons he draws under his own name.