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Still More of When I was President

Here is part three of my story about my time as NCS president. Read part ONE and part TWO of the story.  –Daryl Cagle

Arnold Roth did the theme art for my second convention, in Boca Raton, Florida, to support the International Museum of Cartoon Art.

I continued my “wedding planner” role as NCS president in my second year, and started work on planning my second convention.

At the time, Mort Walker was running a cartoon museum in Boca Raton, Florida. The museum was lovely, but struggling. The collection had originally been housed in a charming, concrete castle in Portchester, New York and I visited there frequently when I lived in NYC and Connecticut. The move to Florida was tough on the museum which was having trouble paying the mortgage on their new building, and having trouble drawing a crowd in their new location.

My first NCS convention at New York’s World Trade Center turned a profit of something more than $30,000.00. In those days the NCS kept a “prudent reserve” of about $250,000.00 on hand –enough to cover a convention that goes wrong, and now the reserve was pushing $300,000.00. With some new money burning a hole in our pockets, I asked the board to give a $30,000.00 donation to Mort’s struggling, Florida museum. Some people objected to the NCS’s donation. The loudest critic was Wiley Miller, who draws the comic “Non-Sequitur.” Wiley publicly and loudly resigned from the NCS, on the pages of Editor & Publisher magazine, because of the donation, which he described as a “misappropriation of funds,” and he later went on to draw a series of comics depicting me as a rotund, evil character, doing various dastardly things, in the newspaper comics pages. (Wiley spent a few years in the wilderness, then rejoined the NCS, and later went on to win the Reuben Award.)

Mort’s Museum of Cartoon Art as it used to be when I visited often, in Portchester, NY.

Cartoonists can be a grouchy bunch. Over time, volunteer organizations gather people who carve out niches for themselves and most of the rancor I faced as president was related to people defending a patchwork of old turf they had claimed, or thought they deserved. Some of the acrimony spilled into chat boards and social media. I didn’t win all of the battles. A big turf battle I lost was about the NCS’s longtime attorney who I wanted to fire. NCS old-timers threatened to give me major trouble if I canned their lawyer buddy, and I backed down. I ended the relationship with the NCS’s beloved travel agent, and the hefty travel agency fees on our hotel room blocks were redirected into paying our new management company’s fees. Our board was rowdy and we voted to kick one board member off of the board. I had a growing list of vocal detractors who complained loudly when I stepped on their toes. I have a pretty thick skin though, and I stirred the steamy cartoonist pot when I thought it needed stirring.

The International Museum of Cartoon Art, as it used to be in Boca Raton, Florida.


Cartoonists in Ohio made a strong case for the next convention to be held in Cleveland, and my wife, Peg, and I did a site visit there. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer newspaper made a generous donation to the NCS to woo us. The Ohio cartoonists had proposed a hotel and made preliminary arrangements for a party at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Then I got calls from Mort Walker and King Features, who were proposing that the next convention be held at Mort’s International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, Florida.

Mort’s cartoon museum was near death. King Features proposed generous support for both the NCS and the museum by offering to throw a big party at the museum, if we brought the convention to Boca Raton. Mort and King Features thought the museum needed the publicity and a show of support from the cartoonists. Losing the museum would be a blow to our profession, and I had to agree. The NCS had held the Reubens convention in Boca Raton a few years earlier, when the museum building was under construction, but this looked like it might be the last opportunity to do what we could do to save the museum.

We had a lovely party in 2001 at the International Museum of Cartoon Art, but the museum later failed, just as we had feared. At one point, they even considered using only half of the space, and renting out the other half to a “Museum of the Holocaust” that was looking for a home in Boca Raton. I suggested that they make a revolving sign, Mickey Mouse on one side, inviting everyone to the Cartoon Museum, rotating with the Holocaust on the other side – but alas, someone must have thought the two museums weren’t a good fit.

We did a roast of cartoonist Mike Peters at my second convention.

The convention went well. Steve McGarry directed both the show at the Saturday night Reuben Awards, and a Sunday roast of cartoonist Mike Peters. I learned that many NCSers do an excellent impression of Mike Peters, including Jeff Keane who dislocated his shoulder while running up the steps to the stage, and hid the pain so the audience never knew that he was suffering. When Jeff left the stage, he was rushed off to a hospital. What a pro! Mike Luckovich took over the emcee roll for Reubens night, living up to the high standard established by Bil Keane over the course of many years. Mike did a great job, saving the day again.

I think this is a self-portrait of Arnie.

I had a huge presidential suite at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, something hotels throw in as part of a big room block. These crazy suites seem like a fun perk, but they are a burden. Though they are given to the president, they are really being given to the NCS which means there should be a party in the big room all the time, even when I want to sleep. I got a separate, regular hotel room where I actually slept, and where I could make a mess without worrying that someone might walk in.

I asked Arnie Roth to do the theme art for the convention, and I enjoyed working with Arnie as I did with Jack Davis the year before. This is the best part of the NCS president’s job. I also wrote a column in each of our newsletters and a different artist drew my portrait for each column, so I collected a bunch of great portraits. And the board gave me a lovely Jeff MacNelly original as a parting gift; it hangs in my living room.



The Congressional Gold Medal for Charles M. Schulz was an important award for the whole cartooning profession to show that cartoons are not “frivilous.”

Near the end of my tenure, my attention turned back to Sparky. I got a call from Senator Dianne Feistein’s office asking for help. The Senator had authored legislation that would give the Congressional Gold Medal to Sparky posthumously; this was America’s highest civilian honor and Sparky would be the only cartoonist in history to receive it. The bill should have sailed through the Senate, but it was being blocked by one senator, conservative, Republican Jesse Helms from North Carolina. Senator Feinstein had tried everything she could and was looking for help. Helms objected because he thought the award was “frivilous.” This was an important award for the whole cartooning profession to show that cartoons are not “frivilous.” Helms wouldn’t budge and it looked like the Gold Medal was going nowhere.

I reached out to a bunch of cartoonists asking if they had any contacts or ideas on how to twist Helms’ arm and I found Marie Woolf, a talented cartoonist whose work I syndicated back when my syndicate was young. Marie had previously worked for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah; she called Hatch and made an impassioned plea for help. Marie asked me to have the NCS send a huge, red white and blue “patriotic” bouquet of flowers to Hatch’s office, which I did. That patriotic bouquet was a whopper.

Senator Hatch turned out to be a nice guy and a cartoon fan. He later wrote a forward for my Best Political Cartoons of the Year 2006 book. Tucker Carlson wrote a forward too, and he’s also a cartoon fan and a nice guy. (That’s crazy talk from a liberal cartoonist like me.)

It turned out that Hatch was a cartoon fan; he twisted Helm’s arm and Helms backed down, clearing the way for the Gold Medal –so the credit for the Gold Medal really belongs to Marie Woolf and Orrin Hatch. The House and Senate approved the award with only one dissenting vote, from Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Hatch turned out to be a nice guy, and he later wrote a forward for my Best Political Cartoons of the Year 2006 book. There was a lovely Congressional Gold Medal celebration in Washington, but alas, by the time the Gold Medal party happened, I was no longer NCS president, and I missed out on the celebration.

By the time my presidential term came to an end, each of my Reuben conventions had turned a good profit; I inherited the NCS in good financial shape and left it in better shape. The new management company was collecting the membership dues properly, had cleaned up the records, and acclimated to the idiosyncrasies of our quirky needs; they were well-positioned to take on much of the work of future NCS events. I had cleared out much of the patchwork of claimed turf. We had raised expectations for more ambitious Reubens weekends. And, frankly, my wife Peg did most of my work.

Even though this all happened twenty years ago, it still makes me feel tired when I think about it; but I have lots of nice trophies and memories from the experience and I continue to enjoy the NCS as a civilian.

Some cartoonists complain that they don’t “get anything” from the NCS –what they get is the opportunity to hang with their colleagues and meet their cartoon heroes. I wholeheartedly recommend that all professional cartoonists join the NCS, visit the NCS site for more information about joining.

Read more old stuff about my career as a cartoonist on

When I was President, PART TWO of three

When I was President, PART ONE of three

Was I Sunk by Submarines?

Baptists, Gay Marriage, Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, Bert and Ernie

Genies Turned me into a Political Cartoonist

Muppet Mob Scene

CagleCartoonists in France


TRUE Color

TRUE Stupid Stuff 2

TRUE Stupid Stuff

TRUE Sex 3

TRUE Sex 2


TRUE Life Stuff

TRUE Crazy Stuff 4

TRUE Crazy Stuff 3

TRUE Crazy Stuff 2

TRUE Crazy Stuff

TRUE Devils, Angels and YUCK

TRUE Kids 3

TRUE Kids 2


TRUE Health Statistics 3

TRUE Health Statistics 2

TRUE Health Statistics 1

TRUE Women’s Body Images

TRUE History

TRUE Marriage 2

TRUE Marriage

TRUE Business

Garage 8: MORE!

Garage 7: TV Toons

Garage 6

Garage 5

Daryl’s Garage Encore! (Part 4)

Still More Daryl’s Garage! (Part 3)

More Garage Art (Part 2)

Garage Oldies (Part 1)

29 Year Old Oddity

Daryl in Belgium

Cagle in Bulgaria

CagleCartoonists Meet in France

Cartooning for the Troops in Bahrain


Answering a College Student’s Questions about Cartoons

Punk Rock Opera

Blog Syndicate

I Miss Wayne Stayskal

I was saddened to learn that one of my favorite cartoonists, Wayne Stayskal, has passed away this week. Wayne retired from editorial cartooning as the conservative cartoonist for The Tampa Tribune in 2004. He was a great guy, and a rare, funny conservative, with a simple, sketchy, charming style. Columnist Cal Thomas wrote a nice obit for Wayne here on

Devoted fans will remember Wayne from the first ten years of our site. Wayne was an enthusiastic contributor and I often featured him on the front page and in special topical sections devoted just to Wayne. Wayne was a staunch defender of gun rights and the Second Amendment. Wayne laughed about how often he drew variations on the same cartoon of a burglar being frustrated by a gun wielding homeowner – there really were a lot of these, and they were all funny.

In our early years, when  was partnered with and and we were getting lots of traffic, I often put up special sections of Wayne’s cartoons. The most popular were “Cartoon Shootouts” between Wayne and all the rest of the cartoonists, with Wayne as the sole voice defending gun rights versus all the rest of the cartoonists demanding gun control. Wayne loved these and enjoyed the crazy email responses he got, sharing many of the emails with me. These online, cartoon shootouts were wildly popular.

I’m grateful for the time and conversations I had with Wayne in our early years. I appreciate Wayne’s support. His work stands the test of time and remains brilliant. Wayne was a gentleman and a friend and a great talent.  I miss him.

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TRUE Crazy Stuff!

Here’s a batch of some crazy TRUE stuff from my factual cartoon panel from the 1990’s that never gets old!

Blog Syndicate

O’Reilly Kicked Out

I’ve enjoyed the O’Reilly news. It is so nice to have a story that doesn’t involve Trump or possible nuclear annihilation. Here’s my new cartoon on O’Reilly getting the boot.

Here’s an O’Reilly oldie I drew 13 years ago. He looks so much younger …

And we’ve gotten more O’Reilly cartoons today, here are some I liked, below. I think O’Reilly is hard to draw. I have to fiddle around with his face for quite a while before I’m happy with is. Rick McKee didn’t have any trouble with the O’Reilly in his cartoon below …

This Ed Wexler cartoon is a great Trump caricature …

And I liked this David Fitzsimmons “Killing” cartoon …


Blog Syndicate

Republican Nooses

The Republicans infighting in congress is pretty crazy – enough for another noose cartoon. 

I seem to draw a lot of nooses. I draw lots of wordless cartoons and a noose is a good, simple, graphic threat. Here are the Republicans with a caduceus noose, from when they were trying to stop the government over and over, to protest Obamacare.

And here’s a more recent Trump tongue noose, when everyone, including me, thought that Donald Trumps provocative statements would knock him out of the presidential race – I was wrong; I guess I was playing too loose with that noose.

Blog Syndicate

Grouchy, Dependent Tennessee

This cartoon about grouchy, California-bashing, government-dependent Tennessee conservatives marks the end of my Summer stint as a local cartoonist for the alternative-weekly Nashville Scene newspaper. I’m back to drawing national/world cartoons again. Thanks to my local fans in this little blue spot in very red Tennessee!

Blog Columns

“Gotcha” Questions for Scott Walker

I get lots of e-mails with the same message, like this one from little Johnny in Nashville, who writes, “Dear Mr. Cagle, Please explain your cartoon to me. My paper is due tomorrow.”

I hate having to explain myself. So does Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker.

Walker doesn’t like “gotcha” questions from the media. When a reporter asks a politician a question, and knows that an honest answer would be an answer that many people won’t like hearing, that is a “gotcha” question. Walker has been clumsy while learning to avoid “gotcha” questions.

I drew a cartoon showing a reporter interviewing Walker.

Reporter asks, “Gays?”

Walker says, “I don’t wanna answer that.” Walker thinks, “Homos are so nasty.”

Reporter then asks, “Evolution?”

Walker says, “I won’t answer.” Walker thinks, “This liberal ape doesn’t know that evolution is only a ‘theory’.”

Reporter asks, “Do you think Obama is a Christian?”

Walker says, “I never asked him.” Walker thinks, “I never asked that liberal, Muslim, Kenyan atheist.”

Journalists must be accurate and report the exact words a politician says. My job is better. As an editorial cartoonist, I have the freedom to put any words into the mouths of politicians that I want; I can even choose to put any thoughts into their brains.

Republican candidates must pander to the basest of their conservative base, especially in the presidential primaries. My worry is that politicians really believe the blather that they spew. I would like to hear honest answers to the “gotcha” questions.

The problem with avoiding “gotcha” questions is that I’m left with the impression that Walker really believes the knuckle-dragging nonsense that I write into his thought bubbles.

An even bigger problem is that cartoons are not so funny when they are explained.

Sorry, Johnny.


Libya Mountain Out of a Molehill

It is fascinating to watch Fox News’ team effort to promote the Libya attack as an Obama administration scandal just before the election – and their consternation that other media doesn’t share their passion. Here’s the cartoon I drew on the topic.

121230 600 Libya Mountain Out of a Molehill cartoons

Our liberal cartoonist, Adam Zyglis drew this “mountain out of a molehill” cartoon …

121143 600 Libya Mountain Out of a Molehill cartoons

And our conservative-team-player cartoonist, Eric Allie, responded to Adam with the cartoon below …

121353 600 Libya Mountain Out of a Molehill cartoons

Even though I think the Libya “scandal” is right wing wishful thinking, I love the ‘toon tit for tat.  See more Libya “scandal” cartoons here.


Interview With Conservative Cartoonist Eric Allie

eric allie Interview With Conservative Cartoonist Eric Allie cartoonsRecently, I traveled to France to attend the St. Just le Martel editorial cartoon festival. I brought with me our brilliant, knuckle-dragging conservative cartoonist Eric Allie, who seemed like a strange, wild beast to the mostly-lefty French cartoonists.

I had the chance to sit down and interview Eric about his cartooning style and ideas, and I poked and prodded him about all those crazy conservative tropes he enjoys using in his cartoons, like labeling the media the MSM (I actually had to Google it to find out what it meant because I wasn’t living in the right-wing bubble):