My brilliant cartoonist/journalist daughter, Susie Cagle writes today about her work and one of her most popular stories for The Guardian newspaper. Please visit Susie’s page on Patreon to support her and cartoon journalism. From Susie …
For the last year, I was the West Coast climate and environment reporter at the Guardian. It was an unusual mix for a staff position at a news outlet, allowing me to do both traditional written journalism as well as cartoons. My first piece for them was a huge comic exploring the massive amount of plastic waste humans have created.
This comic was exceptionally successful — shared around the world, translated into at least five languages and used in education programs in at least three countries (as far as I know). The Guardian chose it as one of their top stories from 2019.
But it’s the kind of story that’s rarely able to exist, because of the journalism industry’s constraints and expectations. Comics journalism is super popular, but also super labor intensive and super time-consuming. Even the editors most enthusiastic about this still emerging medium often don’t totally understand just how much effort it takes to do two jobs, as both reporter and illustrator. Outlets are reluctant to spend much on cartoons — and even less on comics journalism.
Now that I’m working as a freelancer again, support from readers through Patreon bolsters my ability to keep doing these kinds of projects. Thanks for learning more about my work, and I hope you’ll consider becoming a patron! Susie Cagle
Here are the ten most popular cartoons of the week (May 2 -May 9).
The big winners this week are Jeff Koterba of The Omaha World Herald and Canadian cartoon maestro, Dave Whamond, each with three cartoons in the top ten. These are the cartoons that are chosen by most newspapers editors to be reprinted on their editorial pages. If you don’t like the top ten, take it up with your local newspaper editor. Just about half of America’s daily, paid circulation newspapers subscribe to CagleCartoons.com.
Our reader supported site, Cagle.com, still needs you! Journalism is threatened with the pandemic that has shuttered newspaper advertisers. Some pundits predict that a large percentage of newspapers won’t survive the pandemic economic slump, and as newspapers sink, so do editorial cartoonists who depend on newspapers, and along with them, our Cagle.com site, that our small, sinking syndicate largely supports, along with our fans.
The most popular cartoon of the week is this one by Jeff Koterba, who has three cartoons in the top ten this week.
The second most popular cartoon of the week is by Canadian cartoonist Dave Whamond, who also has three cartoons in the top ten this week.
The most third most popular is my own graduation cartoon. I haven’t been drawing many cartoons lately as I’ve been spending most of my time on business stuff, keeping things going with all the pandemic chaos going on and a surge in hacker attacks. I know I should pick up the pace. See the Daryl Cagle cartoon archive on Cagle.com.
We have a tie for the fourth most popular cartoon, here’s Dave Granlund.
The other cartoon in a fourth place tie is this one from Jeff Koterba.
We also have a tie for sixth place. This is the third cartoon in the top ten this week, from Jeff Koterba.
The other cartoon tied for 6th place is this one from Dave Whamond.
The eighth most popular cartoon is another one from Dave Whamond, the third of his whopping three cartoons in the top ten this week.
Martin “Shooty” Šútovec is a great CagleCartoonist who we don’t see frequently on Cagle.com because he is usually consumed with the crazy local politics in Slovakia. I thought I would show some pages from the most recent issue of the “Dennik N.” newspaper that is filled with Shooty’s work. “Dennik” means “Daily” and N stands for “Nezavisly” meaning “Independent.”
Shooty left his old newspaper, the “SME” five years ago with about 30 of his journalist colleagues to found the Dennik N., because a financial group called “Penta,” that Shooty tells me “was known for making dirty business deals with public healthcare” purchased a large share of the newspaper. At the Dennik N. newspaper, all of the editors are shareholders.
Shooty tells me that the Dennik N. paper is very successful and is financed by digital subscriptions, and powered by excellent investigative journalists who forced their Prime Minister Fico (the short, blonde haired guy in the cartoons) and the minister of the Interior to resign, after some big demonstrations.
Slovakia has recently been rocked by a a scandal that is nicknamed “Gorilla” after the codename of a secret agent who leaked secret documents and 39 hours of audio files showing a conspiracy involving the CEO of Penta corrupting select politicians. Shooty says the codename “Gorilla” is similar to the codename “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal. The scandal involves a famous mobster named Kocner who ordered the murder of an investigative journalist, Jan Kuciak.
Shooty writes, “Marian Kočner (the black haired guy in the cartoons) is involved in corrupting politicians (and) judges … He is finally in jail, but it was hard work; our newspaper is still publishing tons of his leaked messages … where he is making deals with murderers, members of parliament etc. it is not the same as (the) Gorilla cause, but everything is connected.”
The screenshots show a recent issue of the Dennik N, covering the Gorilla scandal, with Shooty’s cartoons dominating the coverage. This is the way to cover a scandal. Bravo, Shooty!
The New York Times’ stupid decision to stop publishing editorial cartoons is generating more articles around the world, and the world’s cartoonists are responding with lots of cartoons on the topic – some of the cartoons are more offensive than Antonio Antunes’ cartoon, and I won’t show them here, but I’ve posted some new ones here.
Courrier International, the great French news magazine that reprints lots of editorial cartoons by international cartoonists, asked me a bunch of questions for an upcoming article; I thought I would post my responses here.
1) As a cartoonist and founder of Cagle Syndicate Cartoon, what do you think of the incriminated cartoon by Antonio Moreira Antunes?
I would have killed the cartoon if it came in to us. I can also see how the cartoon could have slipped through, without notice, since the cartoon didn’t feature an obvious, anti-Semitic, Der Stürmer cliché like depicting a Jew as a rat or spider.
The Antonio cartoon illustrates the trope that Jews manipulate the world’s non-Jews, with yarmulke-wearing Trump blindly following Jews, which are broadly indicated by the Star of David the Netanyahu-dog wears on his collar, rather than having the dog wear an Israeli flag which would indicate that Trump is led by Israel. When cartoonists mix anti-Israel and anti-Jewish metaphors, the cartoons should be killed. It isn’t about the dog, although the choice of a German Dachshund is provocative; the most common anti-Semitic cartoons depict Jews as Nazis.
When we get an anti-Semitic cartoon from one of our cartoonists, I email the cartoonist letting him know why we killed his cartoon, and usually the cartoonist will say, “OK, I get it.” Over time, our cartoonists have learned where we draw the red lines and it is less of a problem for us. Anti-Semitic cartoons are so common around the world that the cartoonists are usually unaware that their cartoons are offensive.
2) Did the decision made by the NYT surprise you (that is : did you see it coming?)? What’s your reaction?
The Times doesn’t run editorial cartoons in their USA edition and has a long history of being cartoon-unfriendly, so their decision to stop running cartoons in their international edition didn’t surprise me.
I was mostly surprised that the Times suddenly cut off their relationship with their partner, Cartoonarts International Syndicate, because of the poor decision of a Times editor. Cartoonarts is a family business that has worked with the Times for nearly twenty years, with the Times handling all of Cartoonarts’ sales and online delivery services, which were suddenly cut off. The announcement that the Times would “stop using syndicated cartoons” didn’t describe how brutal their reaction was to a small business that relied on their long-running partnership and support from the Times.
3) Many cartoonists (Chapatte and Kroll, among others) reacted to the NYT’s decision saying : it is a bad time for cartoons, caricature, humor and derision. Do you agree with this appreciation?
Yes, jobs with newspapers are mostly a thing of the past for editorial cartoonists. Outrage is easy to express on the internet and often takes the form of demands for revenge on the publication and the cartoonist who offended the reader. Newspapers are responsive to organized online outrage and shy away from controversy. Cartoons draw more response from readers than words, and responses are usually negative as people who agree with the cartoons are not motivated to email the newspaper.
When did things begin to turn ugly, and why?
Editorial cartoonists are in the same, sinking boat as all journalists. Things turned ugly when the internet took the advertising revenue away from print.
Is there a US specificity in this context, especially since Donald Trump was elected president?
Not regarding Donald Trump. I’ve drawn Trump as a dog, and I’ve drawn Netanyahu as a dog. Cartoonists love to draw politicians as dogs. Anti-Semitic cartoons are common around the world but are not common in the USA where editors do a good job of recognizing and killing offensive cartoons.
4) Why is it important to defend cartoonists and press cartoons, according to you? (or: do you think a world without cartoons and caricature has become a serious eventuality? Can you imagine such a world?) What should be done to defend this form of journalistic expression? 5) As a cartoonist and founder of Cagle Syndicate Cartoon, what would you say about the role played by social medias? Do you see them rather as a useful tool or a threat to a good and sound public debate? Or somewhere in between?
It is troubling that so many people get their news through social media. Social media has taken the advertising revenue away from traditional news media – both online and in print – so journalism is being starved. Editorial cartoonists are no different than other journalists; we’re underpaid freelancers now; we draw for love rather than because of any good business sense.
I run an editorial cartoons site for readers at Cagle.com, and we stopped running advertising on the site. We rely on donations from readers to support Cagle.com. Other publications are going non-profit and relying on donations to support their journalism – I’m impressed with Pro-Publica and the Texas Tribune. The Guardian has been successful with support from their readers.
Cartoon fans who worry about our profession can support us by going to Cagle.com/Heroes and making a small contribution. We really appreciate everyone’s support!
Want to see more of my posts about the New York Times’ ugly, recent history with editorial cartoons?
Some cartoonists answered a recent call from Cartooning for Peace to submit more drawings in support of Musa. Go to #freemusakart or try this link see these drawings on Twitter.
Many of the cartoons include cats because of Musa’ famous cartoon of Turkey’s despot, Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a cat that first drew Erdogan’s ire and landed Musa in prison. That my own cartoon contribution at the right.
My buddy Pedro Molina did a very nice recap of Musa’s story in comic form – see it below. Pedro recently escaped from persecution by Daniel Ortega’s thugs in Nicaragua and is living at an undisclosed location outside of the country.
Want to help Musa? Write a letter to the two diplomats at the addresses below.
Jeffrey M. Hovenier, Charges d’Affaires
Embassy of the USA to Turkey
110 Atatürk Blvd.
Kavaklıdere, 06100 Ankara
H.E. Serdar Kılıç,
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey to the United States of America
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Most of this new batch of my old TRUE panels came from my collection about entertainment and celebrities. I ended up killing most of these cartoons because they were so stale. I forget how different things were back in 1995. This edited batch of cartoons makes 1995 seem not so different from today – even though one cartoons shows a guy reading a book on the toilet; we may not read books anymore, but toilets haven’t changed much.
Star Trek is still familiar 23 years later. Mattel’s Barbie is still popular, but other toys in my TRUE cartoons are forgotten – for example Barney the Dinosaur was big in 1995. I forgot all about Barney. The first cartoon below is about Lassie, who we remembered as a doggie celebrity back in 1995. Do people remember Lassie now?
There will be a big march on Washington for gun control, led by students who are energized by the threats they face with the continuing plague of school shootings. Politicians appears to be deaf to the outrage.
If gunmen shot puppies instead of people the politicians might jump to take action. An incident where a flight attendant forced a passenger to put his puppy in an overhead bin, where the puppy asphyxiated and died, has energized politicians with outrage and calls to action. Clearly, puppies are the priority in Congress.
Here’s how my cartoon looked in USA Today, yesterday.
Here’s a TrumpCare cartoon from our cartoonist, Jeff Koterba, who draws for the Omaha World-Herald newspaper in Nebraska. Jeff suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome; he has written an excellent book about it and recently did a TED talk (scroll down to see it). Here is one of Jeff’s recent cartoons, see Jeff’s cartoon archive here.
Our Bulgarian Cagle Cartoonist, my buddy Christo Komarnitski, started an editorial cartoon newspaper called “Prass Press” which roughly translates to either “Whack newspaper” or “Pig newspaper” meaning the newspaper that “whacks the (government) pigsty in Bulgaria -the dirty dealings, hypocrisy and corruption.” If only Bulgarian readers could see a copy of the newspaper I’m sure they would enjoy it.
Alas, just like in the old communist days, when government authorities don’t like political cartoons, newspapers just “disappear”. More than 90% of the copies of Prass Press have been lost by the only distribution company in Bulgaria, which happens to be controlled by the Bulgarian government that the Prass Press criticizes.