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I Owe My Cartooning to the Moon

This column is by the brilliant cartoonist for the Omaha World-Herald, Jeff Koterba –Daryl

As a kid growing up in the 1960s I loved drawing and the idea of space travel. My earliest memory—at age two or three—is of me holding a blue, Bic pen and scribbling away on sheets of paper. I also recall pretending that my drawing instruments were rockets, my hand guiding them through our house, orbiting the furniture

All throughout grade school, I had two goals: I wanted to become an artist and an astronaut. But was I that unusual? Don’t most kids love to draw until they’re told that doing something creative is no way to make a living? Likewise, in the years leading up to the first Moon landing, weren’t lots of kids excited by the space program? After all, coverage of the space program was everywhere.

In those days, the three networks would break into programming to show live coverage of the various rocket launches. My dad would stay home from work and call me in sick to school so we could watch together.

Watching those massive Saturn V rockets roar from the Earth with such grace was, in itself, a work of art, their contrails on the sky like drawings.

At school I was shy, lacking confidence. I loved to draw, and occasionally my sketches of rockets landed on the bulletin board of my grade school classrooms. But mostly, I kept my art to myself, drawings hidden away on sheets of paper tucked into textbooks and under my bed.

I also grew up with stories of my Uncle Ed. A syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard and later, the Washington Post, my uncle covered the early days of the space program and the Kennedy administration.

Sadly, he was killed in a plane crash shortly after I was born so I never got to meet him. Mourned by Kennedy during a televised press conference, my dad kept the memory of his brother’s journalism alive with stories of his globetrotting adventures and his love of space. Including how my uncle once interviewed Wernher von Braun, father of the Saturn V rocket.

I can only imagine what Uncle Ed might have written that fateful day when Neil Armstrong first dipped his boot into the lunar dust.

Throughout childhood and beyond, I kept sketching rockets and astronauts. I wouldn’t realize it until many years later, but my pens and pencils carried a heavy payload. Those early drawings were an outpouring of my deep desire to follow my heart—whether artist or astronaut—and also in some way, to keep my uncle’s memory alive.

Anything worth doing, anything new and different and daring, begins with a dream, a spark of inspiration. President Kennedy’ famous “We choose to go to the Moon” speech was just the spark needed to send humans to the lunar surface.

At the time, the concept of sending humans to the Moon was beyond the scope of anything anyone had ever done. It seemed to be the biggest challenge ever suggested in the history of the world. The concept was utterly breathtaking.

If not for that speech, it’s difficult to imagine that the U.S. would have landed Apollo 11 on the lunar surface 50 years ago this month.

I’m also convinced that Kennedy’s speech, and NASA’s space program, ignited within me the confidence to purse my dreams. If an idea so daring, so impossible, as landing humans on the Moon could become reality, was it so far-fetched that I, too, could pursue my love of cartoons?

Over time, I would realize that becoming an astronaut wasn’t for me. Becoming a cartoonist, however, was truly what I was meant to do on this earth.

Just as I did that summer fifty years ago, I now continue to gaze into the night sky, the Moon and stars reminding me that I was called to explore blank sheets of paper, the contrails of my pencils and pens making images that I hope engage readers. Maybe even sparking a new way of seeing the world.

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

Read more by Jeff on our site:

Why Does the New York Times Keep Breaking My Heart?

Please support us to keep free and keep the endangered editorial cartoons coming! Visit!  We need your support!



Blog Syndicate

Slap Slap

Here’s Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman slapping Uncle Sam around a bit, with the dismembered gauntlet/hand of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. It looks like Uncle Sam is just going to turn the other cheek.

While I was working on this one, I read news reports that Turkey’s secret recording of the alleged murder include the sounds of Saudi agents cutting off all of Khashoggi’s fingers, while he was still alive, during his “interrogation.” That left me in cartoonist conundrum – should I draw the slapping hand with all the fingers removed? That would be hard to read, and most people wouldn’t know the story about Khashoggi’s fingers reportedly being chopped off. I went with the fingers still attached – after all, “we need to wait for the Saudi’s to conclude their investigation.”

Those Saudi royals make life tough for cartoonists too.

Blog Syndicate

Trump and Saudi Prince Bin Salman

Here’s president Trump shaking hands with Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman, who has blood on his hands for allegedly ordering the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi. Trump has been quite chummy with Saudi Arabia which seems to be a house of horrors, accounting for most of the 9/11 killers, and a long history of human rights abuses and recent ugly overkill in Yemen.

I like the idea of the black and white image with only the blood in red. Look familiar? I did much the same thing with Trump and Kim Jong Un.

As Trump continues to cozy up to murderous dictators, maybe I’ll make this into a series.


Bill Day Fundraising Update – Washington Post

 Bill Day Fundraising Update   Washington Post cartoons

Cool news to report – the Washington Post did a story on our fundraising campaign to help save Bill Day and keep the unemployed cartoonist from losing his home. Reporter Michael Cavna spoke with Bill, who said he’s overwhelmed by the response so far to our fundraising drive. “It restores my faith that there are good people in this world who want to help me,” he said.

Click here to make a contribution to save Bill Day!

Cavna also spoke with Indiegogo co-founder Slava Rubin, who is not only aware of the plight political cartoonists face, but is also a cartoon fan himself!

“Political cartoons have appeared daily in our newspapers for decades, and have been an integral part of American history, art and public life,” Rubin said. “As newsrooms get smaller and online journalism grows, this art form is in decline, and Bill’s campaign is a perfect example of how those from the traditional media industry are looking to alternative sources of funding via crowdfunding.”

Check out the Washington Post’s story here, and continue to spread the word. Bill needs your help, and together we can reach and exceed our goal, and keep Bill drawing for years to come!

indigogo bill day Bill Day Fundraising Update   Washington Post cartoons


Does This Risqué Obama Cartoon Cross The Line?

Our brilliant but knuckle-dragging conservative cartoonist, Eric Allie, weighed in on the Washington Post’s Mitt Romney bullying story with this funny but risqué cartoon I imagine many editors will pass up for safer cartoons:

I asked Allie to weigh in with his thoughts on the cartoon, but he preferred to let it speak for itself.

“It’s crude,” he told me. “And if I offended anyone, sweet. That’s what I intended.”

There were certainly some readers offended on our Facebook page, but there were also a lot of readers who seemed to enjoy the cartoon, even as they disagreed with its message. Here’s a sampling of what readers had to say:

Gregory Kauffman: Demonstrates the wholesome family values of our conservative friends.

Sharon Foust: LOL Oh dear! That is a little risque but accurate. I used to read WaPo every day online. I got so tired of the editorial board sucking up to The Anointed One I stopped reading it.

Joshua Delano: Love it, Bill only had one Intern down there…Barack found a way to have a whole newspaper on their knees for his perpetual pleasuring. Monica had to at least come up for air…

William S E. Coleman: Tasteless and foul. Beyond that, it is stupid.

Matt Doyle: The media has always been in bed with Obama, but this is immature.

David Dolkart: Linda Lovelace would be amused, Mark Felt and Ben Bradlee wouldn’t.

Carlton Godbold: Ugly and stupid, like so much of the senseless Teanderthal bashing. Definitely a low blow.

Alexander Thorburn Hoffman: It sure beats cartoons that are so safe and bland with nothing important to say.

Joseph Edward Bodden: Snide, baseless, intended to be inflammatory, fraudulent and misleading and divert attention away from sober, intelligent consideration of the real issues and their real world relevance.

Jeffrey McMillian: Another lowering of the “common” denominator.

Skip Simons: The GOP has a” Democrat fellatio fetish”, I think… they all want to get serviced, but, their “Conservative Values” prohibit it…. First Lewinsky, now this…

Tim Harshman: Actually you could substitute any of the major networks and the NY Times and it would still fit.

John Swegan: Interesting that the one guy in Washington not caught cheating on his wife would be depicted this way.

What do you think of Allie’s cartoon? Comment below, or drop us a line on our Facebook page.