Cartoonists were and are some of my favorite role models for the way they plied their craft and spoke their minds. In no particular order I salute the following;
Thomas Nast BECAUSE he was the first to create the platform for American political cartooning. Thanks to innovations in printing and distribution, his work was seen by thousands and his criticism of the corruption in New York City changed history.
Walt Disney BECAUSE he not only helped create the iconic characters and worlds we know today, his vision became and still is the consummate capitalistic fantasy machine. I had a very vivid dream as a child where I met him. We were in a space station.
Charles Schulz BECAUSE he created the iconic Peanuts comic strip that was really for adults and changed the medium. I met him when I was about 20. He encouraged me to keep at it.
Mad Magazine BECAUSE it was a very talented and goofy collection of cartoonists that skewered American life. Mort Drucker, Don Martin and the rest educated me in the presentation of satire with a sick twist.
Ralph Steadman BECAUSE his loose, violent inking style set the tone for the works of Hunter S. Thompson and others.
Underground Cartoonists: BECAUSE they expanded the spectrum of what was acceptable and appropriate in this culture. Unpopular political ideas and inappropriate sexual content found an audience in head shops and college dorms. Some of the ones I most admire include: Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Matt Groening, Ron Cobb, Bill Griffith, Lynda Barry, and Kliban.
Strippers who quit: BECAUSE cartooning should be a joy and not an excuse to sell everything from T-shirts to stuffed toys. Those who left (sadly) in their prime were: Gary Larson ( The Far Side ), Berkeley Breathed ( Bloom County ), and Bill Waterston ( Calvin and Hobbs ).
Local Cartoonists: BECAUSE cartoons have to start somewhere! Support your local outlets that carry or make possible the graphic opinions of people who reflect your community. Tucson and Arizona are rich with unique and irreverent cartoon artists with more on the way! Some prominent names are David Fitzsimmons, Andy Mosier, Max Cannon, Steve Benson, and the late Ned Sutton.
Caricaturists: BECAUSE drawing someone’s likeness is an effective tool to make a State Fair memento or to take down a dictator. Some of my influential heroes are Al Hirshfeld, Mort Drucker, Drew Friedman, Steven Brodner, David Levine, and Phillip Burke.