How a small-town editorial cartoonist responded to the Charleston church shooting

Mike Beckom — a freelance editorial cartoonist from my home state of South Carolina — shared with us the story behind his latest piece that ran in Sunday’s Greenwood Index-Journal.

Mike tells us:

My editor, Richard Whiting, called yesterday and said he was e-mailing me his op-ed and could I come up with a toon to accompany.

I had no idea where to start. So many emotions. I’d seen so many other news outlets posting reports and images of the murderer and I knew I didn’t want to give him any glory. Instead, I wanted to show something about how the people of my/our state reacted. I think it’s shocked the nation….especially in light of the recent violence in Ferguson, Baltimore, etc.

I’d seen photos of masses of folks in Charleston holding hands and praying. That got me thinking about the hands image. I did a quick internet search and found lots of them.

Mike used this Shutterstock image for reference:


I did a quick rendering in Photoshop and added a filter to it to make it pop.

And — more importantly — Mike wrote the poem.


The Index-Journal used this Sunday. Mike tells us…

…and they use the color version. I send out two versions: A colorized and black-and-white version, because all of my papers can’t or don’t publish color editorial cartoons.

Mike is a product of Greenwood County — just down the road from McCormick, where I grew up — and studied graphic design at Piedmont Tech College.

I asked him for a picture of himself and — because it was Father’s Day — he send me one of himself with his kids.


Fun side note: I have that same exact shirt. Mine is a few sizes larger, I’d expect.

Mike works at the Fujifilm plant there in Greenwood and freelances cartoons to the Index-Journal and to four or five weeklies around the state. A few samples of his recent work:





Funny stuff.

Find more on his Facebook fan page.

Average daily circulation of the Greenwood Index-Journal is 12,118.

For your consideration…

…on this fine Memorial Day:


That particular piece of brilliance is from Rick McKee of the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle — one of the papers I read every day growing up in South Carolina.

Back then, the cartoonist was Clyde Wells. It’s good to see Clyde’s old job is in good hands.

Rick spent a year-and-a-half as a staff artist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before moving to the Chronicle in 1990. Find his cartoon archive here and his Twitter feed here.

Big political scandal? Try an editorial cartoon on page one.

Remember that political scandal in South Africa I told you about last week?

The president’s personal home in Nkandla, southeast of Pretoria, has undergone more than $215 million Rand — just over $21 million U.S. — in renovations to upgrade security. But a) That’s an awful lot of money for a struggling country, and b) It’s come out that a lot of the “upgrades” had nothing at all to do with security: Among the several items the government installed at President Jacob Zuma’s estate: A giant swimming pool.

Today, the Mail & Guardian of Johannesburg published tons of details about the entire thing, which has the entire country buzzing. And how better to illustrate a story like that than to slap an editorial cartoon on page one?


Terrific stuff, Illustrated by the nation’s foremost editorial cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro — better known as Zapiro — and, of course, reported and edited by the Mail & Guardian.  Find today’s story here and a special report on the scandal here.

  • President Zuma is also a bit of a legend in South Africa, but not for the reasons one might hope for. The man was in a lot of legal trouble long before he became president. And he’s remained in either trouble or in the middle of controversy his entire reign. What a disaster. I last wrote about him here.
  • Just last week, newspapers across the country were warned by the government not to publish pictures of Zuma’s newly-renovated estate. But several papers did it anyway — one in spectacular fashion.

Another brilliant New Yorker cover illustration by Barry Blitt

Famed illustrator Barry Blitt captures the whole Obamacare launch debacle perfectly with one image on the front of the new issue of the New Yorker.


Man. Is that perfect, or what?

The New Yorker writes in its blog post about the cover:

“When I heard that the troubled Obamacare Web site was built by a Canadian company, of course I felt personally responsible,” says the Montreal-born Barry Blitt, who drew this week’s cover, “Reboot.” “I’ll be happy when the glitches are all worked out and everything’s running smoothly, so I can put this all behind me,” he concludes.


A few more samples of Blitt’s work for the New Yorker:




Find Barry Blitt’s web site here.

UPDATE – 8:35 a.m. PDT

And, of course, only moments after I post that, I see this equally brilliant cover by Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.


Thanks to all the folks who tweeted about that today.

Laid off Thursday by Gannett: Green Bay cartoonist Joe Heller

Reading about the 200+ folks laid off Thursday by Gannett has been awfully painful.

Name after name of quality journalists, shown the door. This by a company that says it’s due to “local market conditions.” This from a company that announced, less than two months ago, it would pay $2.2 billion for 20 TV stations.

This sort of thing makes me angry. I hope it makes you angry, too.

One of the jaw-dropping names that rolled out of Thursday’s debacle was that of Green Bay, Wis., Press-Gazette editorial caroonist Joe Heller. Joe has worked for the Press-Gazette for 28 years.


A 1979 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Joe spent six years at the Daily News of West Bend, Wis., before moving to the Press-Gazette in 1985.

Now, being an editorial cartoonist in a town like Green Bay means one must develop an expertise on topics like football. And, uh, football. And, of course: NFL football.

But he also takes on other sports. Here’s a piece on the World Cup of soccer, a couple of years ago.

Here’s a two-themed Christmas cartoon: Shopping and travel.

Here are a couple of political pieces from last year.

Joe also handled high-profile illustration assignments for the paper. Like, for instance, this series of super-hero-themed posters that inserted with great fanfare during a run at the playoffs in January 2012.


The Press-Gazette promoted heck out of these posters. They even produced a video to get folks motivated to buy copies in each day’s paper.

When Donald Driver retired from the Packers with great fanfare earlier this year, the Press-Gazette made sure to include a tribute from Joe in its 12-page wraparound special section.


If you’re thinking Joe is only about big sports cartoons, though, you’d be wrong. Joe created this fun data visualization piece that ran atop page one last November.

There are lots of fun little moments in this illustration.

And, if that wasn’t enough, Joe also worked on the occasional multimedia graphic. Like this interactive map from July 2010.


As you can see, that’s just a screencap of the interactive map. Find the real one here.

Wow. What a multitalented guy. What a content generator. If Joe’s not the kind of guy Gannett wants to keep around, I really have to question that company’s commitment to newspapering.

Alan Gardner of the Daily Cartoonist asked Joe a few questions yesterday after the news broke. An excerpt:

Q: Have you had time to formulate what your plans are now – near term and long term?

A: Since I’m self-syndicated with more than 350 newspapers, I will continue to draw my editorial cartoons at my home studio. I’ve dodged the axe so many times, that when it did happen, I was prepared.

Q: You’ve had for years a self-syndicated operation of your cartoons. Will that continue and if so, do you think you’ll expand?

A: Without the restrictions that my former paper put on me, and there a too many to note. I can now expand my empire to online and circulation areas that were off limits.

Find the entire Q&A here.

And here’s a story the local Fox affiliate did last night on Joe and the layoffs.

Find Joe’s personal home page here. Find a nice story about his work methods here.

Inside Gannett’s special sections today honoring Green Bay Packer Donald Driver

The big news in the land of cheese today: Longtime Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver is holding his official retirement announcement and celebration today at Lambeau Field.

Gannett’s Wisconsin papers celebrated with lots of special coverage of one of the team’s most popular players ever and his time on the frozen tundra. Feast your eyes on the cover of a 12-page special section that wrapped around today’s Green Bay Press-Gazette.


Click on that — or any page here today — for an extra-large look.

Granted, I’m a big Green Bay fan. (I’m so old I remember Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke and Jerry Kramer. I even have an autographed caricature of Paul Hornung on my wall that I drew myself.) So perhaps I get a little too worked up about the gorgeously-played Packers photos that pop up in Gannett’s Wisconsin papers.

Even if that’s the case, though: The typography Wisconsin team leader Sean McKeown-Young of the Des Moines Design Studio used atop that page is just wonderful. The original file photo is by Gannett staffer Evan Siegle.

The cover forms a nice bookend with the full-page, poster treatment the Press-Gazette gave Driver last week, the day after he announced he’d retire today.

130201DonaldDriverGreenBay  130206DriverGreenBayCover.jpg

Sean tells us:

Personally, I am amazed at how fast it came together.

Driver retired on Thursday. We did some ‘blow out’ covers for Friday. On Thursday afternoon the plan was put into motion to do a special section and by Friday afternoon, we had a good idea of what that was going to feel like.

The Green Bay and Appleton newsrooms both deserve a ton of credit for efficiently conceiving an editorial plan and making it happen. They involved us early and, on our end, the best use of resources was for the Sports design team and the Wisconsin design team to collaborate.

I took the covers (because I love covers.) and the inside pages were a group effort. I was really in awe of how great the inside pages looked and felt.

Here’s the cover to the section that wrapped around today’s Appleton Post-Crescent.


Early on, the idea was to have different cover designs for Appleton and Green Bay. Both sites were committed to a special section wrap. Other Wisconsin sites intended upon using pieces of the special sections as part of a larger inside section. We were amazed at how well Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac sold those sections.

Instead of compromising the individuality of the Appleton and Green Bay covers, I opted to create a separate cover. So, in all there are three versions of the cover. I wanted them to each feel special and individual but related – like part of a set.

Here’s the third cover — this particular one ran in the Oshkosh Northwestern.


Des Moines studio creative director Nathan Groepper sent along the inside pages as well. Nathan tells us:

Most of the inside of the section was designed by Sports Team designer Jake Lovett. Jake is a recent Iowa State graduate who joined the Design Studio last summer. Here’s a portfolio of his design work.

Here are pages three and four.

130206DriverGreenBayPage03  130206DriverGreenBayPage04

Here is the center spread, featuring a nice timeline across the middle and a selection of fun photos of Driver in action.


Nathan tells us:

Sports team leader Jeremy Gustafson was responsible for the “Look Back in Numbers” page [page ten, below left].

130206DriverGreenBayPage10  130206DriverGreenBayPage11

Jeremy is another Iowa State grad. I worked with him myself during his last year or two in school, critiquing his work for the school paper and through an internship at the Register. Find his portfolio here.

And, Nathan writes:

Green Bay artist Joe Heller put together the illustration of Donald Driver sweeping Packers fans off their feet that ran on the back page of the section.


A couple of years ago, Joe did a lovely series of drawings about “What kind of fan are you?” You can find a gallery of those here.

In addition, Joe drew a terrific series of superhero-themed Packers poster pages for the Press-Gazette. I wrote about those here. Find Joe’s personal home page here.

Nathan continues:

And here are the inside pages from Appleton.

130206DriverAppletonPage04  130206DriverAppletonPage05

I’m not including a couple of pages that were shared from Green Bay (the illustration, the “numbers” page).

These pages were all designed by Wisconsin team designer Katie McInerney, who is a recent graduate of Syracuse University that joined the Design Studio this past summer. Katie interned at the Denver Post the previous summer. Here’s a portfolio of her design work.

130206DriverAppletonPage06  130206DriverAppletonPage09

Page 11 is primarily a picture page.


Nathan tells us:

It was a pretty tight turnaround for two sections like this. Driver announced his retirement on Thursday. On Friday, the papers decided they were doing special sections for the retirement ceremony, but we wouldn’t know about space until Monday afternoon. We started on pages Monday night and cranked out the rest on Tuesday.

It’s one of those situations where all of the content being in the same system (CCI) really made the process of sharing content go smoothly. Also, the Design Studio has the advantage of being able to throw a lot of designers at pages for special situations like this.

Sean adds:

We were also really amazed at how much selling happened on Friday and Monday because the sections were well supported with advertising. So, the message here is incredible teamwork.

At the [newspapers themselves], the advertising sales staff and editorial staff did a truly magnificent job. We are so lucky to have such great communication with the Wisconsin papers and that communication allowed us to spot the design opportunities and make them sing. Specifically, Mike Knuth, Amber Paluch, Dan Flannery and Ed Berthiaume deserve recognition.

As always, our incredible relationship with the Wisconsin papers along with our commitment to teamwork here in the studio has really given us some incredible design opportunities.

Average daily circulation of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is 41,767. The Appleton Post-Crescent circulates 38,244 and the Oshkosh Northwestern circulates 14,113 papers daily.

Our first ‘2012 in review’ page is one that’ll be hard to beat

It’s hard to imagine a “look back at 2012” page being more fun than this one, afront today’s Baltimore Sun that features a full-page cartoon by editorial cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher (better known as Kal).

Click for a much larger look:


The Sun‘s head of visuals, Jay Judge, tells us:

When we originally talked about this, we thought we would make it an element on the page, designed around two other unrelated stories. But through discussion, we thought giving Kal the entire page would give him an opportunity to make great presentation with real impact.

And he really hit it out of the park, incorporating about 28 news events — local and national — in his classically witty and satirical manner. In addition, it ran with a key inside the paper that gave more detail on the events.

There are so many fun little moments hidden away in this page. It’s fairly easy to spot Baltimore native Michael Phelps winning yet more medals at the summer Olympics…


…and Mitt Romney, tripped up on the third base line by his own tongue.


But how about these two outfielders holding hands, signifying Maryland’s passages of a gay marriage bill?


Or, my favorite: Automated traffic cameras snapping away at the Baltimore Grand Prix.


Jay continues:

As with everything these days, a lot of the work was done at the last minute. If we had more time to work on it, I wanted Kal to draw the flag and refers too. Maybe next year.

Find more of Kal’s work here.

Average daily circulation for the Baltimore Sun is 179,574.

After he’s fired by the Village Voice, cartoonist Tom Tomorrow melts down on Twitter

Cartoonist Dan Perkins — who works under the pen name Tom Tomorrow — is perhaps the best-known cartoonist in the world of alternative weeklies. His editorial strip, This Modern World, began in 1990 in SF Weekly and was eventually carried by as many as 80 papers — most notably, the Village Voice of New York.

His work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Mother Jones, Esquire, U.S. News and World Report, the Daily Kos and Spin. He’s published nine volumes of collected strips; the most recent: 2011’s Too Much Crazy.

But in 2005, a new corporate owner based in Phoenix bought Perkins’ flagship client, the Village Voice. The latest casualty in the recent company-wide faceplant at New Times Media — now named Village Voice Media — was the popular Modern World strip.

When Perkins was informed Friday evening his strip would no longer run in the Voice, he took to Twitter for a very public, revenge-driven, obscenity-laced meltdown that indeed illustrates this modern world.

Perkins took the opportunity to plug Sparky’s List, his new project to deliver cartoons directly to readers before they appear in print.

His business priorities addressed, Perkins launched into his tirade.

He made the first of several references to understanding he really shouldn’t be doing this so publicly.

He also made a cryptic reference to something he will announce soon.

Perkins later admitted he was a little off: This Modern World started its run in the Village Voice in 1997.

He said he was done on Twitter for the night…

…But not quite. The target was simply too inviting.

Eventually, he did take a couple of hours off to watch a DVD with his son…

…but once Earth was saved, Perkins picked up his rant where he left off.

Perkins tossed kudos to Markos Moulitsas, founder of the Daily Kos.

And he found himself encouraged by the folks signing up for his paid list.

Despite his grievances — don’t get me wrong, he seems perfectly justified — Perkins sounded like a jilted lover, getting smackered at a bar and drunk-texting his ex.

However, he did show awareness that he was causing a scene.

Some of his followers admitted they were enjoying the spectacle.

At that point, Perkins switched to a more reflective bent.

By this time, the New York media had picked up the story. The Observer reported it couldn’t reach Perkins for comment. Which sent him off on another rant.

The Observer reporter quickly acknowledged his error…

…and the story was amended.

Meanwhile, Perkins had signed up so many new list members that his economic loss from the Village Voice was nearly covered.

And that made him awfully reflective about the events of the evening.

So Perkins’ evening ended on a high note.

So after a very public meltdown like that, how does one respond the next morning? The only way you can, of course: With humor.

Yeah, maybe a couple. Plus, Perkins wrote:


While all this was very amusing — painful, but still amusing — to watch as it unfolded, let me make this clear: Dan Perkins is Tom Tomorrow. He’s a very famous, internationally-known cartoonist. You and I are not.

So when you or I get laid off, we should not attempt anything like this on Twitter or Facebook. What might be endearing for a famously iconoclastic left-wing alt-weekly cartoonist might not be so damned cute coming from a mid-level print designer or copy editor or graphic artist or photographer.

And hiring editors would really dislike finding something like this on your Twitter feed if they happen to Google the name they find at the top of your resumé.

So be advised: Take care with what you say or post. Or tweet.

For further reading…

A fun, page-one political cartoon treatment from Australia

Paul Wiggins — a subeditor and web producer for the Fairfax Media newspaper group in Liverpool, Australia, near Sydney — passed along a tweet from a fellow Aussie praising the national budget-oriented cover illustration on Wednesday’s Illawarra Mercury of Wollongong, New South Wales.

Click for a larger view.

The story is about a surprising — but not terribly large — budget surplus the nation’s treasury minister has come up with.

The artist — editorial cartoonist Peter Broelman — portrayed the modest surplus as a small golden egg. The treasury minister — whose name is Wayne Swan — you can probably figure out for yourself.

Note this is Wednesday’s front cover. It’s shortly after noon Tuesday here in the U.S., but it’s shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday there. There are all sorts of stories and sidebars about the new Australian national budget on the Mercury‘s web site.

Find Peter Broelman’s web site here.

Find another really clever Illawarra Mercury front-page illustration here.

Editorial cartoonist Chan Lowe’s problem with women… Supreme Court justices

Here’s an editorial cartoon by Chan Lowe of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, about the Supreme Court’s upcoming deliberations on President Barack Obama‘s health care plan.

One little problem: Rob Tornoe of the Cagle Post editorial cartooning site writes:

Visible in the cartoons are both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, but Lowe left out Elena Kagan, who took over the seat vacated by John Paul Stevens back in 2010.

Rob contacted Chan who admitted:

Yes — I mistakenly used a reference photo that pre-dated her accession to the court, and what with deadline pressure, it slipped my mind that she had been confirmed.

In fact, Chan drew this cartoon more than a year ago. He recently used it to illustrate a news story on the Sun Sentinel‘s web site. USA Today spotted it and ran it Friday, causing Chan to receive yet another wave of complaints and “hey, dummy” messages from around the country. He tells Rob:

I would have to agree that it was a stupid mistake. Once it’s out there on the Internet, you can’t call it back and correct it. I suppose I should be pleased that people study cartoons so carefully.

Before I realized how old the cartoon was, I searched thorugh Chan’s slice of the Sun-Sentinel web site. I didn’t find the Obamacare cartoon but I did stumble across this one…

…which gave me the idea for the somewhat snarky headline I used on this post.

My apologies. In fact, I’m a big fan of Chan Lowe. Find his blog here.

Also, if you have even the slightest interest in editorial cartooning, you ought to be reading Rob Tornoe’s blog. Find that here

You know who else needs a copy editor?

Local TV news operations. Chicago’s WMAQ-TV in particular. And Harrisburg’s Fox43 TV news. And Local 15 News in Mobile, Ala. And WBAL-TV in Baltimore. And Fox2Now in St. Louis. And KTLA channel 5 in Los Angeles. And Charlotte’s WBTV. And KXAN-TV of Austin. And Huntsville’s WAFF-TV. And KCRG of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And other local TV news operations. And CBS local media. And CBS/DC in Washington. And the web operation for DC101 radio. And the Huffington Post. And the Huffington Post again. And CNN (and CNN again)(and yet again) and CNN Money and CNN mobile and Fox News (and Fox News again)(and Fox News yet again)(and again!)(and again!)(and yet again!)(and yet again) and ABC News and the BBC and German news channel N24. And Fairfax media of New Zealand. And Dagsrevyen, the evening news broadcast of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. And Martha Stewart’s TV operation. And the Disney Channel. And AOL. And creators of mobile apps. And Yahoo News. And Yahoo News again. And Google News’ ‘bots. And Baseball jersey manufacturers. And Georgetown University. And Kansas State University. And the University of Iowa. And the New York Jets, the Minnesota Vikings, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals (boy, do they need a copy editor). And the National Hockey League. And ESPN (and ESPN again)(and yet again)(and yet again)(and three more times!)(and yet again) and Fox Sports (and Fox Sports again)(and Fox Sports one more time). And Sports Illustrated. And college athletic department ticket offices. And the NCAA. And the Virginia general assembly. And college alumni magazines. And pharmacies. And the makers of Sudafed. And Borders bookstore. And the U.S. Postal Service. And government agencies and political candidates. And Tea Party candidates. And the Newt Gingrich campaign. And the White House. And the Vice President. And city and county Boards of Elections. Both the state of Pennsylvania and its department of transportation. And Costa Cruises. And Pittsburgh skywriters. And road paving contractors in Durham, N.C. and in New York City. And the city of Norfolk, Va. And the Ohio Dept. of Transportation. And the West Palm Beach, Fla., police dept. And South African traffic cops. And Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Fla. And gas stations. And billboard companies. And bumper sticker manufacturers. And sign painters. And Home Depot and manufacturers of “hoodies.” And T-shirt designers. And more T-shirt designers. And Old Navy. And Adidas. And rubber stamp designers. And glass etchers. And Starbucks. And restaurants, breakfast joints, Chinese restaurants and cake decorators. And more cake decorators. And drive-in movie theater managers. And romance novelists. And Capcom, the makers of Resident Evil video games. And American Idol.  And South Africa’s New Age and Sunday Independent newspapers. And Dublin’s Sunday Business Post. And the Echo of Gloucestershire, England. And the London Daily Mail. And the South China Morning Post. And the Washington Post (Hey! Another repeat offender!), the Post‘s Express tab (Hey! Yet another repeat offender!), the Washington Examiner, the New York Times (Wow! Yet another repeat offender!)(Hey! A third offense!), the New York Post, Wall Street Journal Europe, Newsday, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times (And yet another!), the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat & Chronicle, the Daily Mail of London, the Seattle Times, the weekly Manila Mail of San Francisco, the Miami Herald (and again!), the Portland Oregonian, the Durham, N.C., Herald-Sun, the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., the Chapel Hill, N.C., News, the Missoula, Mont., Missoulian, the Duluth, Minn., News Tribune, the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, the Bangor (Maine) Daily News, the Times-Record of Denton, Md., the News-Herald of Willoughby, Ohio, the Reporter of Lansdale, Pa., the Amarillo (Texas) Globe News, the Laredo Morning Times, the Daily Telegram of Temple, Texas, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Waynesboro News Virginian, the Virginian-Pilot (and the Virginian-Pilot again), the Des Moines Register, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Gannett’s N.Y. Central Media hub, the Greenville (S.C.) News, the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Olympian of Olympia, Wash., the Carbondale, Ill., Southern Illinoisian, the Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger (Hey! Yet another repeat offender!) and the Canarsie Courier of New York City. And Politico. And the Associated Press. And the Associated Press again. And the Associated Press again. And Mann’s Jeweler’s Accent magazine. And New Scientist magazine. And Investment News magazine. And Time magazine (and Time magazine again).

And, of course, I need a copy editor myself.

I’ve always needed a copy editor. Which is why you’ll see me fight so hard for them.

A little perspective from the Midwest

Here in the airport in Newark — Yes, I’m still here enduring an extended layover on my way home from Nigeria — everybody is talking about the megamillions lottery.

And I mean everybody.

Thankfully, Gary Varvel of the Indianapolis Star


…steps up to put that story into perspective for us:

That apparently ran in today’s paper. I’ve written about Varvel most recently here. Find his cartoon blog here.

In addition, whoever it is that writes material for the Indy Star‘s Facebook page writes today:

Now, here’s a perspective on how much 1 trillion is: If you spent $1 million every day since the time Christ was born until now, you will have spent approximately, $735 billion. Think about that. $1 million every day for 2012 years and you still will not have spent $1 trillion. And we’re $15.5 trillion in debt.

Amazing stuff.

An elaborate marriage proposal in front of a news audience

This afternoon, Poynter’s Mallary Tenore wrote about the elaborate “infographic” marriage proposal Drake Martinet posted today for his sweetie, Stacy Green.

The proposer — Drake — is social media editor for All Things Digital. The proposee — Stacy — is a vice president at Mashable. The graphic — more of an illustrated fact box, really; don’t get me started on infographics vs. data visualization — was posted at those two web sites and quickly went viral via Twitter and Facebook, Mallary reports.

Here’s the “graphic.” Click for a larger view:

Find the original at Mashable and at All Things Digital.

Drake writes at the latter:

By the way, Stacy said yes.

Very cute.

Mallary talked with both Drake and Stacy to get the story behind the public proposal. Read that here.

This reminds me of another story from long ago. Long, long ago, in fact, before Mashable, before Twitter and before the internet itself.

Macintosh computers were only a year old, in fact, in 1985.

I had spent my senior year as a contributing editor and editorial cartoonist for the Johnsonian, the student newspaper at Winthrop College in Rock Hill, S.C. I graduated in 1984 and, the next Valentine’s Day, was living in Atlanta and working for the folks who published Yellow Pages phone directories. My own sweetie — Sharon McConnell, who was from Lilburn in the northeast surburbs of Atlanta — was still at Winthrop, finishing up her degree in Education.

Sharon and me, March 1984

When she came home for spring break, I popped the question to her. And she said yes.

When she got back to school the next week, however, she found an interesting little surprise I had lined up weeks in advance. And, yes, at some risk. Because there was no guarantee, y’know, that she’d say yes.

I had contacted the Johnsonian in order to buy an ad to run in the first edition after spring break. My old pals, however, tore up my check and ran the “ad” in my old spot on the editorial page.

Very quickly, I heard from one of my favorite editorial cartoon targets, Philip Lader, the president of the college. Phil gave me hell for putting the engagement ring on the wrong finger.

Oops. Even then, someone needed a copy editor.

To make a long story short, we were married that August. That was 27 years ago. Sharon’s now a veteran special ed teacher who specializes in autism. I’m… well, whatever the hell it is I do now.

Phil, for what it’s worth, ran for governor of South Carolina, failed, and ended up serving in the Bill Clinton administration as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, Deputy White House Chief of Staff and, eventually, ambassador to England. He’s probably best known for holding huge leadership retreats each year in Hilton Head called the “Renaissance Weekend.”

I asked Sharon to comment on this story but she couldn’t be reached. She’s in front of the TV, watching Glee and going: Shh! Shh!

Three interesting page-one visuals

Here are three interesting items I found in my daily romp through the Newseum


Ogden, Utah

Circulation: 62,603

You’re looking at a picture of a python. Playing with the owner’s ten grandkids.

His name was Monty (I know, I know). Monty died last week at age 30. He spent 27 years in a classroom at Plain City Elementary in Plain City, Utah.

Apparently, he was held back a few times. Heh.

The story by Nancy Van Valkenburg quotes an obit that appears on the school’s web page:

This winter, in his aging years, Monty Python, Mr. [Steve] Gertsch‘s most notorious class pet, caught a cold which settled in his lungs and became pneumonia. Monty Python slipped into a coma and passed away peacefully on Sunday evening, January 29, 2012. … Monty helped many students (not quite as many teachers) overcome their fear of snakes.

The picture — from the files of the owners — was lead art on page one of today’s Standard-Examiner.

Those are ten Gertsch grandchildren. There’s no truth to the rumor that there were 12 before they got the snake.

That’s just a rumor. That I started this very moment.


Washington, D.C.

Distribution: 32,090

The story today in Politico: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has practically become a parody of himself from his continued gaffes and the way his uniquely skewed look at the plight of the working man comes across.

The paper illustrated that story with this terrific cartoon by staffer Matt Wuerker.

Politico‘s Maggie Haberman cites the “I like firing people” and “I’m not worried about the poor incident, among others, and reports today:

Never mind that some of these events are taken out of context or distorted beyond recognition. Romney’s an easy figure for mockery, simple to tag as an out-of-touch rich guy – a caricature even simpler to sketch than the one Republicans made of John Kerry in 2004, and in 2012, potentially even more devastating.

At a time when Democrats are prepared to stoke a little class resentment, they may well be able to pigeonhole the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination into the narrative President Barack Obama laid out in his State of the Union address: the rich versus rest of us.

The story and the cartoon were the centerpiece of today’s front page.

Find more of Matt Wuerker’s cartoons here.


Boston, Mass.

Distribution: 163,000

And from Boston — home of the free Butterfinger candy bars — here’s an interesting idea for charity work: Designer and type geek Kenji Nakayma goes up to the homeless folks he sees around Boston, buys their homemade cardboard signs for $10 and then replaces them with new signs he makes himself.

Here’s 74-yer-old Frank, before and after he was given a sign.


The pictures are handouts by Nakayma, who has done this only three times, he says in the story today by Metro‘s Steve Annear.

Nevertheless, Frank and his signs were lead art today on the free Boston tabloid.

Interestingly, I think the cardboard sign is more readable than the new sign, thanks to the chunky serif text and the lack of contrast in the colors Nakayma chose.

Ah, well. At least it’s not Comic Sans, right?

Find Nakayma’s Tumblr collection of signs for homeless people here.

These pages are from the Newseum. Of course.

Indy Star kicks off Super Bowl countdown with a fun page-one cartoon

The Super Bowl won’t be played until Sunday, Feb. 5. Which might seem like an eternity for Giants fans, Patriots fans or anyone living in the host city of Indianapolis.

I doubt Indy is getting much tourism traffic for the game just yet — given that we didn’t even know who would be playing until two days ago. Just the same, though, the Indianapolis Star devoted much of today’s front page to having some fun with those soon-to-be-arriving guests.

Here’s a closer look at just the cartoon. Click for a much larger view:

Below, the Star enlisted staffers to tell Midwestern readers what kind of behavior to expect out of visiting New Yorkers…

…as well as New Englanders.

The illustration itself is by Star editorial cartoonist Gary Varvel


…who writes today in his blog:

I was asked to illustrate a piece for the front page of The Indianapolis Star today. That’s prime real estate in newspaperland, so I jumped at the chance. This cartoon is about the Giant and Patriot fans flooding into Indy. I will be cranking out a lot of Super Bowl cartoons in the next couple of weeks. Hey, where’s Peyton?

Where is Peyton Manning indeed. Just yesterday, Gary posted a Manning cartoon for which he asked his blog readers to supply a suggested caption.

My favorite:

“Hey! Joe Biden was right. You ARE going to the Super Bowl.”

During the Colts’ most recent Super Bowl run — two years ago, not that I’m counting — Gary drew this fun full-page cartoon that ran in a preview section a couple of days before the game.

Click for a readable version.

Find Gary Varvel’s blog here.

Find the Indianapolis Star‘s Super Bowl coverage here.

Find the Indianapolis Star visuals’ Twitter feed here.

Superhero-style illustrations of Green Bay Packers stars by Press-Gazette cartoonist Joe Heller

Green Bay Press-Gazette editorial cartoonist Joe Heller produced a series of full-page posters this week commemorating the Packers’ run at a second consecutive Super Bowl trophy.

The series of pull-out posters began on Monday with receiver Greg Jennings, at upper left.




The poster starring Clay Matthews — bottom right — ran today. The motif is kind of a Justice League or Avengers group of superheroes. Matthews, there, looks a lot like Thor, for example. And quarterback Aaron Rodgers — below — reminds you of the Green Lantern.

Rodgers — the seventh and final poster — inserts Sunday.

And every one of these posters is available for free as a PDF. Find them all here.

The Press-Gazette produced a video this week, showing how Joe pulled off this work on top of his editorial cartooning duties.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Joe worked as editorial cartoonist for the West Bend (Wis.) News before moving to the Press-Gazette in 1985.


In 1985, the starting quarterback for the Packers was Lynn Dickey.

[Trivia question: Who? Answer: Exactly.]

Joe draws lots and lots of Packers-related cartoons, of course…

But he also takes on other sports. Here’s a piece on the World Cup of soccer, a couple of years ago.

Here’s a two-themed Christmas cartoon: Shopping and travel.

Here’s a political piece from earlier this year…

…and here’s a very recent one.

Find Joe’s Press-Gazette home page here and his personal home page here. Find a nice story about his work methods here.

Find the Packers illustrations here.

Average daily circulation for the Press-Gazette is 41,904.

Best take yet on the Mitt Romney “I like to fire people” comment

Politicians are always screaming that their comments have been taken out of context. They say that especially when they get in trouble for saying something stupid.

Many times with folks like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain, the comments were not, in fact, edited or taken out of context.

Mitt Romney took a lot of heat recently for his “I like to fire people” comment that’s been passed around. But John Cole — editorial cartoonist for the Scranton, Pa., Times-Tribune — went to the trouble of looking up the context for this funny-as-hell take on the kerfuffle:

Note the voice balloon biting Romney in the ass. Just perfect.

John explains in his blog:

The most recent example involves the selective disembowelment  of Romney’s remarks during a New Hampshire debate, wherein he defended his health insurance plan by saying that all Americans should be able to, in essence, “fire” their insurer if they’re unhappy with the service they receive. This extended explanation was quickly whittled down to “I like to fire people” by his GOP opponents, Democrats and the media.

You can write this in a story. But putting it into a cartoon is so much more effective.

A 1980 graduate of Washington and Lee University, John Cole spent 20 years cartooning for the Herald of Durham, N.C., before moving to Scranton in 2005. He also writes automotive stories for the Times-Tribune and other publications. He draws five to seven color cartoons weekly for his newspaper group and for Cagle Cartoons, which distributes his work nationally.

Plus, tomorrow is John’s birthday. So you get to read that last paragraph again tomorrow.

It’s been a huge year for John. The Penn State scandal gave him a lot to work with:

Find John’s cartoon blog here, his Facebook fan page here and his Twitter feed here.

Behind the Indiana Daily Student’s coverage of a huge basketball win

Indiana University’s huge, last-second 73-72 win over No. 1-ranked Kentucky Saturday couldn’t have come at a better time for the Indiana Daily Student newspaper.

The IDS — which publishes only on weekdays — had all day Sunday to work on the final edition before students bolted for home.

So, what did they do? Not to mix metaphors, but they knocked it out of the park.

Click for a larger view:

All hell broke out when Christian Watford nailed a three-pointer with no time left to give Indiana a one-point win.

Staffer Stephanie Kuzydym writes in her page-one story:

An uproar filled the rafters. The IU men’s basketball team celebrated in a pile. Thousands of fingers pointed in the air. Seniors who sat through a 6-25 record their freshman season watched their team upset the country’s premier team to turn the card to 9-0.

The faithful stormed the court.

“This is Indiana. This is Indiana,” fans shouted as they swarmed past black-shirted security guards. A guard threw both his hands up like stop signs toward the rushing crowd. They couldn’t even be slowed.

Fans sprinted. Some tripped and fell. Some were even trampled.

Members of the Big Red Basketball Band’s first instinct was to protect their instruments from the chaos. They lifted their trombones and trumpets above their heads before dropping them to their mouths to play the fight song.

“We’re No. 1,” a fan shouted. “No. 1, baby.”

Here’s the picture by staffer Courtney Deckard of fans rushing the court after time expired. Click for a larger look.

An amazing moment for Indiana students and fans.

Web editor Charlie Scudder tells us art director Sarah Thacker designed the front page.

The “Glory of old IU” headline took a lot of thought. We wanted to convey the excitement of this win while still recognize that it was a “they’re back” moment. [Design chief] Christa Kumming came up with the lyric from the IU fight song late in the night, and we all agreed it fit perfectly.

Christa designed the sports front, featuring a picture by Mark Felix.

Charlie tells us:

Take a peek at the sports front “trampled” photo. The number one jersey on the number one team is being passed by our number one jersey. A subtlety that I enjoyed when the photos came through.

The second sports page featured a couple of game shots, tweets from various folks including IDS staffers and a breakout box citing outstanding stats that led the Hoosiers to that last-second shot.

In addition, here was today’s editorial cartoon by staffer Charley Gifford.

Charlie tells us:

We had our photographers miss the end of the game because they were running to Kirkwood Avenue, where students flooded the streets after Watford’s buzzer beater. They got some awesome stuff that we made into multimedia packages.

Find a slideshow of the aftermath — augmented with audio — here. Find a video here of celebrations erupting on Kirkwood.

Charlie adds:

Also, we are selling copies of the paper and press plates for all the Hoosier fans out there.

The IDS is selling each plate for $25. Find details here.

Three weeks ago, the Iowa State Daily put out a special online-only PDF edition when the Cyclones beat No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State 37-31 during the school’s Thanksgiving break. Read about that here.

Brilliant ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ parody in the Boston Globe

Cartoonist Ward Sutton created a full page commentary piece for Sunday’s Boston Globe, comparing the administration of President Barack Obama to the to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of children’s books by Jeff Kinney.

The “news peg”: The latest book in the series is released today.

Click for a larger view:

This is a downright brilliant observation. It does seem that the president has been a bit of a victim since day one. Too busy on the defensive to actually, you know, lead.

The “stinky chief touch.” What a scream.

The writer and artist, Ward Sutton, has drawn for Time, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, the Nation, Mad magazine and the New York Times.

His strip, Sutton Impact, ran in the Village Voice for 12 years. He also appeared in TV Guide every other week for years in a feature called That’s Entertoonment. Among his current gigs: He draws an editorial cartoon under the name “Kelly” for the Onion.

A few samples of his work (click any for a larger view):



UPDATE – 8:20 p.m.

Over the weekend, I posted to my Facebook page a link to a wonderful set of political-themed illustrations I found via Robert Newman‘s feed. Although I’m usually pretty good about noticing bylines, this one got completely by me.

Yep. The artist was Ward Sutton.

The art was a series of fake DC comics covers for the Village Voice.


There were seven in all. Find them here.

Ward’s site appears to be down at the moment. Here’s the link anyway, though. Find his Twitter feed here.