Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Love for editorial cartoons

When Gazette editorial cartoonist Chuck Asay recently retired we heard an outpouring of love from the community. Agree with his views or not, you had to respect a man for cranking out pertinent cartoons day after day for years. Too few papers, I think, have local cartoonists. I hope we'll keep Chuck in our rotation.

Ran across this about another fan of editorial cartoons:
By David Casstevens, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

GRANBURY, Texas — After a prosperous career in construction, Bob Newton is enjoying retirement. He pilots his own airplane, housing the Bonanza in a hangar attached to an office at his home. The office area includes a private theater with two rows of black leather lounge chairs, a 10-foot-wide screen, a high-definition projector and state-of-the-art sound. The 66-year-old former builder can afford almost any toy he wants, but his most valued possession is an extensive collection of original editorial cartoons — hundreds of ink-on-paper illustrations — that his late mother acquired over four decades from newspaper artists nationwide.

Each cartoon was a gift to Helen Newton of Fort Worth, Texas. She didn’t pay for any of them. About 75 of the illustrations, framed in black, adorn the terra cotta walls of her son’s home office. Seated at his desk, Newton is surrounded by caricatures of former U.S. presidents and other famous — and infamous — world leaders. The private collection is a timeline of American and world history from 1939 through the 1980s.

... Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are pictured outside the lunar module that landed on the moon. One of the space-suited figures in that 1969 Houston Chronicle cartoon is posting a sign to mark their achievement that fulfilled President Kennedy’s mandate to send Americans to the moon before the end of the decade. The sign reads, “To the Planets — or Bust!”

... In another drawing, former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, angered during a 1959 U.S. trip when he was told he couldn’t visit Disneyland, is throwing a tantrum. He is wearing Mickey Mouse ears.

... Helen Newton was a letter writer. ... Newton wrote to Cecil Jensen, cartoonist at The Chicago Daily News. She asked for one of his works, and he sent four originals. As her collection grew, Pulitzer Prize winners employed at daily newspapers in other cities contributed.

... The collection of illustrations serves as a reminder of progress, shifts in political power and the ever-changing nature of our world. Those who draw cartoons as political commentary have witnessed worrisome changes. As newspapers have merged, folded and cut costs, the number of staff editorial cartoonists at U.S. daily newspapers has dropped during the past few decades from more than 200 to about 80 today.

Members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists have likened their annual conventions to reunions of World War II veterans. Each year, fewer and fewer members attend. ...