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Discussion: Which cartoonists belong on Rushmore

Over on the Washington Post, columnist Gene Weingarten and his readers discuss which four cartoonists deserve placement on a Mt. Rushmore of cartoonists. The reader offered up Walt Kelly and Charles Schulz. Weingarten suggested that Schulz shouldn’t be there, but Gary Larson and Garry Trudeau should be.

What’s your take? Only four spots available. Also add your reasoning for your selections.

Community Comments

#1 Danny Burleson
May/15/2008
@ 11:26 am

George Herriman
Charles Schulz
Walt Kelly
Winsor McKay

#2 Mike Lester
May/15/2008
@ 11:28 am

Ben Franklin

#3 Mike Cope
May/15/2008
@ 11:28 am

How about RF Outcault, Jimmy Swinnerton, Frederick Opper, and Rudolph Dirks … The four forefathers of American cartooning :)

#4 Mike Lester
May/15/2008
@ 11:29 am

and that guy who does “LOVE IS”.

#5 Danny Burleson
May/15/2008
@ 11:41 am

Whoops, forget to add why. My choices mostly have to do with how the individuals have influenced the art of cartooning as whole, beyond just their own work:

George Herriman: Has probably influenced many cartoonists, whether they realize it or not. Krazy Kat was a wonderfully crafted strip with visual devices and such unlike any other strip at they time. All to basically tell the same joke over and over, an important skill for any cartoonist. Many cartoonists since have adapted and streamlined his techniques.

Charles Schulz: An obvious choice, one people might avoid picking due to his very popularity. I for one did not grow up a Peanuts fan, but the man wrote and drew his own comic for 50 years! That’s an achievement in and of itself, but how many people have Peanuts to thank for their own cartooning career? I’m thinking a lot.

Walt Kelly: Pogo was awesome on so many levels. Enough said.

Winsor McKay: Talk about comics being art! The imagination infused into each strip is beyond compare.

You could alternatively add people such as Bill Watterson, Berke Breathed, Gary Larson, etc., but honestly, where would those cartoonists be if not for the above individuals?

#6 Larry Levine
May/15/2008
@ 11:56 am

I would included Chuck Jones, the greatest of animation directors (and creator of the comic strip “Crawford”)

#7 John Hajduk
May/15/2008
@ 12:13 pm

I’d go with Herriman, Schulz, Kelly & Milt Caniff (unless we’re limiting this to humor work, in which case I’d go along with McKay).

#8 Corey Pandolph
May/15/2008
@ 12:25 pm

Since no else said yet: Me. I deserve statues all over this country, in every location where people want to learn how to be a success in comics.

There will be string on my chest you pull that launches me into a huge diatribe about what’s wrong with everyone and everything in this industry. After which, I recite of my greatest jokes, coupled with stories of celebrities I know reading quotes from my many self-help books.

At the end of the 6 1/2 hours, my head will open up, spewing confetti, to the tune of The National’s “all the wine is all for me”.

As you can see, we’re only on the planning phases, but this will obviously be a great service to the industry and this country, as a whole.

Cheers and don’t forget to thank me for my special gift at corey@fakerockstar.com,

Corey Pandolph
Super non-webcartoonist conformist genius

#9 Rich Diesslin
May/15/2008
@ 12:29 pm

That’s what’s needed, more awards. The Rushies. How inane.

#10 Just Holmes!
May/15/2008
@ 12:56 pm

Looking to the current Rushmore as a model, I’ve come up with:

In Washington’s place would be Outcault, the father of modern cartooning.

In Jefferson’s, we’d have McCay, the fevered genius of the revolution.

Lincoln was a transitional figure who solidified the nation, so I’ll go with Herriman.

Then, there’s Roosevelt, the more recent populist/popular figure. In his place would be Schulz.

#11 Phil Wohlrab
May/15/2008
@ 1:30 pm

Ub Iwerks, Charles Schulz, Chuck Jones and Matt Groening I think I’m right about this one

#12 Larry Levine
May/15/2008
@ 1:33 pm

Phil, don’t forget Elzie Segar!

#13 Phil Wohlrab
May/15/2008
@ 1:41 pm

Oh man the creator of Popeye! Tough one. Ub Created Mickey Mouse, an icon of all icons, and although I don’t think much of Popeye now, I couldn’t get enough of it when I was a little kid. I’d wait for it to come on TV. They even had “Popeye the ride” when I went down the shore in the 80’s.

#14 Rob Tornoe
May/15/2008
@ 1:42 pm

My four would have to be:

Walt Kelly
George Herriman
Milt Caniff
Will Eisner

It’s sad that I can’t think of an editorial cartoonist that was an influential to their craft as all four of these cartoonists were to theirs.

Thomas Nast maybe, but not in the same was as Herriman was to comic strip artists, or Will Eisner to comic book artists.

And I wish I could force Joe Kubert up there, but I can’t. At least I got to mention him :)

#15 Rick Stromoski
May/15/2008
@ 1:47 pm

from left to right:

GEORGE herriman THOMAS nast TED key and LINCOLN pierce

#16 Rick Stromoski
May/15/2008
@ 1:50 pm

I’m going over to the North American Federation of Plumbing Contractors and Sprinkler System Maintenance Professionals bulletin board and put in my vote on who should be on the Mt. Rushmore of All Time Plumbers.

#17 Alan Gardner
May/15/2008
@ 1:51 pm

Itâ??s sad that I canâ??t think of an editorial cartoonist that was an influential to their craft as all four of these cartoonists were to theirs.

Thomas Nast would be the father of editorial cartooning. Jeff MacNelly and Pat Oliphant are also highly influential cartoonists in editorial cartooning, though because there are only 4 slots, there are other more influential cartoonists more deserving of the slot.

I’d vote for Schulz, Kelly, Nast, Caniff.

#18 Just Holmes!
May/15/2008
@ 1:55 pm

For editorial cartoonist analogs to the influential strippers, I’d say Vaughn Shoemaker, Ding Darling, John McCutcheon, and Herblock all left the art different than it was when they started.

#19 Corey Pandolph
May/15/2008
@ 2:13 pm

We could list some web-cartoonists, but I think they all agree that granite is a dying medium…

#20 Alan Gardner
May/15/2008
@ 2:20 pm

We could list some web-cartoonists

We could, but with only four “spaces” available, the list would include the following:

#21 Corey Pandolph
May/15/2008
@ 2:27 pm

Somebody just emailed me about my comments here…

“Everything’s just a big joke to you, isn’t it, Pandolph?”

Uh… well, yeah.

#22 Larry Levine
May/15/2008
@ 2:33 pm

Alan, for web-cartoonists I nominate Chris Sanders–his Kiskaloo strip is the greatest on the web, plus he created Lilo & Stitch, the last great 2D Disney Feature.

#23 Alan Gardner
May/15/2008
@ 2:39 pm

Chris is indeed a terrific artist, but hardly worthy of immortalizing when stacked up against the cartoonist that shaped and moved the industry.

#24 J.G. Moore
May/15/2008
@ 3:11 pm

Mt. Rushmore? Lets not be hasty. Let get some more jobs in newspapers FIRST. Cartoonist can’t even keep a job these days or get any “real” respect in the media. Can anyone name an animator who worked on The Incredibles …anyone…anyone… Bueller?…
Mt. Rushmore indeed.

#25 Garey Mckee
May/15/2008
@ 3:50 pm

I agree with Corey. I think he SHOULD be up there. Not just his face, either. That way he can jutt is crotch to the WHOLE WORLD.

Actually I was going to agree with Danny, Winsor McCay definitely!

Schulz, yes. For reasons I think are obvious to everyone with half a brain cell.

I’d like to see H.T. Webster up there. I can almost see him where Teddy is now, smoking his pipe.

Dare I say, Bill Watterson?

Now if you REALLY want to get crazy, let’s talk about what cartoonists should be on the side of Stone Mountain?

#26 Rick Stromoski
May/15/2008
@ 3:54 pm

I wish I could quit this thread.

#27 Larry Levine
May/15/2008
@ 4:27 pm

There’s only one logical route to go with this–SETH McFARLANE (with Peter, Brian & Stewie filling the other three slots)

#28 Wiley Miller
May/15/2008
@ 5:15 pm

Corey Pandolph would be fitting because, as we all know from an announcement here a couple of weeks ago, he’s dead.

#29 Charles Brubaker
May/15/2008
@ 5:32 pm

“Thereâ??s only one logical route to go with thisâ??SETH McFARLANE (with Peter, Brian & Stewie filling the other three slots)”

Man, if this really happened, I’d love to see how Amid Amidi reacts (hopefully, not too much violence).

#30 Jeff Vella
May/15/2008
@ 6:18 pm

Alan – You said “Thomas Nast would be the father of Editorial Cartooning”… sorry Alan, you’re wrong.

Thomas Nats was born in 1840, and approx. 100 years BEFORE Nast was born, Ben Franklin not only started the country’s first newspaper, The New England Courant (Later to be renamed The Hartford Courant is still in publication today), but is also concidered to be the very first Editorial cartoonist with his now famous “Join, or Die” Comic.

So, in retrospect, my list would be as follows:

Benjamin Franklin (The “Real” Father of Editorial Cartoons)
Thomas Nast, Bill Mauldin, and Charles Schulz

#31 Alan Gardner
May/15/2008
@ 6:32 pm

Well Jeff, if I’m wrong, I suggest you start informing others as well – like the OSU Cartoon Research Library, The U.S. Senate, and The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

Seriously, don’t mistake Benjamin Franklin as the first to DO an editorial cartoon with Nast used the art form powerfully in shaping public opinion for which he earns the title, “Father of American Editorial Cartooning.”

#32 Jeff Vella
May/16/2008
@ 4:22 am

Alan, Did I say YOU were wrong…? What I meant to say is… Well, ya’ see it’s…

Oh hell, serve me up some of that humble pie, You’re right and I wrong. Maybe I should do my homework before I speak next time, huh? My apologies, Alan.

Meanwhile, I’ll re-think the fourth cartoonist on that list of mine.

#33 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
May/16/2008
@ 11:10 pm

Capp, Schulz, Kelly, Mauldin.

Too many other worthies: Robert Minor, Gould, Oliphant, Herblock, Conrad, Walker….

#34 Mike Lester
May/17/2008
@ 8:03 am

This is a fascinating exercise. Most people just go to porn sites. To that end, I’d like to suggest redesigns of other great works of art by asking…

“Which Cartoonist Needs to Have His Head On The Venus De Milo?” – or, “should have his arms cut off?”

I’ll start:
-Steve “Jeff MacNelly’s Dead?” Benson
-Jim (how do you say “breaks over” in Cantonese?) Davis
-Mike “I got two turntables and Photoshop” Thompson
-Ted “I hold my pencil somewhere else anyway” Rall
-Michael “The Thomas Kincaid of Cartoon” Ramirez
-Lynn “If you’re a guy reading me -you’re gay” Johnson
-Pussy Division: The Bad Cartoonist

(Disclaimer: I’m just pissed I have to work all weekend and needed some levity. So please don’t be offended if I left you out.)

#35 Antonio Diaz
May/17/2008
@ 10:23 am

Charles Schultz should should definitely be up there, since he is the greatest cartoonist of our life time.
Also Bill Waterson and Gary Larson.

Corey Pandolph, I like you attitude, and you’re not so bad yourself.

#36 Eric Burke
May/19/2008
@ 7:21 pm

I wish I could quit this thread

Good to see Brokeback Mountain jokes still going strong…

…just in time for The Dark Knight on June 18th…

#37 Eric Burke
May/19/2008
@ 8:07 pm

1. Herriman- The “Godfather” of comic strips?

2. EC Segar- I think the numerous shoddy animated versions cheapened and undermined how great a strip Popeye really was.

3. Schulz- Too obvious to list…

4. Watterson- Brought back a level of appreciation of the comic strip that hasn’t been there since his retirement.

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