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Scott Stantis marks 30 years in cartooning

Today marks Scott Stantis’ 30 year mark from the first time one of his editorial cartoons was published. His first editorial cartoon was published in the San Pedro News-Pilot in 1978 for $10.

I had actually sold the cartoon 10 days before but, for some reason, the editor held it. I was going out to lunch with my college newspaper editorial page editor, Steve Townsend. There were newspaper racks outside the restaurant and it just so happened that the News-Pilot afternoon edition was out. I put in my 15 cents, pulled out the paper, flipped to the editorial page fully expecting to be disappointed again and there it was. My cartoon. I had arrived. Staring back at me from the page was something I had drawn. Created on my own and would soon be cashing the check for $10 the editor promised on publication. From that moment to today, it is the only thing I have ever wanted to do for a living.

You have to understand, for those of us of a certain age, walking into a newspaper office for the first time is one of those experiences that burns itself into your soul. The News-Pilot building was old. Real old. And the newsroom had been there for decades. When you walked in you were smacked in the face by the bang-bang-bang of electric typewriters on deadline. A cloud of pipe, cigar and cigarette smoke hung over the reporters. The din punctured with the shout of “COPY!” The grizzled old chain-smoking editor with his tie untied and a bottle in his desk put out his hand for a firm handshake. (OK, the editor, James A. Groth, was only in his 30’s, which seemed downright ancient to a 19-year-old aspiring cartoonist. The cigarette and the bottle are the god’s honest truth). I can still smell that place today. Newsprint, ink, tobacco, cheap cologne and cheaper booze commingled to make, what was to me, the sweetest smell in the world. To say I was in love would be understating it. It was my destiny.

Read the rest. It’s entertaining and I would suspect a somewhat familiar experience to many.

Community Comments

#1 Clay
May/23/2008
@ 1:31 pm

Congratulations, Scott for 30 years of deadline pressure without losing your hair or your sanity…..OK, you still have your hair.

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