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“I can tell, you’re a weirdo like me.”

 

In the beginning, there was “the word.” And then Ben Franklin added cartoons to your favourite newspaper.

It is 265 years ago this month that the then-loyal British citizen Franklin published an edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette with a woodcut print of a snake cut into segments with the caption, “Join or Die.”

It was a call to arms for the American colonies to unite against French expansion in the French and Indian War. The enterprising Franklin would later repurpose the widely-known cartoon for colonies to unite in the American Revolution.

Like most absolutes, this “first newspaper cartoon” is subject to debate…

 

 

Jim Slotek looks back on a lifetime of reading comics and cartoons in newspapers.

…It led to both the editorial cartoon, and “the funnies,” the latter being a tradition our generations may live to see die, given the state of newspapers and magazines.

And though there are a plethora of clever, creative cartoons on the ‘Net these days, it’s hard to imagine any of them spanning generations the way old-school comic strips did.

Celebrating 265 Years of the Funnies: The Art Form That Just Won’t Be The Same Out Of Print

If the strips sometimes got bumped into the editorial section, the editorial cartoons themselves are still hanging in, translating reasonably well to the Net. I get the sense, though that it’s harder to be satirical in a milieu where taking offence is a default mode…

They may live on online. But it’ll never be the same as appreciating them in ink on paper.

 

 

 

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