See All Topics

Home / Section: Cartooning

Jim Borgman, Class of ’76

Zits cartoonist Jim Borgman relives the past.

“I really do believe that Kenyon gave [me] a curiosity about the world, a sort of devil’s advocate voice, challenging assumptions,” he said. “I don’t know how they did it, but I really do think my teachers did that for me. It served me not only as a human being, but it’s served me in my profession really well.”

Borgman’s cartooning career began in the middle of his junior year, when Collegian writer Richard West ’76 asked him to illustrate a several- part series on famous Kenyon alumni. After that, Borgman asked Collegian editor Matthew Winkler ’77 P’13 H ’00 if he could begin drawing weekly cartoons, and Winkler agreed. One of Borgman’s first cartoons was in response to an incident during the summer of 1975, when a Campus Safety officer shot and killed a student’s cat. In the cartoon, Borgman depicted four felines as 1920s mobsters, complete with fedoras, tommy guns and zoot suits. By using Kenyon-specific events as inspiration, Borgman did more than political cartooning: He depicted student experiences through caricature.

Borgman’s work at the Enquirer earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1991, and he continued to draw cartoons there for another 30 years until retiring in 2008.

After almost 20 years at the Enquirer, a flat tire significantly changed his cartooning career. In 1995, en route to a National Cartoonist Society conference in Florida, both Borgman (who was traveling from Cincinnati) and fellow cartoonist Jerry Scott (traveling from Phoenix) had a layover in Atlanta and boarded the same flight. Even though they knew of each other at the time, they barely knew each other personally. The plane promptly blew a tire on the runway, and by the end of the five hours that the passengers spent sitting on the tarmac, the two cartoonists had become good friends.

The Kenyon Collegian profiles famous alumni Jim Borgman,
who provides them with a wonderful self-portrait.

Community Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.