Michael Cavna writes about the value of the hometown cartoonist.
Whether you are Portland mourning John Callahan in recent days, or Cleveland missing Harvey Pekar far more than LeBron James in recent weeks, the regional embrace of these two nationally famed cartoonists reminds how much having a cartoonist who has deep local roots and visibility is good for the civic soul.
The political cartoonist and the gag cartoonist and the comic-book writer are all different beasts with differing creative missions, of course. One shared trait, though, is that each can become a consensus touchstone and a source of inspired town pride in a place so often rife with polarizing “official” voices. Through ink, the cartoonist can be a crucial connective glue.