Randy Wicks collection to leave Santa Clarita

Randy Wicks, the cartoonist for “The Signal” (Santa Clarita, CA), until his untimely death in 1996, has had his life’s work in the city’s library, but the city has voted to secede from the Los Angeles County Library system and the Wicks family is wary of how the collection will be treated. The family wants to move the collection to another library.

“It is clearly in our best interest to transfer presentation of Randy Wicks’ original cartoons to other ( Los Angeles County library) locations,” the family wrote in a letter to Josefina Reyes, the county’s Northern Region Librarian.

The Aug. 19 letter goes on to claim City Manager Ken Pulskamp and Mayor Laurene Weste were disrespectful to the family and tried to steal the political cartoons in 2008 while the collection was housed in a vault at City Hall.

“The only reason (the city) returned them was fear of legal prosecution,” Hilton said.

Hilton said the family was considering housing the collection somewhere else in Los Angeles County, where they might reach a new audience.

10 thoughts on “Randy Wicks collection to leave Santa Clarita

  1. Randy Wicks’ cartoons were quite popular at the Santa Clarita Signal but almost unknown outside of it. Moving the collection to some other place in L.A. County will mean the cartoons will languish on a shelf somewhere gathering dust and likely never be seen.

    If the family doesn’t trust the city or its libraries, they should press the Signal newspaper to house them in its lobby or other public space (if they have one) or push for the community college or CalArts College there to house them.

  2. Randy Wicks was the prototypical local cartoonist. He was wildly popular in his community and devoted a lot of his free time and talents to helping out the the schools and other non-profits. As Steve said, outside of Santa Clarita, he was largely unknown.

    I doubt that the family would want to give his work to the Signal, or that the Signal would even have any interest in acquiring the collection. The idea of having CalArts house Randy’s work would be a nice idea.

    Randy was a graduate of CalArts and was a member of the first class of what Disney was training as a new generation of animators to replace the folks who had been with Disney for decades. I am told that one of the members of that group was a guy named Tim Burton.

  3. Holy crossed worlds. I’m both a regular reader of this blog and a librarian at that library. (And I have to say that I’m commenting here only as myself and not as a representative of the County of Los Angeles.)

    The decision by the city to separate its libraries from the county was very unpopular and was done in a very ugly manner. It was approved by the city council despite a massive turn-out from the community against the move. The city plans to contract its library service out to a for-profit company called LSSI. I totally understand the Wicks family hesitation about leaving the collection in the city’s/LSSI’s hands.

    The Randy Wicks collection at the library is great. It consists of multiple volumes of his cartoons, all indexed by topic. His cartoons are not my personal cup of tea, but they do track the zeitgeist of the unique community of the Santa Clarita Valley very well. And the collection is a great representation of a regrettably lost institution–the small local paper’s local editorial cartoonist.

    The work deserves to be on display somewhere in the community. If not CalArts, than the local historical society or one of the county library’s in an unincorporated part of the area. I hope they can find a good home, and I’ll see what I can do to help.

  4. Thanks, Matt:

    Randy still has a lot of friends in the editorial cartooning profession who revere his memory.

    As a staffer at the Santa Clarita library, I ‘d suggest you contact Lucy Caswell and her associate Jenny Robb at the Cartoon Art Library at Ohio State University for suggestions and advice that you could pass on to Randy’s family regarding disposition of this collection.

    OSU has the largest collection of American cartoon art and memorabilia in the country. Lucy’s also highly regarded in both the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and the National Cartoonists Society.

  5. I second Paul’s suggestion and I agree with Steve that Randy’s cartoons would essentially be lost on anyone not living in the Santa Clarita Valley and would end up in some storeroom, forgotten.
    I would suggest that Matt contact Carol Rock at KHTS-AM 1220, the local radio station. She was a staffer at the Signal during Randy’s tenure there and was/is a close friend. In addition to that, Carol and her husband Frank are very involved in the SCV Historical Society, should Lucy Caswell be unable to help with preserving and displaying Randy’s work.
    Speaking as the second editorial cartoonist at The Signal after Randy, I’m not surprised at any of this. Randy consistently targeted the SCV city council, as any ed.cartoonist worth their salt should. People in this valley have long memories and surprisingly thin skins. I’m surprised Weste and Puslkamp were caught at all.

  6. I don’t know if Lucy Caswell or Jenny Robb reads the DC commentary regularly, but I’d suggest that Alan forward these comments to her and the Wicks family for further attention.

  7. The Huntington Library houses original cartoons by more than a dozen editorial cartoonists. It’s near LA, so that might make sense. They have stuff by some loser named Ted Rall, and also a guy named Paul Conrad.

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