They replaced Cal Grondahl with a children’s illustrator??

I’m a bit surly this morning after reading the news that my one-time local paper The Standard Examiner hired a freelance cartoonist to do local cartoons once drawn by the genius cartoonist (and personal friend) Cal Grondahl. The Examiner laid Cal off last month a couple years shy of his retirement. Now I learn the paper has hired a children’s illustrator, Val Chadwick Bagley (not related to the award-winning Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoonist Pat Bagley), most noted for his work for The Friend and New Era – children and teen magazines for the Mormon church. Being a decades long contributor to various church publications guarantees Val won’t be touching any issues related to the church’s heavy influence in local politics and culture. In other words, they didn’t hire an editorial cartoonist with any bite, they hired an illustrator who’s pen will stay holstered on a lot of important issues that will affect their readers.

Below is a video about Val’s career. He might be a successful cartoonist in his genre, but he’s not an editorial cartoonist. The paper did a disservice to their readers and community by laying-off a beloved, experienced cartoonist and bringing in an children’s illustrator.

15 thoughts on “They replaced Cal Grondahl with a children’s illustrator??

  1. I grew up reading the SE, and Val has always been really nice to me, so all I can say is that I think it would be really cool if he surprised us all and revealed a hidden talent for sharp, biting political commentary. Not holding my breath though.

  2. Many people inside LDS culture confuse the Bags…or think they’re related.

    Although I’ve never met Cal, his work is so unique and just plain great. His signature style is always dead on and it doesn’t matter if he draws with a simple pencil or what I assume it right on computer, his work has always left me wanting more. Not sure why the hell they replaced him???

  3. I think we should give him a chance. Political cartoons come in all shapes and sizes – maybe the editorial team is looking for a fresh approach to the genre.

  4. A lot of top political cartoonists have illustrated children’s books.

    And plenty of talented children’s book illustrators have also done political cartooning. It is not a rare thing either way.

    But not all artists are suitable for all things, by any means. Hopefully, it is merely “The Hulk replaced by Hello Kitty.”

    What would be worse?

    “The Hulk DRAWING Hello Kitty.”

  5. It DOES grate when editors do things like this. Hard to read it as anything other than cowardice.

    I do like this guy’s style, though. It’s breezy and fun—-comes out of that same 1970s gag cartoon school that people like Tom Armstrong also seem to be from.

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