GA Voice Art Director, former Association of American Editorial Cartoonists president and former East Valley Tribune and Scottsdale Tribune editorial cartoonist Mike Ritter has passed at the age of 48. His death was sudden and reportedly related to a recent surgery. (Correction: GA Voice Twitter account is stating that Mike died last night after emergency open heart surgery.)
From the GA Voice’s Facebook page.
It is with a heavy heart that we report that Mike Ritter died last night shortly after midnight. His death was sudden and devastating. A memorial will be planned for him in Atlanta and in the Pacific Northwest. Mike was a talented art director, but most importantly a kind and gentle soul and a great friend to those who knew him. Anyone who touched a GA Voice touched his creativity and craft. We will keep all updated as more specific plans become available. Thank you all for your kind wishes, thoughts, energy and prayers.
If you’re familiar with Mike’s work or him personally, he was superbly talented, creative, funny and always one of the funniest guys in the room. He worked for the Tribune papers in Arizona for 13 years until 2005 and syndicated through King Features. He was also president of the AAEC during the 2003-2004 year. Before his passing he was the art director for GA Voice, an alternative newspaper for Georgia LGBT community for several years. Mike was one of the few (only?) an openly gay staff cartoonists while he was with the Arizona Tribune papers.
I’ll update this post with additional information as it can be gathered. My condolences to his family and friends.
Mike, far right with Garry Trudeau during the 2004 AAEC Convention in Lexington KY.
Photo credit: Brian Fairrington