Wayne Stayskal – RIP (updated)

Editorial and comic strip cartoonist Wayne Stayskal has passed away.

WAYNE H. STAYSKAL (né Stejskal)
December 11, 1931 – November 20, 2018

Columnist and friend Cal Thomas broke the news:

Google “Great American Political Cartoonists” and you will undoubtedly find the late Herbert Block (aka “Herblock”) of The Washington Post, (Paul) Conrad of the Los Angeles Times, Michael Ramirez of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and several other cartoonists whose work, if not their names, are familiar to newspaper readers.

One name that will take more than a cursory search to find is Wayne Stayskal, for many years a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune, later the Tampa Tribune and syndicated worldwide. Wayne passed away Tuesday morning. He was 87.

The most likely reason his name is not among the “famous” is that he was a political conservative and a serious churchman. Both his political and religious views often permeated his work and to the growing secular progressive establishment that rubbed some the wrong way.

The Political Cartoon Gallery’s brief biography:

He graduated in 1956 and went directly in to the commercial art field. Stayskal got a job in the art department of the Chicago American. It was there that his passion for cartooning was rekindled when they asked him to do some sport cartooning. From 1962 to 1970, Stayskal worked at the Chicago American as an assistant to legendary cartoonist Vaughn Shoemaker. Stayskal began to take on more responsibility until he eventually filled Shoemaker’s shoes. From 1972 to 1984, Stayskal was the editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune. He was developing his own style at this time and his work started to gain national attention. In 1984, Stayskal accepted a position at the Tampa Tribune, where he continues to serve as its editorial cartoonist.

From a 2013 gallery showing of Wayne’s cartoon  work:

About Wayne Stayskal:
A syndicated Tribune Media editorial cartoonist, Wayne Stayskal’s work was viewed worldwide for more than 30 years. His wit and satire caused some to wince, but most to smile during his career, first with the Chicago Tribune and then with the Tampa Tribune beginning in 1984.

After serving in the Air Force, with a stint in Paris, Wayne returned to his hometown of Chicago and enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation in 1956, he took a job in the art department of the Chicago American where Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Vaughn Shoemaker mentored him. When the Chicago Tribune shuttered the Chicago American in the early 1970s, Wayne became one of the Tribune’s editorial cartoonists.

In 2005, Wayne retired from the Tampa Tribune and moved back to the western suburbs. He and his wife Helen now live at Windsor Park, a Covenant Retirement Community in Carol Stream, and are parents of four sons, with 15 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

The Townhall website has a bit of an archive of Wayne’s political cartoons.


He had a few comic strips and panels.

Allan Holtz highlighted two in his Obscurity posts:


and Ralph


Wayne’s other comic, credited to “Hal Trim” and signed “Trim,”  was not obscure.
Trim’s Arena, a sports panel, ran from 1973 to 1983 and seems to have had a decent circulation.



Updated with the family obituary from the Tampa Bay Times of November 26, 2018.

Career highlights from the obituary (now linked in the opening sentence of this post):

He was the Art Director for Chicago American from 1957-67. After his mentor, Vaughn Shoemaker, retired, Wayne became the Chief Cartoonist for the Chicago American. When the Chicago American went out of business in 1972, Wayne was employed as the Editorial Cartoonist with the Chicago Tribune from 1972 to 1984. He was the Editorial Cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune from 1984 to 2004, and his cartoons continued to be syndicated worldwide until his retirement in 2010. It was said of Wayne, “For four decades, Stayskal’s distinctive, loose style and razor-sharp wit have thrilled his admirers, enraged his political targets, and explored the frontiers of political satire. In short, Stayskal embodies those qualities that make a great newspaper cartoonist: He draws both blood and laughs.”


A few days ago cartoonists Daryl Cagle and Paul Berge remembered Wayne.

Daryl memorialized the man:

I’m grateful for the time and conversations I had with Wayne in our early years. I appreciate Wayne’s support. His work stands the test of time and remains brilliant. Wayne was a gentleman and a friend and a great talent. I miss him.


While Paul recalled the cartoons he read as a young man:

When I was a kid, I used to have a collection of Stayskal’s cartoons pinned to the bulletin board in my bedroom. That was no way to preserve newspaper clippings for posterity, and they haven’t been; I can still see in my mind’s eye, however, his seemingly casual caricatures … He had a rough drawing style that suggested spontaneity, even hastiness, and brought to mind the scratchings of Ronald Searle or Gerald Scarfe.



Epilogue: Wayne Stayskal

From the Tampa Bay Times comes reminisces from family
and friends during his Tampa Tribune  cartooning days.

“He had sharp edges on his cartoons but not a sharp edge on his personality at all. I know there were some people in the newsroom who did not like his cartoons, some talked to him about it, but he took it graciously and would not argue with people. His religious beliefs were very strong. He would have Bible studies at times and places. He really tried hard to live his faith.”

He died with a smile, his son said.



Finally, from The Chicago Tribune, comes their obituary, which explains Wayne’s move from the Chicago American/Chicago Today to The Tribune more fully.

Stayskal joined the Chicago American newspaper in 1957 as an artist for its Sunday magazine.

While working at the American, which was renamed Chicago’s American in 1959, Stayskal drew illustrations for the magazine and occasional sketches to accompany feature stories. He found his real interest was in becoming an editorial cartoonist.

Stayskal continued with the American after it was renamed Chicago Today and converted to a tabloid in 1969.

In January 1973, Chicago Today discontinued its weekend editions, and Stayskal’s work began appearing on Sundays in the Tribune’s Perspective section. After the Tribune absorbed Chicago Today in September 1974, Stayskal’s editorial cartoons began appearing six days a week in the Tribune.


below: not the Apollo cartoon mentioned in The Tribune obit, but a very emotional one nonetheless.

5 thoughts on “Wayne Stayskal – RIP (updated)

  1. Saddened to hear this. As a kid, I used to keep a collection of Stayskal cartoons from the Chicago Today (I’m not quite old enough to remember it as the Chicago American) and the Chicago Tribune on the bulletin board in my bedroom. Whatever his political leanings, he had an undeniably sharp sense of humor.

  2. Dennis, thank you for posting this information about my father. He will be greatly missed.

  3. I remember meeting Mister Stayskal while attending art school in Chicago in the early 80’s. Really enjoyed our conversation about cartooning & art in general. I hold an autographed book & original signed original editorial cartoon. I will cherish my time spent with Mister Stayskal for years to come! His talents will be missed by so many. Thank you, Paul Ackley, cartoonist

  4. Sad to hear this! Wayne was one of my early cartooning mentors as I succeeded him at the Tampa Tribune after his retirement. He and I had a few amazing lunch conversations, and he and his wife invited Sheryl and I over to his house for dinner one evening before moving back to Illinois. A true gentleman in every sense of the word! He, and his extraordinary talent, will be missed.

  5. Stayskal had such a great, quick style that really stood out from the pack. No one else drew like him. Back when everyone tried to be a clone of MacNelly (including me, with laughable results), Stayskal, Auth and a handful of others stuck to their own muse. I always loved his work because of that, even though I didn’t always agree with his viewpoint. He was an inspiration.

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