Mike Thompson Takes USA Today’s Buyout Offer

Editorial cartoonist Mike Thompson has taken (what I interpret as)
a buyout offer from Detroit Free Press/USA Today/Gannett.

Mike announcing on his Facebook page:

After 35 years as a staff editorial cartoonist, I’m getting out on the top floor. USA TODAY has eliminated my editorial cartooning position and giving me a very nice parting gift, so for the immediate future I’ll be focusing on the comic strip, Grand Avenue, that I’ve been producing for years. I’ve spent the last two weeks at USA TODAY finishing up projects and entering contests in anticipation of a month-long break.

Mike will return to editorial cartooning on a freelance basis:

After I come down off my deadline-driven caffeine high, I’ll be back ready to work for USA TODAY on a freelance basis and taking on other new ventures.

Mike expands on his departure from staff:

This is not disagreeable to me. I’ve been doing two jobs for a decade-and-a-half and will now be doing one. When you’re approaching 60, that’s a life-saver. And I will get to create work, on a freelance basis, for a great news organization. My editors have been fantastic and I look forward to continuing to work with them. I do a comic strip which will give me a good income base. None of this would be possible if I weren’t married to someone with who earns more and has better insurance. (thanks, Hun!) The timing of all this works well with where we are in life.


If my reckoning is correct this leaves Andy Marlette
as the only staff cartoonist on a Gannett newspaper.


Mike will continue to have a daily deadline for his Grand Avenue comic strip.

From Tucson.com of 8 years ago:

When Mike Thompson isn’t taking on current events as a full-time political cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press, he is illustrating the comic strip “Grand Avenue.”

The strip, which is syndicated to about 100 newspapers, chronicles the lives of Kate Macfarlane and her two grandchildren, as the active and untraditional grandmother raises mischievous twins Gabby and Michael.

Thompson, 49, started work on the strip in 2005, joining Steve Breen, a two-time, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist, who created the comic in the late 1990s. Thompson, a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist himself, now illustrates and writes most of “Grand Avenue.”

In April 2016 Mike took on the Grand Avenus strip and began solo signing it.

Political cartoons and comics: “Steve started, and I’ve continued, the tradition of keeping it nonpolitical. By the time I’m done drawing about politics, I’m tired of the tough topics, and there are so many other things in the world to draw about, interesting topics on the relations between humans and things that aren’t political in nature, but are funny and quirky and make for great cartoon fodder.”