Update: Sack, MacKinnon, S.Adams, Whiting, Green

A Sack Full of Wit

© Journal Gazette/Steve Sack

When Steve Sack, the editorial cartoonist for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, announced his retirement last week, his fans in the Twin Cities thanked him for four decades of great work.

But readers of The Journal Gazette’s editorial pages have known him even longer.

In fact, Steve got his professional start in Fort Wayne in 1978.

Before Steve Sack went 42 years with The Star Tribune he went three years with the
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette; Tim Harmon, for that paper, remembers the good old days. 

“I loved my time in Fort Wayne,” Sack recalled a few days ago. “I had worked for my college newspaper, but this was the first time I had to produce a cartoon every day. The editors were supportive and the professional standards were high. Most of us on the staff were young and got along well.”


It was MacKinnon’s seventh NNA

© SaltWire/Bruce MacKinnon

Chronicle Herald photographer Tim Krochak and editorial cartoonist Bruce MacKinnon were named winners of National Newspaper Awards on Friday night in Toronto.

MacKinnon won for a collection of his work, including pieces on the federal election results, climate change, the discovery of mass graves at residential schools, the importance of masks for protection during the pandemic, and former president Donald Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington.

The (Halifax) Chronicle Herald celebrates their wins, including Bruce MacKinnon. 


Black Dilbert Character Is Anti-trans Because, Of Course

© Scott Adams

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, had previously explained on his daily broadcast and on Twitter that he had not included a black character in the comic strip before because every character must have a personality flaw, and he feared being accused of racism.

After floating the idea of asking left-wing black writer Ta-Nehisi Coates — who is also involved in the comic book industry — to help develop a black character, Adams tried crowdsourcing ideas for a black character by asking black artists for help.

Ultimately, Adams decided to introduce a character whose one “flaw” was that he identifies as white — and that it would be unclear, both to readers and to fellow characters, whether he was serious, or whether he was simply mocking management.

Brietbart, a conservative/MAGA website, covers the recent Dilbert controversy.

Adams hinted Friday that he would, in fact, address transgender issued more directly in an upcoming comic strip, in which a familiar character, Wally the engineer, would claim falsely to be a “birthing person” to obtain greater benefits in the workplace and avoid having to do his job.


Schuyler County Historical Society Honors Jim Whiting

© respective copyright holder

Jim Whiting, born in Canton, Pa., moved to Watkins Glen when he was a year old…

He sold his cartoons to national publications and later did freelance work for advertisers and magazines—including The Saturday Evening Post and LOOK magazine—while building his family in Watkins Glen. He then started an almost 30-year career in radio, followed by a move to California with his wife. There he did illustrations for books, manuals, newsletters, websites, and advertisements, his obituary said.

My Twin Tiers remembers local cartoonist Jim Whiting on National Cartoonists Day.
(This is an update from long ago and far away.)

Justin Green Interview from The Early Eighties 

© Justin Green

It seems like people who were really into undergrounds and who have them all, those people tend to have a few favorites, and Binky, I think, happens to be one of them.

Well, that’s good to hear. But I think a lot of people felt that undergrounds were just too raunchy.

A lot of them were.

In fact, I wish I could, somehow, undo some of the work I’ve done. It was just done in this spirit of constant productivity., Very little of it was worked over, consciously, to the point where it was given enough time to develop as a story. More often than not, I was meeting a deadline on the last day possible, the last hour possible. Once I went to the printer with Spain [Rodriguez] at 7 o’clock in the morning.

Were there actually deadlines for these comix?

Oh yeah, absolutely. In fact, there had to be, because there was a discount for three or four books printed at once, so you’d really gum up the works if you delayed your piece. It was really like having the fire on to do that. Looking back at my work, a lot of it was sensationalistic, adolescent, perverse …

The Comics Journal re-presents a Justin Green interview from 40 years ago. 


Talking to That Aforementioned Sack of Wit

© Star Tribune/Steve Sack

Though Sack, 68, had surgery and says his hand is “kind of” improving, he decided to retire. Because drawing remains problematic, he signed off via a short written piece in the Sunday Strib on April 24. 

“I just have difficulty with precisely making my hand do what I want it to do,” Sack said in a telephone interview. “For my drawing, I need those fine motor movements, those little delicate lines I want to make. 

“It’s like writing. There are a lot of different movements in everything you do. You’re moving the pencil up and down and sideways. Until then, I had complete mastery of that, so I noticed it right away. I accommodated it for a while, but then it started feeling more and more pronounced. So I saw a neurologist and looked into it.”

MinnPost contacts Steve Sack about his retirement. 

And don’t get Sack started on editors who scrap cartoons altogether. “We’ve always provoked readers, and there’s always someone who’s not going to like it, some more intensely than others,” he said. “Editors used to get that. That was part of the deal. But lately, it seems like some editors are overly cautious with that. One guy said, if he could find a cartoonist who could please everyone, he’d run him. Well, good luck with that. You might as well run Marmaduke on the editorial page.”