Cartoonist and restaurateur Michael Dougan has passed away.
Michael Wayne Dougan
July 18, 1958 – January 13, 2023
Michael contributed to alternative newspapers and comic books, as well as national magazines.
Michael Dougan, a noted Seattle illustrator and cartoonist, died Jan. 13 in Tono, Japan, at 64. The cause was brain cancer, according to his best friend Hubbard Benedict.
Starting in the late ‘70s and over the next several decades, Dougan was a prolific artist whose works appeared in many Seattle publications from the Seattle Sun to The Seattle Times. He also produced two acclaimed graphic novels, “East Texas: Tales from Behind the Pine Curtain” and “I Can’t Tell You Anything: And Other Stories.” Of “East Texas,” Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons” and one of Dougan’s many friends, wrote in a blurb for the book: “Insightful, personal comic strips are rare. Cartoons that make you laugh are even rarer. Dougan does both at the same time.”
I’ve just heard of the recent, untimely passing of cartoonist Michael Dougan (1958-2023). Well, perhaps former cartoonist would be more accurate, but if so — he said his piece, made his mark, and moved on — and that’s cool. But can cartooning truly ever be left behind?
Dougan made his début in comics on the back cover of my very favourite issue of Weirdo, no. 17 (Summer 1986, Last Gasp)
He moved to Seattle at 18, and by the 1980s and ’90s began contributing cartoons and illustrations to local and national publications, including the LA Weekly, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Time magazine, as well as emerging web news sites. After the publication of his two books, East Texas: Tales from Behind the Pine Curtain, and I Can’t Tell You Anything. he experimented in television animation, including a short film for MTV’s Liquid Television, and a series of character design and story editor assignments for pilot projects, including an adaptation of a British series by Aardman Animations Creature Comforts USA, which appeared on CBS in 2007.
Upon returning to Seattle from Los Angeles, he continued editorial illustration and for print and web news sites, and eventually began designing and editing websites. His hobby interests led him to explore alternative identities as a filmmaker, BBQ pitmaster, and amateur blues guitarist. He currently lives in Yokohama, and Tono, Japan, with his wife Chizuko.
Below: “A couple of illustrated essays by Michael Dougan from Time Magazine” via Rodrigo Baeza
Michael answers the Quora question, “how long do syndicated cartoonists continue to produce daily cartoons?”
Some of us continue to celebrate the glory days. There was a time, not long ago, when American daily newspaper strips, and the Sunday Comics page were single most influential form of mainstream popular entertainment. Cartoonists, illustrators, magazines artists were celebrated, and admired.
In the current media climate, there’s increased competition for smaller and smaller readership, and less newsprint being produced. Daily newspapers are in decline, daily comic strips are much less relevant in popular culture than they were in their glory days.
February 14, 2023 edit: