Cartoonists in the News

Jeff Smith, David Fitzsimmons, Raymond Briggs, Lalo Alcaraz, Alex Portal, Jake Tapper

Jeff Smith has a Bone to pitch

Jeff Smith, he of the 1360 page, four pound graphic novel doorstop (or the easier to handle multi-volume series) has returned from a health scare.

On Aug. 13, Smith had a heart attack that triggered cardiac arrest. Doctors told him that the oxygen supply had been momentarily cut off from his brain and, technically speaking, he had died for a brief time. In the hospital, he felt he was getting better and stronger, but he was still unsure what it would be like facing a blank sheet of paper again.  

“I was prepared for: ‘Am I going to be able to do it?’ ” says Smith, the creator of the beloved graphic novel series Bone. “Everything feels weird, a little bit. First of all, I’d been trapped in a hospital bed for a long time, and they don’t let you get up and walk around. They’re very rude about that.” 

Columbus Monthly talks to alumnus Jeff Smith about returning to his career after the scary detour; and about his newest/oldest project that had been sidetracked but is now back on schedule.

(For whatever reason Jeff’s is having connection problems as this is being written.)


How David Fitzsimmons worked some inspirations into a new cartoon.

Earlier in the year this beautiful caricature of Trump by Barry Blitt appeared on the cover of the “New Yorker”. Taunted by its magnificence I wanted to go in a different direction with the same viewpoint…

In our modern era the Los Angeles Times cartoonist Paul Conrad used crucifixion as an allegory to describe Richard Nixon’s claim of persecution from crimes he committed…

Below is a cartoon from 1940 [“Health in Pictures”, 1930], eighty plus years ago depicting a blind man leading his disciples off a cliff…

In this instance I wanted to create an image that captured four related elements: Fascism, Christian Nationalism, the American Republican Party and Trump, the cult leader, into one iconographic image.

Fitz takes us on a journey from idea to completion of how he creates a cartoon.


Raymond Briggs: new exhibition reveals bloomin’ brilliant life and work

When he died in August 2022 at the age of 88, there was a great outpouring of affection for the British cartoonist and illustrator Raymond Briggs. He was loved by children and adults alike for his detailed, humorous and often poignant portrayals of British life, stinky green-hued creatures, a grumpy Father Christmas, and a magical snowman and the little boy who loved him till he melted.

Now, a new exhibition at the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft brings together items from Briggs’s estate, with over 100 original artworks from his 60-year career.

Rebecca Palmer for The Conversation reviews “a new exhibition featuring never-seen-before items and artworks”

He was among the first illustrators to disregard the trashy reputation that dogged comic strips, and use them to tell stories published for the children’s market. Father Christmas (1973) and The Snowman (1978), both popular hits – as well as other books in which Briggs used comic-strip storytelling – did a great deal to rehabilitate comics as an “approved” form for children’s literature.


Shame Lalo, Shame

Re Lalo Alcaraz’s La Cucaracha comic strip of May 2: This was both inappropriate and offensive and should not be featured in a “family-friendly” newspaper’s comics section. Alcaraz’s La Cucaracha should be canceled similar to Scott Adams’ comic strip “Dilbert” that your newspaper dropped. I find it incomprehensible that the May 2 entry was not edited before its publication.


It is time to give Lalo Alcaraz and La Cucaracha the boot, as he is now using his comic platform to voice his personal political opinions.

Lalo Alcaraz has upset a couple San Diego Union-Tribune readers.


Alex Portal vs. AI for National Cartoonists Day

As not only a reporter, but the resident cartoonist for The Post-Star, I find myself in a unique position. One thing I’ve noticed as a reporter is how important a sense of humor is. We sometimes have to cover the absolute worst parts of our society, and if you can’t find a way set that stuff aside and hit the mental “refresh” button once in a while, you’re doomed.

That’s where – for me anyway – cartoons come in. You could be reading about some horrible world tragedy or political upheaval one moment, then you literally turn the page and a cartoon could be making you laugh the next. That, to me, is the true power of the press…

Cartoonist Alex Portal at The Glens Falls Post-Star explains the creative process that AI can’t duplicate (above).

The article, in which Alex skips lightly through cartoonists of historic importance (Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Nast, Richard F. Outcault, Bill Mauldin) and darkly through the Charlie Hebdo tragedy is behind a paywall, the comic strip here is not.

Frank Mariani reproduces the full page at the South East Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society Facebook.


News Anchor turns into Courtroom Sketch Artist

Jake Tapper who collaborated with Scott Adams, backed the AAEC when the Pulitzers dropped the Editorial Cartooning category, and is an ACE award recipient, put his cartooning skills to work as a courtroom sketch artist.

CNN’s Jake Tapper sat in the courtroom of the Trump criminal hush money trial today and sketched what he saw as Stormy Daniels testified. He shares the drawings along with what he witnessed from his perspective.

CNN excerpts the three minute segment from Jake’s show yesterday.

Jake admits to his amateur cartoonist status and lauds the three professional courtroom sketch artists who, by the way, have been getting some screen time on various cable news shows.

feature image is Raymond Briggs’ desk

2 thoughts on “Cartoonists in the News

  1. The Facebook page of the South East Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society is for members only.

  2. I haven’t lived in San Diego for nearly four decades, but even back then, the Union-Tribune was an unreadable ultra-conservative rag. People who wanted rational news reporting subscribed to the LA Times. It’s not surprising that some U.T. readers would react that way, and it’s even less surprising that the U.T. editors would print those bone-headed opinions.

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