Political cartoons for teh LA Times for February 2011.

And we’re back.

I know you guys are dying for some Charlie Sheen cartoons. I know I’m NOT. At first I was curious what he was going to do after Two and a Half Men was cancelled, but then he spun way out of control, and aren’t druggies boring!? The cartoons I’ve seen on him are pretty lame so far – many compare him with Gaddafi, which is just stupid. I’ll cover both of them later in the week.

Best cartoons of the week for the LA Times

I talk about why I’m editing these cartoons at the end of the post.

This cartoon by Bob Englehart from cagle.com is an effective simplification of the brouhaha in Wisconsin and other states over collective bargaining power – or, unions, if I may speak directly. (And why doesn’t the media?)

I don’t begrudge unions – I’ve been in IATSE, in the movie studios, and the National Writers Union, which is affiliated w/ the UAW (auto workers!) – and in the studios, especially, unions are really necessary for safety and health issues.

But with state unions, with benefits paid by taxpayers? The rules are different. (The LA Times current “editors”, btw, would never choose this cartoon – it’s too simple. They prefer obscure cartoons, fancying their readers to be like NY Times readers. But since they’re not (after all, I am one of them!) here is a cartoon they SHOULD be using.)

I haven’t paid much attention to Dick Locher’s cartoons, even though he was on Gocomics with me for 2 years, until I was fired. But I like political cartoons that take place out of the office. Why not the kitchen? And I admire how he managed to fit all that teeny tiny lettering on the milk carton (or milk cartoon!) and still have it be legible.

From this cartoon, it’s not clear where Dick actually stands on the issue of pensions and jobs. Is he saying most companies don’t have p

Cartoons on murder, a shark, and an octopus.

More popular political cartoons for your enjoyment.

Caption: Jury convicts Ingmar Guandique, illegal immigrant and MS-13 gang member, of murdering Chandra Levy.

Mike Lester has a super-casual style, quite the opposite of old time editorial cartoons! This take on the Chandra Levy trial is a pretty straightforward idea, but I included it because I agreed with it. :) For one thing, I love trials and murders, and the Opinion pages rarely cover them. More importantly, this cartoon is about the media, which totally ignores important details in stories they cover, if they think it might “taint” the piece.

I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles, I was confused when the LA Times never reported the complete story about criminals or crimes. Was it an illegal alien or gang who did the deed? Wasn’t that, alone, enough to arrest someone? Never! Even when they were indicted, important info about the bad people was kept out of the papers. Mike points out here that Ingmar Guandique, the killer was indeed here illegally (and was already guilty of other crimes).

Chandra lost her life, Gary Condit lost his career. Yet the media, by and large, lets criminals keep their secrets and whitewashes the facts.

Caption of Obama and Nancy Pelosi looking at Obamacare: We should have spent more time on the birth announcement.

I laughed out loud at this cartoon by Eric Allie on Obamacare! Something about the octopus in the baby carriage…He includes recognizable sketches of Obama and Pelosi staring at their little darling, too! There’s an Uncle Sam running in the corner, a rather tired old symbol, but his bug eyes and running legs are amusing. (Secret PS: I admire Eric for not drawing all 8 legs on the octopus (sorry, no link now, explained below), as I did. He’s carefree!)

Caption: The US and South Korea circle around the shark of North Korea with a big stick.

Let’s get serious, now, less fluff and more danger. And another Uncle Sam, but he carries a big stick, like certain states.

I don’t know if South Korea is really bff with the US, but certainly North Korea is on its own. South Korea wants a strong Navy, and that makes North Korea skittish. Very clever use of Kim Jong Il’s strange pouffy hair as a shark fin! Paresh titles this cartoon Naval Exercise, but I would call it every other country’s idea of America as surfer dudes on water skis.

Most political cartoonists, especially overseas ones, don’t use straight dialogue, and so they’re sometimes forced to add labels. The labels in this cartoon are unobtrusive and clear, and they don’t detract from the amusing and striking drawing, so good enough. I like the monarch floating in the water, too. Will a big stick work to keep him underwater?

Thanks to

ESL doesn’t work. So stop it.

Last week someone emailed me complaining that I “explained” my cartoons. Let’s call him “Chris.”

Well, my main issue is that not only do I often not understand them, it’s that you often admit in the commentary below your cartoons that you have grave doubts that your audience will understand them. I think there was one in which you said you didn’t even get it yourself. Other times, you go to great lengths to explain the cartoon and why you think it’s funny. Chris

Another man wrote me to complain about the cartoon above. (We’ll call him Anthony, since his name is Anthony.)

I saw this cartoon and decided immediately that you are out of touch with reality.  For you information, even school districts in Kentucky, (not known as a bastion of education reform) require all students in high school to take Spanish as a second language. It’s obvious from your cartoon your are a RACIST AND BIGOT!

Spanish is spoken by thirty four million Americans in the U.S. and that number is growing. Only right wing, Bible thumping school districts, like those in Texas, would not teach the fastest growing second language in the U.S.!

A little education for you, since it’s apparent you failed your ESL!

Spanish was the language spoken by the first permanent European settlers in North America. It was brought to the territory of what is the contemporary U.S. in 1513 by Ponce de León. In 1565, the Spaniards, by way of Juan Ponce de Leon, founded St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest, continuously occupied European settlement in the continental U.S. …

Your Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh mentality is apparent!

Chris, meet Anthony.

Actually, I don’t normally explain my cartoons – I write about why I did them, and talk about the news. But in this case, I guess I do have to explain it, since you say you often don’t get them, Chris, and for sure Anthony didn’t get a word of this. And Anthony, I don̵

June political cartoons on Obama, Helen Thomas, soccer and oil spill.

It’s a beautiful new week for cartoons! This roundup for the LA Times is for cartoons published the second week of June, 2010.

Since I’m editor here, I shan’t go into my personal  stuff – like my car accident, dealing with 2 insurance companies, aftereffects of the accident, a new problem in the car, which wouldn’t start, and now is in the shop for a possible VERY expensive bill, which may or may not be connected to the accident, my dentist as a result of the accident, and the fact that malware infected my computer for 4 days, and completely disabled my internet connection as well as my Task Manager, which I finally eradicated through an antivirus program with the regrettable name of SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition. But at least it worked. Most of the others wouldn’t.

All is calm today, anyway, so I hurried to the new cartoons to see what had happened this week while I was missing! (I explain how and why I do this roundup over here.)

This cartoon by Hagen from gocomics.com,  made me laugh out loud! Mr. Hagen, from Norway,  might not be interested in partisanship, but this is EXACTLY how I view Democrats 99% of the time! Tossing off a loud reproof in the general direction of a problem and not doing a thing about it.  The chasm separating the Dems from taking action is astounding.

I love Obama’s little squat here as he tries to speak a little louder, to get his point across. The man on the other side is holding a nuclear weapon. Who is that guy? Is it just Iran? I don’t know, and so I declare right this moment that I won’t do a cartoon on nuclear bombs until I figure out who this important person is. 

Ted Rall and I don’t have a relationship, not really, but I would say we have a strained respect. Ted comes from the world of the Alties – alternative cartoons – and I don’t know if he’s ever recovered emotionally from that. I only read a couple of alternative comics, and now that they’re not in the LA Weekly, I never see them. I didn’t read Ted. But now that I do political cartoons,  of course I see him in Gocomics.com, and, in fact, he’s the most popular cartoonist in the editorial section. (Uclick only shows comics from 10 men there, so of course  LA Times Editorial Cartoons

Political cartoons for the LA Times for May 10, 2010.

I’m a little late for my roundup of last week’s best cartoons. Okay, way late.

I think I’m on the other side, though. And I couldn’t let the whole week go by without pointing out the best cartoons of the week…for the Los Angeles Times crowd, that is! (Speaking about editors and awards, I used to write bitter posts here about Time Magazine’s Cartoons of the Week. I don’t bother anymore. Turns out Time chooses cartoons from only 3 syndicates – BORING – and so their choices are extremely limited, and are only what they pay for. Like every newspaper in town. So their famous award…not so meaningful now.)

Aside from the BP oil spill – which according to my own stats, ranks right up there with Tiger Woods in the public’s interest and concern – not that many big stories last week. The headline on USA Today for Friday’s big news was about the weather: Gloom predicted in several states. That says it all.

As it happens, all my picks this week come from Cagle Cartoons, which is the most local syndicate to Los Angeles, anyway.

What a great looking cartoon! Cameron Cardow is not only pretty, but has combined two issues in one: both the oil spill and the Goldman Sachs dustup (piggy activity).  Even though we are home to movie stars (and of course, oil wells, if you remember Beverly Hillbillies) all of us here know that even the stars love a good bargain! Why do you think  swag bags proliferate at every single event? And so, the LA Times gets a double header with this cartoon.

Great colors, limited gradient or fade tool (my least favorite effect in Photoshop) and super concept. Funny, there are an awful lot of Goldman Sachs rear ends in this cartoon…  

(I love this cartoon, but there are so many good oil slick cartoons out right now that I think I’ll also make it the theme for next week.)

I just love a little mythology thrown into the mix! Kind of like Lost does, but Lost is rather sucky this season, so let’s concentrate on Icarus. I knew Icarus was a Greek hero who made his own wings and flew too close to the sun and died, very sad. But Wiki also adds that he could have been the person who invented sails on boats, which is somewhat like flying, I guess, since roller coasters hadn’t been invented yet, and then he still died by falling out of the boat and drowning. (like Fate, in Lost…)

Editorial cartoons for the Los Angeles Times Opinion section.

Doesn’t the LA Times have their own cartoons? Not during the week, no. The LA Times is one of the top 3 national papers, but they use hardly any editorial cartoons since they laid off Michael Ramirez. They have less cartoons than any of the top 20 papers in the country.

They do have 3 cartoons on Sunday, however, here and in the paper (tiny). But they’re edited by Joel Pett, a cartoonist in Lexington, KY. Lexington, really?? As far as I know, Joel has never lived here, and is Lexington in any way similar to Los Angeles? Well, they both begin with L, I guess. Anyway, Joel only chooses cartoonists in his particular cartoon group, which leaves out 15 or 20 of the top editorial cartoonists in the country.

I’m the only New Yorker cartoonist who also does editorial cartoons, so I have a good background in both. As an award-winning cartoonist and editor, and since I’ve been a cartoonist for the LA Times for 6 years, and, maybe, most importantly, actually live IN Los Angeles, I decided it’s time I stepped up to do the job myself. :)  Now, let’s pick today’s winners!

Tony Auth on coastal oil drilling

Tony Auth is a great cartoonist. I picked this one for several reasons: he was first out of the gate on this issue,  on the new coastal oil drilling Obama just approved. (boo, hiss, even though I don’t have all the environmental facts yet. Just because I don’t trust Obama.) It seems to be pretty common that editorial cartoonists will pick a name or word and then decorate it like an insane calligrapher. But he did a good job here, and the oil spatters are truly dramatic, spilling over the name itself.

People from other states (like Kentucky) might not realize that in LA oil rigs are common. Not out to sea, but they have baby ones like 12 feet tall in people’s backyards! They call them grasshoppers or some insect, and they are SO CUTE bobbing up and down. I hate driving to the airport, but I take the long way just to watch them.  I love industrial things. (more cartoons below.)