Antiwar Cartoonists at DC Area Fest this Weekend

Some of the nation’s best antiwar cartoonists will be appearing this weekend at the Small Press Expo – America’s premier cartooning and comic arts festival -  in Bethesda, Maryland this Friday and Saturday.  

Many of the cartoonists appeared at a book event last night for  Attitude 3 – a collection of the work of “the New Subversive Online Cartoonists.”  The book was edited and features questions and commentary throughout by Ted Rall. Torture is a frequent target of their pens. This is refreshing, considering how much of the mainstream media have thumbtwisted themselves away from the subject.

August Pollack showed a great cartoon he penned with a country singer talking about his new song denouncing those “Saddam-fellating liberals.”

One of the cartoonists on the panel, Stephanie McMillan, has a new book – Minimum Security -  with her own columns.  She has the greatest author photo ever – showing her bent over a police car surrounded by cops with her hands handcuffed behind her back.

In the Q&A, I chucked in a question about the cartoonists’ perception of whether editors had been more cowardly or fearful of controversy since 9/11.

Rall replied, “Editors have become incredible cowards – and they never had a lot of balls to begin with.”  Rall was one of the cartoonists most often reprinted in the New York Times in 1997 and 1999.  But they have ceased using his work.

Rall related how he was almost hired in the 1990s as a cartoonist for a newspaper in Asbury, New Jersey.  He sensed the interview had gone very well – and then came one last question.  The editor pointed out the window to the large parking lot and asked: “Am I ever going to look at that window and see someone protesting some cartoon that you drew?”
 So much for that job.

Mikhaela Reid, a red-haired former Teamster/Harvard grad, commented,”The cartoons that stay in the newspapers are those that generate the least angry mail… Editors respond to a few cranky letters as if the business is going under.”

Cartoonists are doing some of the finest political commentary in the nation these days.  It is unfortunate that so few respectable columnists have as much gumption.

Other details on the cartoonists’ presentation last night are on my blog – where comments/ condemnations are welcome.