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Inx Battle Lines Exhibition in Historic New Castle

In conjunction with the publication of Inx Battle Lines: Four Decades of Political illustration from the Inx Group that I describe below, I'm curating an exhibition at The Window on Delware Street in Historic New Castle, DE. Please join us if you can.

Inx Battle Lines: Four Decades of Political Illustration

Earlier this year we published something of a magnum opus for the Inx Group with the above title. It included a lot of my work spanning the decades since 1984. I'm extremely proud of this collection and encourage fans of Op-ed illustration to purchase it on Amazon or elsewhere online.

Here's some of the descriptive copy from Now What:

In 2012 we published INX Battle Lines in conjunction with a traveling exhibition of the best work from the first 30+ years of the premier syndicated editorial art service, Inx. Now we have revised and expanded that collection to mark the group's 40th Anniversary by adding the last ten-plus years of powerful graphic commentary.

Inx Battle Lines etches a searing picture history of the last four decades in over 425 images. These are the very best drawings from the files of the Inx group –– images that have been syndicated to journals of opinion in the U.S. and abroad since 1980.

The 58 renowned artists represented here are equal-opportunity offenders, and their work crosses party lines –– Red States run red and Blue States sing the blues in works that are by turns hilarious, harrowing, and haunting.

If you’re a fan of great illustration, political cartoons, or hair-trigger satire, you will be knocked out by this collection.

And a few of my contributions:

Political cartoon about the Supreme Court supporting the death penalty in 1989 showing conservative Justices Antonin Scalia, Byron White, William Rehnquist, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor physically constructing a scaffold for hanging as liberal Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall look on from below.

Political cartoon of a wounded U.S. soldier from Iraq wearing a bandage over his head and missing his left lower leg in a Veterans Administration hospital bed having his pulse taken by a one-armed doctor in a lab coat representing the incomplete care returning soldiers receive from the government.

Political cartoon of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2009 transformed into a floating dinosaur like a T-Rex with it's head above the surface as five workmen, two in hazmat suits, try to keep the beast at bay with sharp poles.

Political cartoon of a grieving Mexican mother with the outline of the torso and arms of her missing child creating a negative space through the black robe covering her body representing the 43 male students abducted and murdered in Iguala  in 2014.

Political cartoon of a grieving Mexican mother with the outline of the torso and arms of her missing child creating a negative space through the black robe covering her body representing the 43 male students abducted and murdered in Iguala  in 2014.

In Memoriam 2022

Here's a selection of caricatures from my files of a few of the notable folks who passed on last year. These aren't post-mortem tributes, but rather images created in the subjects' heydeys that tend to focus on clay feet. I always felt that taking the time to do a drawing of someone –– love 'em or hate 'em –– is a grudging acknowledgment of a sort.

Pope Benedict is seen being sworn in for the ultimate temp position. Obama's fourth Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, is dutifully donning his Pentagonal cap. Queen Elizabeth is diplomatically signalling to then-President Trump that 'we are not amused.'

And Gorby gingerly ascends the post-Soviet pedestal after his policies of perestroika and glasnost would forever lay to rest Russia's dreams of Empire. Da?

These are arranged alphabetically, but all the heavyweights rose to the top anyhow. Ray Liotta was always watchable, Olivia Newton-John always ignorable, Bob Saget rarely amusing.

Ken Starr was a political threat to Bill Clinton as Independent Counsel in the Whitewater investigation which metastasized into the Monica Lewinsky probe that led to the President's impeachment. That process a quarter-century-ago helped usher in the current hyper-partisan era in Washington of sordid accusations, scandal-mongering and tit-for-tat subpoenas. This thumbs-down depiction illustrated a critical editorial that compared the priggish, ethically-questionable over-reaching of Starr to the relative moral and judicial rectitude of Leon Jaworski as Special Prosecutor in the Watergate affair.

Then there's Ivana Trump in an appropriately nasty piece which fills me with grief. I realize I drew this in 1988 and sorely lament the many years lost trashing Trumps.

Buy Talk to the Hair

In Memoriam 2021

It was hard to keep mortality too far from your thoughts in 2021. For all the pitiable anonymous deaths this miserable year brought us there seemed to be a surfeit of big-name passings as well. I culled through my digital files and found several applicable illustrations. This is not a selection of those I'd like to celebrate –– these are drawings I did over time for a variety of newsworthy reasons. I do greatly admire several of these men (sadly no Joan Didion, bel hooks, Cloris Leachman, etc. in the archives) and sort of detest a couple. Hope you can tell the difference.

The Bob Dole as a gnarled tree stump was from 1988 when his age (65, young today in the upper reaches of the Federal government with the likes of Biden, Pelosi, Sanders, Warren, etc.) was a bit of an issue when he ran and lost in the Republican presidential primary. Larry Flynt is from a panel of a comic strip I created for a class I taught on Creating Political Action Comics which highlighted the relative lowlife's contribution to Freedom of Expression. I presume we've all heard enough about the clown that follows.

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell is shown with his version of the perennial failed Middle East Peace Plan in 2002. Then House Majority Leader Harry Reid is seen trying to right the Affordable Care Act cart in 2009, a year before it eventually got through. The sketch of Stephen Sondheim was for a piece in the Wall Street Journal that was killed on the renaming of Broadway's Henry Miller's Theatre to the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in 2009.

The last two represent very different orders of accomplishment, but both extraordinary in their own way. The departure of the great champion against apartheid leaves us with a sense of triumph, the brilliant actor, just regret.

Silver Linings Plague Book

Now What Media has just published its first ebook by L.K. Peterson and myself, a guide to being upbeat about Lockdown and fearless about Reopening. It's over 100 pages of fully-illustrated and very funny advice, reviews and comics in full color, perfect for your desktop, laptop, tablet or iPhone. It's available on Apple Books –– I'd suggest downloading the App first. Order Here

For more about the book, click here.

2020 Vision

One of the few Silver Linings of this Plague has been the relative lack of coverage of the Presidential race. The process is maddeningly protracted and typically filled with endless clips of two candidates repeating the same lame lines in a deadening loop. And debates with all the intellectual heft of a steelcage match.

I know they provide economic stimulus –– would button makers, bunting manufacturers, or printers even exist without political contests? And I guess they're a boon to us lazy political cartoonists who get to trot out the shabby used scenery from previous productions. The truth is the decision could and should be made in a fortnight. Including ones as scarily consequential as the one coming up this November 3rd.

So vote early and often and enjoy these campaign poseurs.
Vice President Joe Biden like a worker in the 1930s in the style of a WPA painting.Vice President Joe Bideon with his foot in his mouth.Joe Biden placcing his finger into the enormous barrel of a gun.Candidate Joe Biden in a face mask blindly leading four Democratic donkeys with face masks over their eyes.President Trump's head as a giant stone being tipped over to reveal White Supremacy symbols like worms in dirt below.President Trump as small petulant child in suit with shorts having a fit surrounded by adult advisors.Donald Trump as the Man of Steel trying unsuccessfully to lift a girder, satirizing his tariff policy.In a spoof of The Witcher entitled The Twitterer, Trump is dressed like the main character wielding a sword with a smart phone at its end. The message emananting from it reads 'Witch Hunt!'

In Memoriam 2019

As the year and the decade both come to an end I'm looking back through my files for portraits of some of the famous and infamous who passed on in 2019. I turned up several high-profile figures in and around the world of politics that have legacies ranging from the mixed to the murderous.

The Supreme Court's former left-leaning Justice John Paul Stevens is the most admirable of the bunch, but I chose an editorial illustation in which he's seen grappling with his ideological opposite, the lightly-lamented Antonin Scalia. I was often entertained by shock-jock Don Imus in his heyday, but he hung on too long and what had been edgy un-PC satire soured into ugly prejudice. And how can any caricaturist be too mad at crackpot H. Ross Perot who was a walking, talking cartoon? Biographer Edmund Morris helped mythologize Ronald Reagan's life and presidency which is unfortunate, and, possibly, unforgiveable.

The foreign trio peaks with France's conservative Chirac whose dependably haughty demeanor masked less-than-formidable political skills that only seemed palatable when compared to the right-wing lunacy of Jean-Marie Le Pen who he narrowly beat when running for President in 2002. At least he didn't face chages while in the Élysée Palace –– his two-year suspended prison sentence for corruption related to his earlier stint as Paris mayor.

Mohamed Morsi of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood rose to the Presidency of Egypt by democratic means and, in the process, really rankled the generals who actually rule. They outrankled him and tossed him in prison after a year in office. His health declined and he expired. Sad, but vaguely inspirational in terms of elected lawbreakers.

And then there's Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi of the uniquely brutal ISIS regime who, we are told by a very unreliable source, went to his nasty death at the hands of U.S. troops "whimpering, screaming and crying." Kind of like the twenty-teens.

Here's to a better decade to come.

Critic's Corner Podcast

I've been illustrating the short, but sour film reviews of E. Basil St. Blaise since 2008 in Now What Media's The Critic's Corner (along with Randy Jones up until 2016.) Now the curmudgeonly critic has begun podcasting his poison capsule reviews in the imaginatively entitled The Critic's Corner Podcast.

St. Blaise describes himself as 'your Cassandra of film criticism, providing early warnings for the Cinematic calamities to come.' His nasty notices can be dark, but he certainly makes me laugh. Check out the podcast and buy the two collections of his reviews with the widgets in the column to the right.

And here are a few of my takes on recent movies.
Renee Zellweger in a spoof of the film Judy with the Tin Man with his fingers in his ears

Cate Blanchett in a spoof of Where'd You Go, Bernadette boring a penguin about to commit seppuku

Chris Hewsworth & Tessa Thompson & Pawny neuralyzing themselves in a spoof of Men In Black International
Will Smith as the Genie in a spoof of Aladdin emerging from the lava lamp of the animated Genie from the original

Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton & Eva Green huddle under an unbrella as the little elphant takes flight in a spoof of Dumbo

Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell appear as Batman and the Joker in a spoof of Vice

Create Political Comics

My course Battle Lines Drawn: Creating Political Comics runs on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 beginning September 18 at the School of Visual Arts Continuing Education. The class will feature short lectures on political cartoons and Freedom of Expression, before guiding students through the process of creating their own comics. Here's SVA's listing.
Caricature of Boss Tweed from a promotion for the SVA Continuing Ed course Battle Lines Drawn: Creating Political Action Comics

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