Dwane Powell, the long-time editorial cartoonist for the News & Observer, and a stalwart of North Carolina political commentary, announced he was retiring Nov. 4.
Dwane Powell is retiring today as editorial cartoonist for The News & Observer after spending 35 years lampooning the high and mighty of Tar Heel politics, from dressing former Republican U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms in a cave man outfit to putting a weathervane in former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt's pompadour.
Powell, who turns 65 this week, drew more than 8,000 editorial cartoons that pointed out the foibles, the contradictions and affectations of the state's elected leaders.
Powell worked briefly for newspapers in Arkansas, San Antonio and Cincinnati before coming to Raleigh in 1975.
"The N&O was what I really considered a dream job for a cartoonist," Powell said. "It was a paper that had a strong journalistic ethical standard. It was in a capital city. And they offered me the freedom to do what I wanted to do."
Among Powell's favorite subjects were Helms, the rock-ribbed conservative; Jimmy Green, the often investigated Democratic lieutenant governor; or "any politician doing something stupid."
In 2008, Powell had a showdown with his paper when they planned to cut his position to part-time. Rather than take the pay-cut and loss of benefits, Powell said he'd quit first. After strong support from readers, the paper backed down and came to a compromise with the cartoonist.