The AAEC is profoundly saddened to hear of the death of Roy Peterson, an extraordinary editorial cartoonist and longtime friend to many in our organization. We extend our condolences to Roy's family and friends and will be posting a memorial remembrance shortly.
The AAEC firmly stands behind Jack Ohman and his powerful cartoon on the tragedy in West, Texas. The Ohman cartoon represents the finest traditions of both American political cartooning and our freedom of the press. On the other hand the Texas governor's response demanding a retraction and an apology, represents the worst impulses of those who have no respect for our most basic and fundamental right to
free speech. Governor Perry attacking the cartoonist is the kind of reaction we'd
expect from a leader in North Korea, not one from Texas.
The attempt to intimidate a journalist for being critical of the government,
particularly the call on the part of the Texas Lt. Governor to have him lose his
job, is what should be condemned. This sort of intimidation of journalists is, at
its root, just plain un-American.
Mark your calendars! The 2013 AAEC Convention will be June 27-29 in Salt Lake City.
The schedule is being hammered out, but will feature "wet" receptions (yes, you can
get a drink in Utah), prominent personalities, panels, shows, and a "Cartoons &
Cocktails" gala open to the paying public.
Attendees may want to fit the convention
into a more extended vacation since Salt Lake is close to several national parks and
offers tons of outdoor recreation, including some of the best fishing, biking,
hiking and camping anywhere in the world.
The host hotel is the renowned Little America, which is offering AAEC members a
special $119 daily rate (usual $189) for the best rooms in Salt Lake. Located in the
heart of the city, it is close to dozens of quality restaurants, pubs and
shopping—the recently opened City Creek Center was designated the "Best Mall in the
Americas". A new light rail
spur which opens in April can whisk you from the Salt Lake City International
AIrport and deliver you to the front door of Little America.
Statement from the Board of the AAEC: The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists Endorses Originality.
Over the years, there have been rare instances where an editorial cartoonist passes
off someone else's work as their own. This practice diminishes the cartoonist,
their body of work and damages the profession of editorial cartooning.
The vast majority of political cartoonists create imaginative, original art and
commentary on a daily basis and are a vital part of journalism.
Passing someone else's work off as your own is not tolerated in written reporting,
and it should not be tolerated in political cartooning. Indeed, it is not tolerated
within the membership of our association. Further, reselling old cartoons with only
a few labels changed is just plain bad for both the art form and for business.
These rare instances of plagiarism should not detract from the thousands of unique,
original and well-drawn works created by hard-working cartoonists every year. These
fresh, original creations jump off the page (be it paper, monitor or mobile),
engaging readers and making them think, talk, argue and act.
New, creative and original political cartoons make a difference in our society. The
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists will continue to dedicate itself to
supporting and promoting the craft.
By Stuart LeavenworthSacramento Bee Editorial Page Editor
The Sacramento Bee has been running original editorial cartoons since 1857, when it first started publishing. Today, we are excited to announce the hiring of a new editorial cartoonist - Jack Ohman, formerly of The Oregonian in Portland, Ore.
Ohman is known as an avid fly fisherman, and for The Bee and Sacramento, his hiring is a major catch. Few cartoonists working today have been so widely lauded and published. At age 19, Ohman was the youngest cartoonist to be nationally syndicated, and his work now appears in more than 300 publications nationwide through Tribune Media Services.
During his career, Ohman has won nearly every major prize in his profession, including those from Sigma Delta Chi, the Overseas Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Robert F. Kennedy Award. In 2012, he won the Scripps Howard Journalism Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Announcing his departure from The Oregonian on Monday, Ohman, 52, said: "I feel like I'm at the peak of my career." He is. Over the last year, he has ripped into Nike's Phil Knight for continuing to stick by Joe Paterno in the midst of Penn State's sex abuse scandal. Following Ohman's blistering series of cartoons, Portland-based Nike ended up renaming its "Joe Paterno Child Development Center."
More recently, Ohman has been having fun with OR-7 -- the wolf that has wandered into Oregon and California - launching a tongue-in-cheek campaign (along with bumper stickers and posters) to promote OR-7 for president.
The analogy is apt. Like wolves suddenly released back into the wild, the best editorial cartoonists send a charge through political ecosystems that have grown lazy and unchallenged. When Ohman joins The Bee's editorial board in January, he will undoubtedly set his sights on the power brokers at the Capitol and City Hall. Expect him to file at least five cartoons a week, two or three of which will be focused on state or local issues.
A native of Minnesota, Ohman becomes the fourth staff editorial cartoonist at The Bee since the newspaper hired Newton
Pratt in 1939. Dennis Renault followed Pratt in 1971, and when Renault retired, he was replaced by our friend and great colleague Rex Babin. Babin, 49, passed away in March of this year after a 15-month struggle with cancer.
While there is no way we will ever forget Rex and his phenomenal work, I know he'd be proud that The Bee is continuing its cartooning tradition at a time when many newspapers are abandoning it.
Babin and Ohman were friends and friendly competitors, both active in the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. I can't think of a better cartoonist to build on the legacy of Rex Babin.
There are now two ways to donate to the "Sebastian Babin Education Fund."
One account has been set up at the Bank of America, 555 Capitol Ave.,
Sacramento, 95814. Individuals wishing to contribute, can either mail a
check to that branch or visit any Sacramento area branch and drop off a
Another fund has been established at the McClatchy Employees Credit Union.
If you are a member of the McClatchy credit union, funds can be transferred
from your account to the "Sebastian Babin Educational Fund." Or you can
send a check, made out to the Credit Union, to McClatchy Employees Credit
Union, 2100 Q St., Sacramento, 95816.
In both cases, the name of the fund is the same: "The Sebastian Babin
Rex Babin, staff cartoonist for the Sacramento (CA) Bee and recent past-president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, passed away early on the morning of Friday, March 30, following a long battle with cancer. He leaves behind his wife Kathleen and his 10-year-old son Sebastian. During his quarter-century of involvement with the association, Rex was one of its most devoted and hard-working members. His humor and restless pursuit of stylistic development made him a pleasure to be around and an inspiration to his colleagues.
Jack Ohman, staff cartoonist for The Portland Oregonian, was a close friend of Rex's and wrote the following tribute.
Tribute to Rex Babin
by Jack Ohman
The death of Rex Babin has hit our now-miniscule cartooning family very hard, harder than anything we thought we might be prepared for. This magnificent man, this vital athlete, this superb artist and thinker, has left an intellectual and emotional void in the community we love.
I first met Rex at the AAEC Washington convention in 1987; he was 24, and me, at 26,utterly detested for having the MacNelly client list handed to me in a silver chalice in 1981. It was my first, nervous convention, and his. Rex came to greet me, along with many others who weren’t, you know, bastards.
Rex had the soul of a polymath. Everything fascinated him. Further, no one thought himself more integral to the success of his newspaper—not his career—than Rex. Rex preached local cartoons, and I doubt he could have had any more influence in California politics than he had. While privately delighted at the attention, he would have snorted at the tributes, which were along the lines of “them damned pitchers.”
Sometimes, Rex fussed over the things we all from time to time have fussed about. Ultimately, the gifts we sought in our careers either seemed hollow or a fluke. The gift Rex took was the gift we should all share: the love of craft, and the perpetual desire to improve. He would also say the love of his peers, which is like being in the coolest club in the United States. Cartoonists know they have instant B&Bs from coast-to-coast. No reservations.
Rex was always trying new pens, new paper, new computer programs, new gadgets, and seeking new influences—writers, painters, architects, sculptors, instead of bogging down in the usual mire of our trade. If you knew Rex, you also knew that he loved nothing better to have a microscopic conversation about line quality or lettering. One day, in the hundreds of days we spoke on the phone—blunt, profane, whiny, raucous conversations—he asked how I was. I replied, “Ink drag.” Then he was off on a soliloquy about how letting the top off on ink bottle for a few days was a science: new ink, too light, man…but slightly aged, goopy ink could create a line to die for.
But if it was too exposed to the air: Ink drag. Bad.
Other days, we may have greeted each other with an impression of an air traffic controller conversation: “United 228 Heavy hold at six thousand, clear runway 6-L, uh, thank you sir.” Other times, he may have just said, “Hey F***er.” And I knew he was referring to me.
To us it was a warm up to a chat about…anything. Which lasted for hours. Sometimes he would call, usually on Friday afternoon as I was about to pass a watermelon covered in broken beer bottles on deadline, and simply say, “Scratchin’?”
Yep. You? Yep. We would describe our respective ideas, which I hated, because mine sometimes were not reduceable to a set-up/punchline. But, neither were his. Except one time, late in the 2010 California governor’s race, I called him after Meg Whitman was described as a “whore” by a Brown adviser. I said, here’s your idea: two guys in front of the statehouse, and the one guy says, “Who’re you voting for?” He drew it. It ran.My finest moment. He was lionized for his “Hands of God” cartoon about the Sullenberger Hudson River miracle. He was prouder of how well he drew the hands and the plane. Later, I would say, oh, just draw the Hands of God holding Gingrich or whatever. He had a crooked smile that migrated up the left side of face, and he would say, screw you. He knew his cartoon was amazing.
Rex’s cartoons sometimes were so different that I would wonder how the hell he got there. While I was dutifully executing a candidate standing at a lectern (boring, tedious), he might be meticulously rendering a 1700s Parisian street scene as a metaphor for the California budget. Oh, and there was a perfect Gov. Ahnolt in the frame. Sometimes I would just want to quit after seeing one. If Rex drew a cabinet, he would go into a furniture design book and faithfully draw a Stickley cabinet. Or an 18th Century French cabinet. Whatever he wanted.
He made me work harder because I knew he was working harder. He would casually (uh huh) mention he was drawing the South Front of the U.S. Capitol Building. That was my cue to try to draw the South Front of the U.S. Capitol Building. And so on.
He called me around Christmas 2010 and told me that he had cancer. Stage IV. Inoperable. He wasn’t falsely optimistic. I burst into tears on the phone. He said, “Stop it, goddamn it. I’m up for a fight.”
I called him about 2-4 times a week, usually at 9:15 pm. His treatment was discussed. Cartoon gossip was exchanged. Finally, he tired of discussing the various shortcomings of selected peers (discussed clinically), and so did I. What’s the point?
As we parted on the phone, he would say, “Well, I love you.” I would say it, too, even as my Minnesota frozen wingnut seemed static, frosty, immobile.
Toward the end, a few weeks ago, he said something fearful. I would listen for awhile. Then I would say, “Jesus, Rex, this isn’t Brian’s Song yet.”
“OK, Magic,” he said.
Well. I love you, too.
And I’ll never see 9:15 pm again without seeing your face.
The American Association of Editorial Cartoonists strongly condemns the brutal treatment of the Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat at the hands of his government. The AAEC urges individuals and governments to join the association in condemning this vicious attack.
This is part of the account reported by The Associated Press:
BEIRUT (AP)—Masked gunmen dragged Syria's best-known political cartoonist from his car before dawn Thursday, beat him severely and broke both his hands as a warning to stop drawing just days after he compared Syria's president to Moammar Gadhafi, a relative and activists said.
Hospitalized with serious injuries, 60-year-old Ali Ferzat has become the most famous victim of the repression of Syria's five-month uprising. The attack on him was a stark reminder that no Syrian is immune to the crackdown.
"This is just a warning," the gunmen told Ferzat, according to a relative who asked that her name not be used for fear of reprisals. "We will break your hands so that you'll stop drawing."
Understandably, this attack may be overshadowed by the murderous attacks that the regime is perpetrating on the rest of its people, but as cartoonists, we are outraged at the pointed brutality of the attack on Mr. Ferzat. The attackers intentionally broke his hands.
Breaking the hands of a cartoonist is more than an attack on one brave individual, it’s an attack on the right of a people to express themselves. It’s an act of a desperate regime foolishly thinking that its violence and efforts to intimidate will keep a cartoonist from criticizing the regime’s repressive behavior. Instead, it only sets hundreds of hands to drawing the clear conclusion that those behind the brutal repression have lost all legitimacy.
1. The theme for the 11th International Editorial Cartoon Competition is: “Wikileaks” and its creators: villains or heroes?
The Internet and the growth of social networking have greatly enhanced freedom of expression and people’s access to information. The “Wikileaks” revelations has shown us the degree to which the US, like many governments, operates behind a veil of secrecy and severely limits the information citizens need to participate in a free society. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, some legislators are calling for the prosecution of Julian Assange and insist that the disclosures threaten international relations.
You be the judge.
2. Prizes: three prizes will be given: a first prize of $1500, a crystal trophy, plus a Certificate from Canadian UNESCO, a second prize of $750 plus a certificate, and a third of $500 and certificate. All sums are in Canadian dollars. Ten additional cartoons will receive an ‘Award of Excellence.’ Regrettably no financial remuneration accompanies the Awards of Excellence.
3. Only one cartoon will be accepted from each cartoonist. It may be either in color or black and white and must not have won an award.
4. The size of the cartoon should not exceed A4; 21 by 29.2 cm; or 8.50 by 11 inches.
5. The name, address, telephone number and a short biography of the Cartoonist must be included in the submission.
6. The Canadian Committee for World Press Freedom shall have the rights to use any of the cartoons entered in the Competition for promotion of our Editorial Cartoon Competition. Entrance by the cartoonist is deemed acceptance of this condition.
7. The winners of the Cartoon Competition will be announced at the World Press Freedom Day Luncheon held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 as well as being advised by e-mail. The winner’s names and their cartoons will be posted on the CCWFP web site: http://www.ccwpf-cclpm.ca/
8. The best 30 cartoons will be exhibited at the Luncheon.
The deadline for receipt of Cartoons is 5 p.m. Friday, April 8th, 2011. Send submissions by E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org Cartoons should be in jpeg format at 300 dpi
The National Liberty Museum’s Caretoon Contest was created in 2005 after a Danish newspaper published a cartoon which generated terrible violence. To channel this powerful art form for a positive purpose, the Museum invited the public to create cartoons which express their personal vision of peace, diversity and concern for others.