Over the weekend, Comic Riffs memorialized towering political cartoonist Paul Conrad, who died Saturday at age 86. Conrad, the three-time Pulitzer winner who proudly was included on President Nixon's "enemies list," was a master at striking with blunt, broad-brush force. He did not feign objectivity, he did not suffer verbosity and he did not pull his haymaker punches.
This week, another Southern California-based cartoonist, political cartoonist Steve Greenberg -- who interacted with the legend during Conrad's decades at the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate -- pays tribute in both word and picture. Above is Greenberg's cartoon about Conrad. Greenberg also writes:
Conrad "was a profane, angry man who let his biases freely show. He was also one of the most brilliant and effective editorial cartoonists who ever lived and a compassionate voice for the underdogs of society."
More personally, Greenberg continues:
"Conrad was a major influence on my life, affecting not only my interest in getting into editorial cartooning but also my entire approach, conceptually and visually, of how to do it. The rare wordless cartoon: Conrad's influence. Strongly symbolic cartoons: ditto, as were the best of my kick-ass scathing cartoons. And I wasn't the only one; many younger editorial cartoonists who'd grown up reading the Times were equally inspired."
And Greenberg concludes with a broader statement about the state of the industry:
"Editorial cartoons are still being drawn, and read by readers. ... It's just that the people who draw them are all scrambling for those same spaces on the pages that used to be the domain of people, often the very same individuals, with nice newspaper staff cartooning positions. To which the newest generation of cartoonists no doubt would respond, 'what IS a newspaper staff cartooning position?' "
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