WE GATHER here today, friends and cartoonists, to mourn the passing of Steve Bannon’s visage as a White House caricature.
Pity the poor editorial artist, readers, because with Friday’s news that Bannon is no more as an official adviser to President Trump, the dogged political cartoonist loses one of the most interesting Oval Office faces to caricature. Professionally speaking, it is like losing a friend.
And make no mistake, this is not merely about grinding ideological axes and dip pens. From both sides of the political aisle, Bannon’s unique combination of hard-won features will be much missed.
“I’ll miss drawing his nose — redder than Rudolph’s,” says Mike Luckovich, the Pulitzer-winning Atlanta Journal-Constitution cartoonist who really does render a sublime Bannon.
“I’ll miss his small nose and his thick head of hair the most,” Steve Breen, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist at the San Diego Union-Tribune, says via email. “Oh, and coloring his ruddy, Irish complexion with Photoshop (Cyan 2 percent, Magenta 75 percent, Yellow 40 percent, K [Key black] 0 percent).”
Scott Stantis, the Chicago Tribune cartoonist, relished rendering that haggard countenance: “Stephen Bannon always looked to me like a guy coming off of a three-day bender.”
Kevin “Kal” Kallaugher, the Herblock Prize-winning cartoonist for the Economist and the Baltimore Sun, liked the contrast between Bannon and his fellow White House public servants: “His scruffy bad-boy looks are an antithesis in appearance to Trump’s slick-millionaire used-car-salesman look. His face exudes his politics: dogged, dogmatic and pugilistic.”
And Adam Zyglis, the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist for the Buffalo News, reveled in the entire compilation of cartoon-ready features: “Speaking as a cartoonist who loves detail, his face was almost more wonderful than Trump’s, if one could imagine. Huge bags under his eyes, big hair, liver spots, red nose and a round jowl of stubble — he was like a sad shopping-mall Santa, sans hat and beard.”
“Trump may be a gift to cartoonists,” Zyglis says, “but he keeps taking away our presents.”
Matt Wuerker, on the other hand, thinks Bannon’s departure could bode well creatively.
“Not having Bannon in the cast of the sitcom going on inside the White House is sort of a loss, but I think having Bannon outside the White House may be an even better show,” says Wuerker, Politico’s Pulitzer-winning cartoonist. “Don’t they call these a ‘spinoff’ in Tinseltown?”