ROB ROGERS, as a newspaper cartoonist, is accustomed to working one panel at a time. But when the opportunity arose to draw a longer-form comic about his firing last month from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he found the exercise not only engaging but also cathartic.
“The more I worked on it,” Rogers told comics journalism site the Nib, “. . . the more I realized there wasn’t room for all the outrage and betrayal I wanted to squeeze in.”
Today, the Nib is publishing that comic, titled “I Was Fired for Criticizing Trump.”
The invitation to have such a forum came from Matt Bors, the founder of the Nib and, like Rogers, a past Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial cartooning.
“Did the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette really think they were going to muzzle Rob?” Bors asks The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, referencing how the newspaper, under publisher John Robinson Block, spiked 19 of Rogers’s cartoons this year before ultimately firing the 25-year staff cartoonist on June 14.
“All the publisher did,” Bors continues, “was ensure his name would go down in history for firing a political cartoonist at a time when the president is demonizing the press.”
Block told The Post in a statement last month that the work dispute with Rogers was more about editorial collaboration than political ideology. Block later told Politico that the issue was more about curbing the Rogers cartoons that were critical of President Trump, claiming that Rogers was “obsessed with Trump.”
The Post-Gazette has not responded to a Post request seeking comment on Rogers’s comic for the Nib.
“The job of any political cartoonist right now is to be going all in on Trump or their cartoons aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on,” Bors says. “Without Rob, the Post-Gazette is not worth much anymore.”
Rogers’s political cartoons continue to be distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication, and it was announced last week that the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design at George Washington University will host a pop-up exhibit of 18 of Rogers’s killed cartoons, titled “Spiked,” in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
You can click here to see Rogers’s full comic for the Nib.