Bill Mauldin Draws Praise

By: Dave Astor

The late Bill Mauldin received a major tribute from his peers at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

This month’s AAEC Notebook magazine includes a Mauldin cartoon on the cover and half a dozen recollections of, and stories about, the creator. The pieces are posted on the organization’s Web site (http://pc99.detnews.com/aaec), which also features cartoons commemorating Mauldin.

In one article, Tribune Media Services editorial cartoonist Jeff Danziger wrote: “There were two differences between Mauldin and most cartoonists today. One was that Mauldin had been there. He wasn’t making it up. He wasn’t applying standard comic structures to the news to come up with an obvious joke we can all harmlessly laugh at. … The other was that Mauldin could draw. He was a trained artist. He knew human anatomy. He knew how men stood when they were dead tired, when they are afraid, and how they physically cringe when they are lying.”

AAEC President Bruce Plante, of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times Free Press, told E&P Online that the organization gave Mauldin so much ink because “he’s one of the greatest editorial cartoonists in our history. There will never be another Bill Mauldin” — with part of the reason being “the Army won’t allow it, and I’m not sure newspapers would, either.”

Mauldin, who died last month at age 81, was best known for his World War II cartoons focusing on weary soldiers Willie and Joe. He later worked for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Chicago Sun-Times, and was distributed by King Features Syndicate before retiring in the early 1990s.

***

Comic Strip Out in Albuquerque


But ‘La Cucaracha’ Is Doing Well Elsewhere

The Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal canceled “La Cucaracha” after conducting a poll in which 56.5% of 6,571 voters wanted the comic dropped.

Many felt the edgy political/social strip was “divisive,” said Assistant Managing Editor Dan Herrera, adding that some of the critics were Hispanics — who comprise about 37% of the paper’s circulation.

Creator Lalo Alcaraz told E&P Online that the vote total wasn’t too bad. “Considering that the ‘anti’ people seemed to be so loudly opposed to my comic, you would have thought it would lose 9-to-1,” he said, adding that he knows of no other cancellations since Universal Press Syndicate began distributing “La Cucaracha” last November to 38 newspapers. That has grown to about 60 papers — a total Alcaraz thinks is “good for this economy.”

Herrera said “there’s a level of reader anger about the comic that hasn’t abated” since last fall. But the specific catalyst for the poll were reader complaints about a satirical January episode showing a man who didn’t like “La Cucaracha” asking for the return of “Whitesville, USA” by Aryan McCracker (a play on the name of Aaron McGruder, who does “The Boondocks” for Universal).

The Journal editor did mention that he’s seen Alcaraz’s work in the alternative press for years and feels some of it is “pretty funny.”

Many Journal readers praised “La Cucaracha,” with one saying Alcaraz “has a unique cultural perspective and created a strip that is fresh, funny, powerful, surprising, satirical, and long overdue.”

***

Et cetera …

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times and Universal was honored at the American Society of Cinematographers’ Outstanding Achievement Awards ceremony Feb. 16. He’s only the second movie critic feted since the awards began in 1986. …

Yaga’s “Digital Content Payment Solution” is handling Tribune Media Services’ new e-mail newsletter, which offers readers TMS columns and cartoons on a subscription basis. …

Two Minnesota Public Radio hosts are doing weekly columns for Scripps Howard News Service: “The Splendid Table” by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and “Sound Money” by Chris Farrell. SHNS also launched an occasional series of features called “Genuine Article” based on programming on Scripps’ Fine Living cable network. The subject is product and service “icons” such as Steinway pianos. …

The “Kid Scoop” feature (http://www.kidscoop.net) reached the 200-newspaper mark. …

Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services’ “KidNews” paginated “OnePage” and “Kids Elements” package are offering content from Nickelodeon magazine. …

The New-York Historical Society (http://www.nyhistory.org) is holding two exhibits relating to former Universal cartoonist Jules Feiffer through May 18 and June 1. …

March 15 is the entry deadline for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ annual contest (http://www.columnists.com). …

Chris Muir is doing a conservative comic strip called “Day by Day” (http://www.daybydaycartoon.com). …

United Media named William Callahan regional sales manager for the Northeast, with Don Lane moving from that area to the South. Callahan previously worked for several VNU magazines, including E&P. …

Former syndicated political cartoonist Marie Woolf conceived and heads the new Politikos (http://www.politikos.com), which offers an online program for local and national candidates. …

“Compu-toon” calendars will be included in USO care packages distributed to military personnel around the world. Charles Boyce does the “Compu-toon” comic for TMS.




You can read the last 20 “Syndicate World” columns on our index page. Subscribers may access previous columns from our archives.

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