Pulitzer Winner Pett Moves His Cartoons to CWS

By: Dave Astor

Joel Pett, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, has changed syndicates.

He moved from Universal Press Syndicate to the Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate (CWS), whose features are marketed by the New York Times Syndicate (NYTS).

“I wasn’t dissatisfied with Universal,” Pett told E&P today. “Universal is great, and they deserve their reputation as a big dog in the field. I’m in debt to them for taking a chance on syndicating me individually.” Before signing a five-year contract with Universal, Pett had been part of a King Features Syndicate cartoon package.

Pett, 50, said he wanted to try a company that individually syndicates a small number of editorial cartoonists. Pett added that CWS (which also distributes many cartoonists via packages) has the marketing clout of NYTS behind it. And he said CWS is “strong in Europe.” Pett, while doing plenty of local and national cartoons, has maintained a strong interest in international issues for many years. He lived in Nigeria when his father was a professor there, and has also visited China, Cuba, Europe, South America, and other locales.

The Indiana native, whose clients include The Boston Globe, joined the Herald-Leader in 1984 — reaching his 20th anniversary there in April. The former Association of American Editorial Cartoonists president won his Pulitzer in 2000.

“I’ve long admired Joel,” said cartoonist, author, and CWS President Jerry Robinson. “He is very funny but also intellectual. He uses humor to make a point, not just as a gag.”

Robinson — who was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame last Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego — added that the issues Pett strongly focuses on include the environment and human rights.

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