Raleigh ‘News & Observer’ Cartoonist Powell Retires

By: E&P Staff

Cartoonist Dwane Powell has retired last week from The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., after 35 years as its editorial cartoonist.

Editorial Page Editor Steve Ford said in the paper?s announcement that there are currently no plans to replace Powell, but it is possible that he will continue to contribute occasionally.

Powell, who turned 65 last week, joined the staff of the paper in 1975 after working briefly at newspapers in Arkansas, San Antonio and Cincinnati.

In the paper?s announcement, published on Nov. 4, Powell said, ?The N&O was what I really considered a dream job for a cartoonist. It was a paper that had a strong journalistic ethical standard. It was in a capital city. And they offered me the freedom to do what I wanted to do.?

“Dwane is a real, honest talent,” former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt, a frequent target of Powell?s cartoons, told the paper. “As I look at the cartoons, they really tell the story of what was going on, the highs and the lows. It’s like reading a history book.”

Last year Powell decided to quit after his position was downgraded to part time only. However, massive reader response prompted the News & Observer to compromise with him so that he could remain on staff.

Powell won a National Headliner Award in 1978 and pushed buttons for his depiction of evangelist Billy Graham pushing a painting of Jesus aside in order to get to a safe in a wall, his take on a story that Graham?s organization had been hiding a secret fund.

Powell said he never lost any sleep over complaints. In fact, he told the News & Observer that “I’d feel kind of bad if people didn’t raise a little hell now and then.?

?I think he has brought a special perspective to our editorial commentary,? said Ford in the announcement. ?His values are admirable and are consistent with the values the paper has tried to further on the editorial page.”

Powell has not yet decided if he will continue to draw for Creators Syndicate in Los Angeles. Now that he has retired, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer?s Kevin Siers is the only full-time staff cartoonist left in North Carolina.

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