By: Dave Astor It's not easy to create a hard-hitting editorial cartoon these days. Among the reasons: The number of editorial cartoonist jobs is shrinking ? which can make artists afraid to rock the boat, for fear of ending up on the unemployment line. Also, artists who want to get picked up by the high-profile cartoon roundups published in prominent newspapers and magazines know that humorous work runs more often than pointed commentary.
But some cartoonists are still raising hell, as exemplified by the six drawings featured in this story. Last year, in our May issue, we featured a series of "Hot Toons" that had been killed before publication, for one reason or another. This time we asked a number of artists to send along the cartoon they drew since the beginning of last year that elicited the strongest reaction from readers.
Here are the stories behind these cartoons, and a look at the strong and sometimes angry responses (including a few death threats) they engendered.