New Cartoonist Files First Offering for 'Chicago Tribune'

By: E&P Staff For the first time since the death of Jeff MacNelly in 2000, a cartoon by its own editorial cartoonist appeared in the Chicago Tribune Wednesday.

The Tribune had announced the hiring of Scott Stantis as its political cartoonist. Stantis, 50, has been the editorial cartoonist for The Birmingham (Ala.) News since 1996.

Fittingly, Stantis first cartoon was on a local subject: the announcement by Chris Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, that he would not run for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Roland Burris, who was appointed by disgraced impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Kennedy is shown at a podium saying, in a parody of the poem his father famously quoted, "Some people look at things as they are and say 'Why?' I look at things that never were and say, 'I don't wanna ...'" On the podium is a sign that says "Chris Kennedy for." Taped to the podium are a series of papers taped together that say "Governor," "U.S. Senator," "Kenilworth Village President," "Something," "Anything."

In an article announcing the hiring, Tribune Editor Gerould Kern said Stantis' work for the paper would focus "on news and issues of special relevance to Chicago and Illinois and give a new dimension to our role as watchdog over the community's interests."

Stantis' editorial cartoons are syndicated by Creators Syndicate and appear in about 400 papers. His cartoon strip "Prickly City" is syndicated by United Feature Syndicate.

The Tribune had delayed any decision to fill the position left empty when MacNelly died in 2000 that many editorial cartoonists began to assume the paper would never hire a full-time cartoonists. In the last nine years, the editorial page cartoon has been provided by syndicated pieces or with occasional Chicago-oriented cartoons by Dick Locher.

Stantis himself contributed cartoons to the pages of the Trib from time to time. On Wednesday, the paper reprinted a cartoon from April 2006 commenting on the guilty verdict in the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.

Stantis, a former president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, joins a paper with a storied history of editorial cartoonists.

Four Trib cartoonists have won Pulitzer Prizes. The first was John T. McCutcheon, who won in 1932, and was the first from the paper ever to win journalism's highest prize. Casey Orr succeeded McCutcheon in both the cartoonist spot, and Pulitzer winner list.

Locher and MacNelly both won Pulitzers.

Stantis, a native of San Diego, formally joins the Trib editorial board on Sept. 1.

This story has been corrected from an earlier version, which gave incorrect syndicate affiliations for Stantis' editorial cartoon and "Prickly City" strip.


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