Ritter No Longer in Arizona Cartoon Post

By: Dave Astor Mike Ritter is no longer editorial cartoonist at the Tribune Newspapers in suburban Phoenix.

Did Ritter leave voluntarily or not? "I can't discuss the circumstances," replied Bob Schuster, editorial page editor of the East Valley Tribune and Scottsdale Tribune. He did say Ritter is a "terrifically talented guy. We like Mike and we like his work. He served the Tribune and its readers really well for 13 years."

Ritter -- who could not be reached for comment -- started at the Tribune Newspapers in 1992 and served as president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in 2003-4. The King Features Syndicate-distributed creator (profiled in E&P magazine, January 2004) also had the rare distinction of being an openly gay staff cartoonist at a mainstream daily. In that story 15 months ago, Ritter said he was a former registered Republican who had moved toward a more libertarian point of view.

Schuster said there may or may not eventually be a full-time replacement for Ritter. Brian Fairrington, in a note posted in Daryl Cagle's editorial-cartoon blog, said: "I will begin working with the Tribune sometime this summer." An earlier version of this E&P story interpreted that note as meaning that Fairrington -- who could not be reached for comment -- would be joining the paper as a staffer. But Schuster said Fairrington has done cartoons for the Tribune "off and on" in the past, and will continue to freelance for the paper -- possibly doing more local cartoons to make up for Ritter's absence. "Brian lives in the East Valley and knows the territory," said Schuster. "It's very important to us and our readers that we address issues that are close to home."

Fairrington's work is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons.


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