Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cartoonist of the Month-May 2012

Pat Vidan (1914-1983)

This is the month for the Indianapolis 500, the largest single-day sporting event in the world. For seventeen of the 101 years since the race was first run, the chief starter of the 500 was a broad-shouldered and nattily dressed Oregonian by the name of Pat Vidan. In addition to being a flagman, Vidan was a police officer, bodybuilder, businessman, and cartoonist. Bill Marvel of the Indianapolis Speedway collected Vidan's cartoons in a souvenir booklet called KarTuned for Racing. Scroll down for a look at the front cover, a profile of Pat Vidan, and one of his cartoons.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the News-Steve Sack

Steve Sack, editorial cartoonist for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, recently posted a cartoon about the Republican primary defeat of Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. Those who follow the political scene in Indiana might be interested in Mr. Sack's take on the development. Fans of Hoosier cartoonists should know that Steve Sack, a native of St. Paul, cartooned for the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette for three years before returning to his hometown. You can view the cartoon, dated May 11, 2012, by clicking here.

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Joel Pett

Kentucky Basketball--The Cartoonist Responds to the Response

Cartoonist Joel Pett of the Lexington Herald-Leader has responded to outraged fans who have cancelled their subscriptions, fired off angry emails, and voiced threats over his May 8 cartoon about Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. In his response, released on May 13, 2012, by the website of the Herald-Leader, Mr. Pett discussed the issue, then closed with an irony:
For all the demands that I apologize, what I really regret is that of all the subjects we cover--in news, editorials and cartoons--UK basketball is the only one, with the possible exception of the you're-with-us-or-the-terrorists Iraq war, that has inspired this level of genuine outrage and passion.
A further irony: Joel Pett issued his response following his return from Washington, D.C., and a meeting with the Cartoonists Rights Network International. Attendees at the meeting discussed cartoonists who have been beaten and threatened with death by foreign dictators and about newspapers that have been bombed by terrorists, all because of drawings on paper. The website of NBC Sports' College Basketball Talk also weighed in on the controversy, attempting to put it all in perspective by writing, "As much as we all love the games and the bragging rights that come with them, at the end of the day they’re just that: games." You might similarly say that cartoons are just funny pictures, yet time after time they have shown themselves to be a powerful force and a continuing threat to those who would practice violence, oppression, corruption, and graft.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In the News-Rube Goldberg Competition at Purdue

Purdue Teams Win the 30th Annual Regional Rube Goldberg Machine Contest

In the category of better-late-than-never news, the Purdue Society of Professional Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers won the 30th annual regional Rube Goldberg competition at Purdue University on Saturday, February 25, 2012. The task this year: to inflate and pop a balloon. The winning team broke a world record for most steps for a Rube Goldberg device to complete its task. This year's winning machine took 300 steps and not only inflated and popped a balloon, but also completed tasks from twenty-four previous competitions. Anderson High School won the competition for high schools. Both winning teams went on to national competitions. You can read the full story at the website of the Purdue University News Service, here.

Purdue Teams Earn Second Place in the Rube Goldberg National Competition

The 25th annual national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest was held at Purdue University on Saturday, March 31, 2012. A team from Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, won the event. The Purdue teams finished second in a competition that "rewards machines that most effectively combine creativity with inefficiency and complexity." The winning machine had an end-of-the-world theme, fitting for the last year of the Mayan calendar. The website of the Purdue University News Service has the full story here. Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) by the way was a cartoonist famous for his overly complex machines used for completing simple tasks. He is also the originator of the Siberian cheesehound.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In the News-Joel Pett

Cartoonist Joel Pett Involved in a Basketball Brouhaha

Joel Pett, editorial cartoonist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, has landed himself and his paper in hot water over one of his recent cartoons. Entitled "Coach Cal's Trophy Case," Mr. Pett's cartoon displays the meager trophy case of University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari. Sure there's a trophy for the March 2012 NCAA championship, but flanking it are two vacated spaces (for vacated Final Four appearances at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Memphis) and a deflated basketball representing the coach's desire to play basketball arch-rival Indiana University on a neutral court. Kentucky basketball fans, angry over the cartoon lampooning their coach, have threatened to cancel their subscriptions and otherwise boycott the Herald-Leader.

Joel Pett walks a fine line as an editorial cartoonist. Born in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University and its storied basketball program, Mr. Pett attended IU and cartooned for his hometown Herald-Telephone before landing a job across the river at the Lexington Herald-Leader. He has tackled difficult and controversial issues before and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Many of those issues may pale in comparison to the subject of Kentucky basketball, though. In any case, you can read more about the controversy and see the offending cartoon in the following articles:

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

Friday, May 4, 2012

In the News-David Fitzsimmons in Indiana

Arizona Daily Star Cartoonist to Speak at Hammond Event

Humorist and editorial cartoonist David Fitzsimmons will the be keynote speaker at the the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority's annual Tourism Week luncheon next week. The event will take place on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, Indiana. The theme is the future of tourism in northwest Indiana. Mr. Fitzsimmons is the staff cartoonist for the Arizona Daily Star and a popular speaker at conventions and meetings. You can read the full story on the website of the Northwest Indiana Times, here.

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

In the News-Michael Jantze

Michael Jantze Fills In on the Comic Strip Cul de Sac

In the category of better late than never news, Michael Jantze, creator of the well regarded comic strip The Norm, was one of six cartoonists to fill in on Richard Thompson's award winning Cul de Sac for five weeks earlier this year. Mr. Jantze was first among the six to try his hand on Cul de Sac, with an initial offering on Monday, February 20, 2012. Children's book author Mo Willems, Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Corey Pandolph (Elderberries), and Ken Fisher (Tom the Dancing Bug) each took his turn during March and April while Richard Thompson underwent treatment for Parkinson's disease. I'm happy to report that he is now back on the job. You can see Richard Thompson's blog, Cul de Sac, by clicking here.

Michael Jantze is a Hoosier by the slenderest of threads. Born in Middletown, New York, the cartoonist grew up in Normal, Illinois, and attended Goshen College in Indiana for a spell. He received his degree from California State University-Northridge and worked in New Orleans and at Industrial Light and Magic in California. His comic strip The Norm went into syndication in 1996. Mr. Jantze now lives, works, and teaches in Savannah, Georgia. You can find his website here.

Finally, to read the original article about fill-in cartoonists, see "'Cul de Sac' Guest Artists Move in Monday: On Hiatus, Thompson Asks 6 Top Cartoonists to Take a Shot at His Strip" by Michael Cavna on his Washington Post blog, Comic Riffs (Feb. 17, 2012), here.

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley