If you’re reading this now, congratulations, you have most likely survived “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day.” For that matter, you may in fact be reading this while attending the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists’ 54th Annual Convention in Portland, Ore., presumably on your own dime. Be sure to say hello to Jeff Danziger, the reclusive genius gracing us with his presence. Offer to buy him a drink and ask him why he rarely ventures beyond 9th Ave., a fact that remains a mystery to your AAEC president, whom you may also offer to buy a drink, one that he could use right now, desperately.
Yes, it’s been another challenging year, newspapers are still struggling, staff jobs are still at risk and new media has yet to create any jobs that offer more than pennies on the dollar. But there is some good news that should give reason for cartoonists to be hopeful. First of all, congratulations to animation “guru” Mark Fiore on getting the Pulitzer board to see the light, and then, promptly getting the Apple board to do the same, as he quietly builds a case for why their neat little gizmos should include more content provided by editorial cartoonists.
In fact, we are all quietly building a case why editorial cartooning deserves more respect, utilizing specialized cartoon bloggers to help get our message out. So that the only time we make the news doesn’t have to be when a jihadist is threatening to kill us. There are intriguing new Internet startups with different pay models that could provide new opportunities for cartoonists. We’ve opened greater lines of communication with our various partners such as Pelican Publishing and Cartoonist Rights Network, with whom we share a common interest in the success and future of editorial cartooning.
And it seems to be working, the Editorial Cartoonists Initiative is now up and running and drawing the attention of our friends at The Herblock Foundation along with other journalist-friendly foundations. Hell, even MSM stalwart Meet The Press is finally giving us the full attention and credit that we cartoonists deserve. So things are looking up.