Wisconsin's Phil Hands says the only reason he's employed today is because, like Rex Babin, he has a passion for local editorial cartoons.
"The State Journal hired me because I got engaged in local politics, and provided them unique content they couldn’t get anywhere else. I only really started drawing national cartoons when local politicians like Gov. Scott Walker and Congressman Paul Ryan became national figures. Sometimes focusing on local cartoons takes more work — like learning how to draw all 10 Democratic candidates for governor* — but it’s always worth it to keep me connected to my readers. "
Speaking of additional work, Hands recently launched "Mendota Marsh," a regular comic strip for the Madison, WI, newspaper.
*[Editor's note: Bonus points for drawing Scott Walker as an AT-AT]
[Throughout his life, Rex Babin championed those who focused on state and local issues in editorial cartoons, a field that he and other cartoonists felt was regularly overlooked by journalism contests. The "Rex Babin Memorial Award for Excellence in Local Cartooning" was launched in 2017 to celebrate those working in this niche. To that end, we will be showcasing each cartoonist who entered the contest this year, one or two each day in alphabetical order (more or less), leading up to the AAEC Convention in Sacramento, CA, and the announcement of the award winner on Saturday, Sept. 22.]