Archive for Cartooning

Flint at the Purple Rose

Flint at the Purple Rose

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner used to do a routine called “The 2000 Year Old Man.” In it, Reiner was a reporter interviewing Brooks, a man from ancient times. It was largely adlibbed with the reporter deftly setting the premise with genuinely curious questions and the old man providing outrageous answers (in a thick Yiddish accent).

One of my favorite bits was the question of a national anthem. The old man claims to have created the very first national anthem, clarifying that they didn’t actually have nations at that point — just groups of people who lived in caves.

The reporter: “Do you remember the national anthem of your cave?”

The old man: “I certainly do. I’ll never forget. You don’t forget a national anthem.”

The reporter: “Well, please, let us hear it.”

The old man (singing without hesitation): “Let them all go to hell, except Cave 76!”

It’s just a brilliant, brilliant piece of satire that lampoons the dark side of our natural inclination toward tribalism and (by extension) nationalism. I was aiming at the same target with the cartoon (fully aware it would fall well short of Brooks & Reiner).

There are plenty of preconceived notions of why Flint is the way it is. And tribalism solidifies these notions, pushing us to identify with our type, our group, our team. Alignment becomes the first priority and soon we are forming opinions about experiences before actually having the experiences.

In the press release for Flint, Jeff Daniels describes his intention for the play: “Flint will bring you up close and personal with the play’s four characters. I want you in the room with them. I want you to feel what they’re feeling.” It’d be a shame to miss out on understanding the Flint experience better because we think that we already know everything about it.


Doodle for NF, May 8th to May 19th

NF Doodle 2014

Backstory: John Hoslett, as very dear friend to both Jane and me, recently retired and moved to Connecticut. I met Hos (pronounced Hoz) at my second job out of college and over the years our lives intersected through various employment and social events, but most consistently through volleyball. For many, many years we were part of a group who played pickup games of beach volleyball on Wednesday nights during the summer. We affectionately called ourselves the MotherEffing Sandpipers, and thus Hos’s t-shirt in the cartoon. (One time a deranged man stumbled right through a game, pausing his rant on various injustices perpetrated upon him by unfaithful women to call us all a bunch of mothereffing sandpipers. We played on with nobody acknowledging him, and he walk away without incident, but the name stuck.) Hos is a natural and generous teacher, and nearly all Jane and I know about volleyball comes from him. Some of the wisdom he dispensed came from his hippie days when he learned the game, a sample of which is included in the cartoon. (Turns out, hippies were really competitive!)

So in honor of our friend, I’m calling out all those who know him (and especially the MFSs) to bid this up! Auctioning begins on eBay today and goes through May 19. Check out the gallery or go directly to mine and make a bid!

The NF Doodle auction is a fundraising event to benefit NF, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing support to individuals and families affected by neurofibromatosis (NF). Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that affects one in every 2,500 births. NF is more common than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Huntington’s Disease combined. Funds raised from the Doodle Day auction will go to support education, advocacy, coalitions, and research for treatments and a cure. For more specifics and links, check out:


Support Cartooning — Buy “Stripped” Today


Seriously (not an April Fools joke), if you are a cartoon fan, go to iTunes today and download a copy of the new documentary “Stripped.” It’s fascinating, very professional, and has interviews with 77 cartoonists — from newspaper strips to webcomics (including the legendary Bill Watterson, who drew the cover art). Here’s a link to the film’s website:


Mr. Hublot — 2014 Academy Award Winner for Best Animated Short Film

All the nominees were very, very good this year. But Mr. Hublot was exceptional. Go ahead, it’s only 11 minutes — treat yourself!


A Post on the FlintExpats Site!

Hey, my friend and “Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City” author, Gordon Young featured me in a post on his FlintExpats site:

It’s about the recent cartoon I did about the last remnant of the AC Spark Plug complex in Flint recently closing down. But there is also an interesting bit about my drawing table, which happens to have a AC Spark Plug connection. Check it out. And buy Gordie’s book! Christmas is coming — great stocking stuffer for that Flintoid (or Flintoid wannabe) on you list!

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John Auchter Interview on Everyday Citizen

My friend and fellow cartoonist Angelo Lopez did an interview of me for his blog, Everyday Citizen. I met Angelo at the editorial cartoonist convention last year.  I had seen his work and admired it for some time. Two main reasons: one, it’s good. Two, it’s something I don’t (or can’t) do: his artwork is clean and precise and his ideas are to the point, often without dialogue. The fact that he’s also a visual artist explains the elegance in his illustration.




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Look, Mom! I’m on the Editorial Page!

On the Editorial Page

This past week, MLive newspapers debuted a redesigned layout. I think it looks great — fresh, crisp, but with a very established newspaper feel. Part of this is a new design for the Sunday editorial page and a new home for my cartoons. And there I am in the marque spot — to the right of the editorial and just above the Letters to the Editor! For somebody who has loved editorial cartoons all his life, this is a dream come true, and I’m thrilled. (I don’t quite yet know what to make of my floating head, but I can deal with that later.)

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NPR: Another Convention, This For Political Cartoonists

Cool NPR story on the cartoonist convention last weekend:


9/11 — 10 Years ago and 5 Years ago…

I just completed a cartoon today on the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th attacks. (Check out this Saturday’s Grand Rapids Press.) I thought I’d post the ones I did the week of the attack and the five year anniversary. See below:

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 11, 2006

Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 17, 2001


Fundraiser for the American Heart Association…

This is a cartoon I originally did for the Grand Rapids Family magazine back in 1999 when the Da Vinci horse was brought to Meijer Gardens. A print of this color version is going to be auctioned tonight at a fundraiser event for the American Heart Association. If you happen to be there, remember that money is no object — you must have this piece!

Speaking of bidding, there’s still time to bid on eBay on the NF Doodles. Go to:

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