"Sometimes it's a bolt out of the blue and sometimes Chris Rock writes them," says Lalo Alcaraz, the cartoonist for Pocho.Com who admits that one of his most popular cartoons originated as a Rock comedy routine.
Alcaraz was joined recently at the Newseum by fellow cartoonists Steve Kelley, formerly of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and Scott Stantis of the Chicago Tribune for an Inside Media edition entitled A Cartoon View of Campaign 2012.
|From the mind of Alcaraz|
|From the mind of Kelley|
|From the mind of Stantis|
Although it would be relatively easy to determine their leanings from the cartoons they draw, each of the cartoonists revealed their position on the political spectrum at the beginning of their talk. Alcaraz said he is a Chicano leftist liberal, while Kelley described himself as a conservative centrist, with Stantis labeling himself as a uber-conservative Republican.
But, despite their political stances, Stantis said that many times politicians who are supposed to be politically compatible with cartoonists often make out worse than opposing representatives. "We kind of expect Democrats to be silly and goofy, but when our guys do it we're much harsher," Stantis said with a laugh.
"Humor is a great way to express your opinion," he added "I just got back from the Republican Convention where the average age of the delegates was almost-dead. And that's not good for a party moving forward."
Kelley, who lost his job when his own paper downsized to a 3-times-a-week only publishing schedule, said he is concerned about the fate of news reporting and opinion in the digital age. "News is such a critical part of our democracy. I work in New Orleans. It's bad now, but can you imagine what it would be like if no press existed to keep an eye on the S.O.B.'s?" Kelley said.
"Also, there's such a surreal news cycle" he added. "I mean Chick-fil-A; is that really what it's come to."
All 3 cartoonists agreed that they and the other members of their craft are struggling to find a place in this new technological world of blogs, videos, and Twitter tweets. "We don't know where all this is going, so we're going in a zillion directions until we can come up with a new paradigm. I often have people reading a newspaper in my cartoons. Sadly, that's one of the last places you see people reading a newspaper," Stantis said.
Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
Not only are Alcaraz, Kelley, and Stantis editorial cartoonists, they also each create and publish their own comic strips. Alcaraz has La Cucaracha, Kelley draws Dustin, and Stantis produces Prickly City.