The AAEC through its board of directors issued a statement Wednesday about the recent firing of editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson by the Houston Chronicle.
The Chronicle is a Hearst Communications publication. Anderson joined the paper in 2006.
The Board of Directors of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has released a statement on Nick Anderson and his firing by the Houston Chronicle/Hearst Communications:
"The firing of Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson is a misguided, short-term cost cutting maneuver by the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Communications. The elimination of his position now means there isn't one on-staff newspaper editorial cartoonist in the entire state of Texas to provide local visual commentary and hold the state government accountable to its citizens.
"Editorial cartoonists are a historically important and powerful component of American journalism. Editorial cartoons are very popular with readers; they look to their local cartoonist to provide satirical observations of their representatives and government officials. Especially in these times where our country's free press is under attack by the current administration, the work of editorial cartoonists resonates with Americans and provide a vital component of the political dialogue that our democracy needs in order to thrive.
"While we acknowledge the financial challenges publishers face with the online market, eliminating original content is not the answer.
"We denounce the actions of Hearst Communications in their short-sighted cost cuts at the expense of the health of the editorial cartoonist profession and journalism in general."
Signing the letter are Ann Telnaes (AAEC President), Pat Bagley (President-Elect), Nate Beeler (Vice President), Monte Wolverton (Secretary-Treasurer) and Adam Zyglis, (immediate past President). Three board members also signed: Ed Hall, Kevin Siers and Signe Wilkinson. Anderson is a past president of the organization, and is probably still best known for winning the Pulitzer in 2005 while at the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Although staffed editorial cartoonist firings seem more rare than they were in the previous decade, that's in part because there are far fewer position out there that could conceivably be at risk. I believe the most thriving papers find some way to use an editorial cartoonist on staff: local cartoons, web site enhancements, sales-through-personality. Anderson is widely syndicated and highly skilled and won't see his voice silenced by the move by any means, making the loss one that gets passed to paper and readers.
* this picture got a lot of attention. That's a lovely moment, and I'm happy for kids that were previously kept from seeing themselves in heroic roles in mass entertainment now beginning to have opportunities to see themselves that way. I think most people agree on that. I hope that's clear even when some of us distrust the corporate nature of some of these characters or are confused a bit wondering how healthy it might be for adults to have that same relationship to licensed properties that kids might.
* in case you missed it, Flo Steinberg passed away. She was a notably nice person in a medium that has thousands of them, an important cog in the Marvel Comics culture of the 1960s, a key publisher in underground-to-independent comics and an object lesson for the ages in that her late 1960s departure from Marvel is a perfect example of how many of these companies have been unable to properly reward smart, capable people, particularly when they're not white males.
On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Comics-Makers You Met At A Convention, If Only In Passing." This is how they responded.
1) Otomo (SDCC)
2) Serpieri (Lucca)
3) Eddie Campbell (United Kingdon Comic Art Convention)
4) Ernie Colón (New York Creation Convention)
5) Robert Crumb (Angouleme)
* Jack Davis: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2011
* Chris Ware: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2012
* Daniel Clowes: CAB 2015
* Arnold Roth MOCCA 2013
* Art Spiegelman MOCCA 2014
1. Ben Katchor (Salão Lisboa de Ilustração e Banda Desenhada, 1998)
2. Ed Brubaker (Salão Internacional de Banda Desenhada do Porto, 1999)
3. Fabrice Neaud (Salão Lisboa, 2000)
4. Edmond Baudoin (Salão Lisboa, 2000)
5. Hunt Emerson (Amadora BD, 2016)
P.S.: The picture is of a sketch made by Fabrice Neaud of Edmond Baudoin, who was sitting next to him, at the Salão Lisboa In 2000.
* Shaenon K Garrity (SDCC)
* Dustin Harbin (SPX)
* Chris Samnee (Baltimore Comic Con)
* Mike Maihack (Heroes Con)
* Chris Weston (Lille Comic Festival)
1. Richard Thompson (HeroesCon)
2. Jaime Hernandez (HeroesCon)
3. Sergio Aragones (CXC)
4. Jerry Ordway (Chicago Comic Con)
5. Roger Langridge (HeroesCon)
* Will Eisner (Seuling Comic Art Con), in a cranky mood
* Dave Sim (Big Apple Comic Con), complimented my shirt
* Bob Kane (Creation Con), very friendly, drew a Batman head for me
* Mort Walker (Seuling Comic Art Con), dopily asked him the where-do-you-get-your-ideas? question
* Arnold Roth (New York Comic Con), what a nice guy
1. Dan Clowes -- ChicagoCon
2. Frank Stack (Foolbert Sturgeon) -- ChicagoCon
3. Archie Goodwin -- ChicagoCon
4. P. Craig Russell -- Kansas City con
5. Jean Giraud (Moebius) -- ChicagoCon
Not a creator: Buster Crabbe (OAFcon '70, Oklahoma City)
Not a convention: Joe Simon, Jerry Robinson, Will Eisner, C.C. Beck, Jules Feiffer (1976 Comic Art Symposium, Lincoln, NE)
1. Henriette Valium (SPX)
2. Chris Schweizer (HeroesCon)
3. Moritat (SDCC)
4. Sarah Dyer (Chicago Comic Con)
5. Miriam Katin (MoCCA Festival)
1: Sergio Aragones (Orlando Con)
2: Peter Bagge (Dragon Con)
3: Sam Hiti (MegaCon)
4: Dean Haspiel (SDCC)
5: Rob Ullman (Fluke)
* Kelly Tindall (Ottawa Comic-Con)
* Anya Davidson (TCAF)
* Ben Templesmith (Ottawa Comic-Con)
* Nicole Marie Burton (TCAF)
* Michael Comeau (TCAF)
1. Frank Santoro (PIX)
2. Kurt Ankeny (CXC)
3. Mardou (CXC)
4. Jim Rugg (Genghis Con)
5. Lale Westvind (PIX)
1. Warren Ellis (Wizard World Chicago)
2. Sergio Aragones (Mid-Ohio Con)
3. Jim Steranko (Cincinnati Comic Expo)
4. Brian Walker (ICAF)
5. Humberto Ramos (C2E2)
1. Gary Panter (TCAF circa 2007)
2. Seth (TCAF)
3. Will Eisner (Toronto Comic Con)
4. Xaime Hernandez (TCAF)
5. Gilbert Hernandez (TCAF)
* Evan Dorkin (SDCC)
* David Mazzucchelli (SPX)
* Matt Wagner (Phoenix Comicon)
* Vincent Stall (TCAF)
* Dustin Harbin (HeroesCon)
* Gil Kane (at a now-long-defunct mid-1980s Boston convention)
* Carmine Infantino (the one-shot 1999 convention in White Plains, NY -- "The Great American Comics Convention," was it called?)
* John Workman (Ramapo)
* Joe Kubert (NYCC)
* Fred Hembeck (Baltimore Comic-Con)
And I'll also note that I met you, Tom, at SDCC ten years ago, when you moderated the panel on comic strips on which I was a participant (along with Eric Reynolds, Steve Tippie, Bob Harvey, and Charlie Pelto). Editor's Note: Egad.
Here are some thoughts and links as to things I've seen or discussed on the convention floor and in the barrooms of Comic-Con International.
* you know what there are fewer of than ever before? Security guards walking the floor making you stop talking in the aisles or whatever. I've been doing a lot of talking, but I haven't been upbraided yet. I'll take that a step further to say that I haven't seen a security person in the actual hall. I'm not sure why that is.
* a number of exhibitors to whom I spoke felt Wednesday through Friday were slow, although not debilitatingly so. A few merchandise exhibitors told me that a lot of not right-now current franchises did really well and maybe some of the top licenses of the moment performed slightly behind of expectation. That would indicate the show overall is reaching a lot of core geeks with very specific likes and dislikes.
* I did some shopping today. I never do that at San Diego. I was reminded why. There's so much stuff at San Diego, but it can be a pretty rough experience finding things for people for which they made a specific request. With Preview Night and the exclusives driving it, it feels like you're surrounded by plenty but still starving for what uniquely satisfies: a magnification rather than a break away from typical shopping norms.
* I followed Dave Gibbons around as a mid-day panel strategy. His spotlight was a lot of fun: he has a book on craft and an autobiography coming out. He hinted that the autobiography may be the stage he's been waiting for to make a full explanation as to how he feels about all of the various Watchmen things over the year. He told a charming story about the kindness Frank Hampson showed him as an artist on Dan Dare that he extends to Before Watchmen creators.
* Gibbons was part of the Berger Books panel, fairly well-attended for a line that hasn't launched yet. The Ann Nocenti/David Aja collaboration seems the clear leader in terms of general interest. The other books struck me as solid but perhaps there will be difficulty in most of the books find a market toehold...? It's tough out there.
* most of the Berger Books stuff announced seemed to be limited series with a chance to go further if sales and creative interest demanded it. This was noteworthy because of a rumor that Dark Horse was about to kill all of its periodical offerings. Haven't seen anything back that up, though, and it would be a weird thing to do.
* three different artists told me one thing they enjoyed about San Diego this year was the forced sabbatical from constant media monitoring of the Trump presidency.
photos and additional reporting by Whit Spurgeon and Chris Hatfield