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Joel Barbee, 1935-2010
posted May 27, 2010


Joel Barbee, an active freelance editorial cartoonist and artist based out of San Clemente, California, died on May 20th. He was 74 years old.

Barbee was born somewhere in the American Southwest and went to school at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He was trained at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. He worked for several years in his 20s and early 30s as an illustrator in Ford Motor Company's aerospace division. He then began an even longer vocational journey as a longtime, working freelance cartoonist.

Unlike cartoonists who settle into a specific niche or go to work for a single client at some point in their career, Barbee seemed to have kept a sprawling array of clients ranging from advertising agencies to magazine publishers to graphic design firms. Major clients included Hallmark and Disney. He had a energetic, loose style reminiscent of MAD's Jack Davis. He was enamored of the water and spent much of his time when not drawing on a boat. His work recently found purchase at some of the on-line repository for editorial cartoons worldwide, such as The National Free Press and Toonpool. He also maintained a personal web site positively festooned with examples of his cartoons and art.

A celebration of Barbee's life including a display of his artwork will be held this evening at Talega Life Church in San Clemente. Details in this post's initial link.