Contemporary editorial cartoonists often incorporate mixed media and use digital technology to craft their comments on climate change, environmental conditions, American involvement in war, struggles for civil rights and personal privacy, and the recent, history presidential outcome.

In Tribute

Felipe Galindo, a Mexican-born, New York-based cartoonist and animator, created this cartoon in tribute to U.S. soldiers’ service in the war in Iraq. Galindo thoughtfully juxtaposes two images within the form of an hourglass. In the upper part, a U.S. soldier in Iraq stands on alert. In the lower part, the helmet-topped rifles of six deceased soldiers commemorate the ultimate sacrifice each made and underscore the gravity of their living comrade’s commitment. Like many cartoonists today, Galindo first produces a drawing in ink and then adds color digitally to complete the final version. Both versions are displayed.

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Incursions on Privacy

Ann Telnaes’s clear, cleanly designed composition focuses the viewer on the figures’ interaction. The check-writing customer is startled because the cashier matter-of-factly demands excessive amounts of personal information. When Telnaes created this cartoon, the United States had just invaded Iraq, anti-war protests were taking place, and national security measures were tightened dramatically, causing increased incursions into personal privacy. Incorporating humor, exaggeration, and a small U.S. flag, this Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist draws attention to how personal privacy can be jeopardized by increased security.

Ann Telnaes (b. 1960). I’ll need your phone number, Social Security number, birth date, political affiliation, and recent anti-war activity. . . ,” March 28, 2003. Brush and ink over graphite under drawing, red pencil, and opaque white. Gift of the artist, 2004. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (014.00.00) © Ann Telnaes [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31366]

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More Than One Species Threatened

Jim Morin shows a man notifying polar bears that global warming threatens their species’ survival and visually underscores the point with an ominous fissure in the ice. The bear’s humorous reply asserts a connection among the fates of all large mammals on earth. Morin created this cartoon just days after the U.S. government proposed listing polar bears as threatened with extinction under the Endangered Species Act. Environmental issues represent an important, ongoing concern in this Pulitzer Prize-winning American cartoonist’s work.

Jim Morin (b. 1953). We have sad news: man has determined that, due to global warming, you are a threatened species. . . , December 29, 1906. Watercolor and ink with graphite. Gift of the artist. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (015.00.00) © Miami Herald [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31367]

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Capturing a Historic Moment

As Barack Obama is sworn in as the first African American President of the United States, he is envisioned standing upon a platform raised by historic advocates for civil rights and freedom, including Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Matt Wuerker’s tiered, vertical composition with smiling faces produces the visual sensation of uplifting celebration. A freelance cartoonist and illustrator for years, Wuerker is now the staff cartoonist for the Washington, D.C.- based news service Politico and won the Herblock Prize in 2010.

Matt Wuerker (b. 1956). [Barak Obama being sworn in as President of the United States], January. 19, 2009. Published in Politico, January 19, 2009. Watercolor and ink over graphite underdrawing. Gift of the artist, 2010. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (016.00.00) © Matt Wuerker [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31368]

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Concern for the Environment

Two closely related cartoons offer a glimpse into Jeff Danziger’s creative process. His initial pencil drawing shows a Chinese family joining other protectively masked bicyclers traveling to work against a backdrop of polluting smokestacks. Using a photocopy of the penciled image as a base, Danziger adds fine lines in ink and opaque white as well as a partly obscured sun, all of which heighten the impression of atmospheric pollution in his finished cartoon. China’s dependence on pollution-causing coal to fuel much of its economy drew major media coverage in 2006 and continues to be hotly debated.

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  • Jeff Danziger (b. 1943). Progress in China, 2006. Graphite and ink on paper. Gift of the artist, 2007. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (018.00.00) © Jeff Danziger, New York Times Syndicate/Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31370]

  • Jeff Danziger. Air Pollution in China Worsens, 2006. Photocopy of drawing in pencil and ink with added drawing in ink and opaque white. Gift of the artist, 2007. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (017.00.00) © Jeff Danziger, New York Times Syndicate/Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31369]

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Framing the Debate

When Tony Auth created this cartoon, same-sex marriage had only recently been legalized in Massachusetts, and debate on the topic flared across America. Both drawings, ink and digitally produced, demonstrate a bold use of black space and strong graphic lines. Auth’s use of reverse lettering on the darkened steps of the final version dramatically reinforces the idea of progression within the historical context of other constituencies’ struggles for equal civil and human rights. A Pulitzer Prize and Herblock Prize winner, Auth has been editorial cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1971.

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  • Tony Auth (b. 1942). NEXT! 2004. Pen and ink, and brush and ink on paper. Gift of the artist, 2006. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (019.00.00) AUTH ©2004 Philadelphia Inquirer. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE. All rights reserved. [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31371]

  • Tony Auth. NEXT! 2004. Final version published in Philadelphia Inquirer, March 9, 2004. Digital print. Gift of the artist, 2006. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (020.00.00) AUTH ©2004 Philadelphia Inquirer. Reprinted with permission of UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE. All rights reserved. [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsca-31372]

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Marking the End of an Era

In this drawing, former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev (b. 1931) leads a funeral procession for communism as its hallowed trinity of Karl Marx (1818–1883), Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), and Joseph Stalin (1879–1953) hovers in dismay. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Edmund Valtman hails the fragmentation of the communist Soviet Union in his triumphant scene. Born in Estonia, Valtman experienced firsthand the economic and political repression imposed on his native land when it was under communist rule.

Edmund Valtman (1914–2003). I Can't Believe My Eyes! September 20, 1991. Published in the Waterbury (CT) Republican and the Middletown (CT) Press. Ink, opaque white, and tonal film over graphite underdrawing on paper. Gift of the artist, 1999. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (021.00.00) Reproduced with permission. [Digital ID # LC-DIG-ppmsc-07960]

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