For ten years, the NRA kept a list of “National Organizations With Anti-Gun Policies” (plus “Anti-Gun Individuals & Celebrities”) on its “NRA-Institute for Legislative Action” site (nraila.com), first posted in June 2003 and most recently updated September 2012. You’ll note I used archive.org’s Wayback Machine’s copy of both versions of the page, because they recently took down the list, soon after Daily Cartoonist’s Alan Gardner gave it some unwanted publicity for including 14 cartoonists in the “media” section (or maybe it was some of the other dozens of media outlets who raised ruckuses).
Interestingly, while many other names have been added to the overall list between 2003 and 2012, the only change to the cartoonists listed has been the removal of Doug Marlette, who died in 2007, which must be disappointing to many of the younger artists trying to get the NRA’s attention. But let’s see just who is on that list and what kind of opinionating has caused them to run afoul of the High Preists of the Church of Guns.
Auth was the political cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer for 41 years. Yes, WAS. He resigned/retired voluntarily a year ago, when the paper was seeking ways to cut costs (and definitely not the only one to have lost his newspaper home). But Auth is still cartooning… for radio. Actually, for a Phiadelphia’s public radio station’s news website NewsWorks.org, where he gets to add a paragraph or two of annotation to every cartoon, and do it ‘blog-style’, meaning whenever he wants but usually a couple times a week.
He recently republished some of his older gun cartoons, including this one:
And this one from WAY back in 1968, drawn for the college newspaper at UCLA:
Here’s a more recent cartoon, making an interesting comparison between two issues:
Meanwhile, Auth is proud of his “Support Our Troops” cartoons, including a recent one about women in combat…
Employed by the Arizona Republic for 32 of the last 33 years (and still working there), Benson is no stranger to controversy, having left the Mormon Church where his grandfather, Ezra Taft Benson, had been President and joined “the congregation of secular humanists.” His beliefs are solidly pacifist, but his cartoons are often rather violent.
And after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting in Arizona, he has been his most editorially brutal:
I’m sure the NRA would take offense to just about every aspect of this recent cartoon:
But his single most controversial cartoon was one from 1997, opposing the death penalty – and specifically the death penalty for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, while ‘recycling’ a picture originally from the scene of the bombing, showing a firefighter carrying a dead child:
The cartoon below announced Borgman’s retirement from political cartooning in 2008, four years before the most recent NRA Enemies List.
His old home newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer does still have a lot of his old cartoons online (but that may just mean their webmaster never does any clean-up), and there are several circa-2000 gun cartoons there:
Remember, I said he quit doing editorial cartoons in 2008… a reminder may be needed when you see this one from 2000:
Now, Jim Borgman is still doing public drawing… as the artist (NOT the writer) of the syndicated comic strip “Zits”. And even though his partner (and my neighbor) Jerry Scott writes it, I had to see if there were any gun references in “Zits”. This is the closest I could find…
Carlson had a 25-year career as an editorial cartoonist with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel before taking a buyout from the newspaper in 2008, but he’s still making political statements (not Zits) with syndicated comics like this:
Did I refer earlier to “the Church of Guns”? Maybe this is where I got the idea:
Here’s something you could call that a statement in opposition to BOTH the First AND Second Amendment, but I won’t.
NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre’s outrageous statements have prompted most anti-gun cartoonists to portray him as a buffoon, but Carlson sees something worse.
Then there is the argument that you need to have guns to defend yourself against the Government. After all, that’s how the Founding Fathers won our freedom, with the same muskets the British soldiers had. But now…
Related cartoon from a webcartoonist:
Here’s ANOTHER political cartoonist who has retired, in 2009 but was still on the list in 2012. (Now I’m starting to see another reason they deleted it) And Daryl Cagle’s little website still has about 1600 of his pieces available to abuse the opposition with, but very very few about guns. He gives the NRA organization a hard time for its congressional lobbying…
He also came out promoting gun locks, which seems to put him in agreement with the NRA on that sub-issue:
And he did make a cartoon about an alternate form of ammunition…
But he seemed to be just as critical about other threats to the American Way of Life… like Bloggers.
Remind me to put him on MY boycott list… if he ever comes out of retirement.
Here’s another cartoonist who is still active and working for the same newspaper for almost 25 years, the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He won the National Cartoonists Society’s Rueben Award for Cartoonist of the Year in 2005, and two of those Pulitzer Prize things. Actually, most of the cartoonists on the NRA list have at least one Pulitzer (not a howitzer).
Luckovich recently did a stinging statement on “gun interests” vs. children (with some “children” who are creepier than Charles Addams ever drew).
And used the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to point out certain inconsistencies in some peoples attitude toward “invasiveness”.
But unlike many ‘anti-gun’ cartoonists, he hasn’t just ridiculed and attacked the NRA; he’s gone after gun owners…
But according to Wikipedia, the single most controversial cartoon of his career had nothing to do with guns – it was published right after the death of Michael Jackson.
Then again, couldn’t you substitute the names of a LOT of recently deceased celebrities?
After 22 years as doing daily editorial cartoons for The Record of Hackensack, New Jersey, Jimmy Margulies was laid off just last month, ironically within days after the NRA list he appears on was pulled from the Web (if you go by the Alanis Morissette definition of “ironic”). He continues his syndication deal with King Features Syndicate, providing cartoons to over 400 newspapers (whether they use them or not), and will continue doing a weekly cartoon “on local New Jersey issues” (mostly caricatures of Chris Christie, I guess) for The Record.
His Record (as opposed to The Record) on gun cartoons is interestingly mixed, going after gun-makers’ control over the NRA,
ridiculing President Obama’s recent ‘sleet shooting photo op’,
using an old Charleton Heston quote for another topic altogether,
taking a worst-case view after the Sandy Hook school shooting,
and a rather negative view of gun owners.
Still cartooning for the Miami Herald after 35 years, Morin has made biting statements about Congress’ relationship to the NRA (this one from a couple mass shootings ago)
conjecture on that “Constitutional Original Intent” thing
as well as the “other contributing problems” in the USA vs. the Rest of the World
and another interesting contrast with attitudes toward another ‘hot button issue’.
Morin even does some animated editorials for the newspaper’s website…
…sometimes using actual recordings of the newsmakers’ words against them. Of course, Wayne LaPierre is one…
Yes, this is the same Mike Peters who does the Mother Goose and Grimm comic strip, with the wacky yellow dog and the fairy tale characters, so you’d expect his political toons to at least look more wacky than most. Like when he addresses the “other contributing issues”
or questioning when “too much firepower is enough”
he has addressed the NRA’s influence in the same way Jim Morin has
and done the “arm the teachers” argument
but his symbolism about school shootings has gotten somewhat “grim”…
How have his attitudes bled over onto his daily funny papers contributions? Well, I went back a year looking for gun references in Mother Goose and Grimm and found this rather odd scene from an alternate-universe Oz:
And one highly non-sequitur cartoon that contains neither his regular characters nor literary characters, just a “gun pun”:
There was a plotline during the Olympics where Grimm and his friend Ralph travel to London to work as “Guard Dogs”:
You might call this an interesting dichotomy… or just inconsistancy…
Kevin Siers has been the cartoonist at the Charlotte Observer for 25 years, doing 5 cartoons a week.
He addressed Congress’ role in gun laws in a different manner,
and he seems to like using 6 panels to give someone he opposes plenty of opportunity to embarrass themselves, like obvious ridicule target (did I say target?) Wayne LaPierre:
But the 6-panel format seems to work best when it simply displays repetition…
He has also addressed Obama’s “shotgun photo op” in combination with another issue with a new member of his administration:
But Siers has a special feature on the Observer’s website where he posts an uncaptioned cartoon and lets internet commenters write the caption. Sounds dangerous. Then, a “panel of judges”, not necessarily including the cartoonist, picks what the consider the best and the author wins an undisclosed prize. Recently, the contest featured this image:
and the winning caption was “The only thing that stops a hunter with an AR-15 is a deer with an AR-15,” with runners up including “It’s not an assault weapon if you’re the one being assaulted,” “Banning these could save a million bucks!” and two from “several readers”, “The Second Amendment is dear to me” and “Gun control? I’m game!”
Now this proves that not just anybody can be a political cartoonist. Er, right?
Ed Stein was the cartoonist for Denver’s Rocky Mountain News from 1978 until it closed in February 2009 (yes, its website is still there, just never updated). He continued to do political syndication until mid-2012, when he packed it in and dedicated himself to the non-political syndicated cartoon he started in 2010, “Freshly Squeezed”. (More about that later)
He leaves behind a record of NRA-annoying cartoons like this depiction of “gun addiction”,
another variation on “other contributing issues”,
and a criticism we’ve seen elsewhere (from Mike Luckovich)
as well as another correlation with another hot button issue (because it’s never just about the guns, right?)
Now, as for the new funny-papers comic: according to gocomics.com “Freshly Squeezed” asks the question “Can three generations of one family share their lives, their feelings, their dwindling fortunes and a bathroom — and keep their sense of humor in the process?” and it’s based on his own experiene with a retired father needing to move in with his family before his own kids were grown. So it addresses generational issues (including attitudes toward tech), child-raising, retirement, making ends meet in a hostile economy and guys who watch too much TV sports. But what about guns? I could only find one reference going back as far as the gocomics archives would let me…
A frightening example of irresponsible gun ownership, right? Whatever.
Tom Toles has only been with the Washington Post since 2002, when he replaced Herblock after his death, but had previously cartooned at the Buffalo News for 20 years. So, unless you’re totally “inside the beltway”, Toles is no relative newcomer.
Only since the beginning of 2013, Toles has done five Gun Issue cartoons, mostly dealing with legislation – or the obstacles to it:
and one referencing Obama’s gun photo op…
The most controversial cartoon in his career, like the others on the list, is not gun related, as Toles got a ‘letter of protest’ from the Joint Chiefs of Staff for this 2006 cartoon depicting the Army as a quadruple-amputee soldier.
The only cartoonist on this list doing a daily not-intended-for-the-op-ed-page-but-some-editors-are-cowards comic strip, Trudeau has never shied away from controversy. In fact, he has a four-page (one-per-decade) section on Doonesbury’s Slate subsite listing over 200 notable events, more than half of them controversies but only one involving a shooting (the 1993 “Louisiana Exchange Student” shooting) and the NRA is not mentioned, even once. But it doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of provocation, like this Sunday strip from a few weeks ago:
Notice anything odd? Like Mark saying “Nine years ago, we were attacked. 3,000 people died.” I don’t recall any terrorist attacks in early ’04, do you? It’s actually a repeat of a strip from over two years ago. Back then, the numbers on gun deaths were questioned but PolitiFact checked them out and found them accurate, if you include not just homicides but also accidental deaths and suicides, which were more common than all other gun deaths combined. You could argue that the problem of mentally ill people with guns is, at least partly, solving itself.
Trudeau also addressed “Open Carry” laws, particularly after Starbucks announced it would have no objections to gun-toters in its thousands of coffee shops. 2010:
and more recently:
This scene featured brain-injured vet character “Toggle” DeLuca, whose presence is part of Trudeau’s support for rank-and-file soldiers that includes a special area on the Doonesbury website.
Don Wright retired from cartooning in 2008 after nearly 50 years at the Miami News and the Palm Beach Post. There is a line from his Palm Beach Post bio (found at archive.org, just like the deleted anti-gun list) that said “The New Yorker magazine reported that Mr. Wright’s work inspired Chinese intellectuals and businessmen during the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989.” But he has left a surprisingly small number of his estimated 11,000 political cartoons online, so there’s not much documentation of his gun views readily available.
He occasionally used words arranged in shapes to represent something else, like in this 2007 New Years cartoon showing the New Years baby about to dive into a pool of problems, with the word “GUNS” directly below him (and “BOMBS” directly below that).
And from sometime in 2008, he shaped the big names in Conservative Opinion into…
But the only cartoon I found showing guns being shot…
Remember when $2.50 a gallon was considered outrageous? Things change. Some other things don’t. The debate will rage on, along with the shooting.
Mike Stanfill, whose webcomic is unsubtly called “The Far Left Side” (and who probably WISHES he were on an NRA ‘hit-list’) is one of the ‘new generation’ of political cartoonists, and here’s his version of the same point as Carlson’s:
…not to be confused with the daily comic “Non-Sequitur” by Wiley Miller which bounces from issue-oriented-ness to silliness enough to be on somebody’s ‘enemy list’, just not the NRA’s.