Doonesbury: Editorial Cartoonists Have Been Erased

The hardreading staff was cruising the Boston Sunday Globe comics yesterday when we stumbled upon this Doonesbury joint.

Here at the Global Worldwide Headquarters, we’ve long sung the praises of Boston’s editorial cartoonists. Representative sample from the good old days.

Boston Editorial Cartoonists Enter WeinerWorld

Boston is blessed not only with two daily newspapers, but with two very talented editorial cartoonists: Dan Wasserman at the Boston Globe, and Jerry Holbert at the Boston Herald.

(You can count on two hands the number of daily newspapers nationally that employ editorial cartoonists. And yes, technically Wasserman may be a syndicated cartoonist rather than a Globe staffer, but his drawings still have a Globe identity.)

In Thursday’s editions, the two coincidentally visited Six Flags Over Anthony Weiner.

Holbert:

Wasserman:

Smart, as usual.

Wasserman and Holbert are, sadly, long gone from the local dailies. So are most staff editorial cartoonists nationwide, as Politico’s Jack Shafer noted several years ago.

Essays marking the decline of editorial cartooning have been perennial since 1954, when the Saturday Review’s Henry Ladd Smith declared the form trite and exhausted. But we are now really entering the end times of the editorial cartoon. At the beginning of the last century, about 2,000 editorial cartoonists worked for American newspapers. By 1957 the number of full-time newspaper cartoonists had fallen to 275. As recently as 2007, they numbered 84, but the decline has continued to the point that the number of salaried cartoonists has reached about 30.

It’s likely even fewer now.

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the Globe op-ed page does feature the estimable Christopher Weyant once a week.

And the Herald often features the work of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Steve Kelley.

But, sorry Mike Doonesbury. Nobody’s gonna pick up the slack.

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