Monday, October 13, 2008


As newspapers decline, another editorial cartoonist disappears

Jim Borgman was staff editorial cartoonist at the Cincinnati Enquirer for the past 32 years. His work and art style are a beloved part of Cincinnati life. Borgman said goodbye to his readers in this column over two weeks ago. He cites a desire to reduce his workload, as he also draws the popular Zits comic strip. But you'll notice that he won't be replaced.

I'm partially to blame, I guess, as in recent years I haven't bought a daily paper or thought to read him online at the Enquirer website. He, like many Enquirer staffers, took a recent severance buyout package. Borgman is no lone case, as a spate of staff editorial cartoonist positions have been cut nationwide in '08. It's sad to not only see markets for cartoonists dry up but also the disappearance of local voices. Someday we won't know anything's happened until the AP and Reuters tell us it did. Then after that the newspapers will be gone, the cherished comics page will be Web-only and the only laments will come from crazed bloggers like myself.

Though I haven't always liked his politics, I've always liked his work overall. He's a master of caricatures and facial expression. I saw him draw in person for kids at a library. They could guess in a few strokes who he was drawing. Like any great artist, he made something look easy that's actually difficult to replicate. He won a 1991 Pulitzer Prize and is a five-time winner of the National Cartoonist Society award for best editorial cartoonist. Cincinnati was lucky to have him. I used to clip Borgman cartoons as a kid, but they may be one of the few things I've thrown out. He's had a few published collections, which I loved as a kid, even though I probably didn't understand most of the cartoons. There's no good web archive of his work, but here are some I could scrounge up on the Web that I like -

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