Ted Rall, cartoonist for Forbes, is America’s most widely-syndicated alternative editorial cartoonist. Twice the winner of the RFK Journalism Award and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Rall’s cartoons and illustrations have appeared in Time, Newsweek, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Esquire, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice and hundreds of other publications and websites. He is a regular contributor to MAD magazine.
Rall is also a ground-breaking comics journalist (an artist who reports the news using cartoons). He has filed award-winning comics journalism from Cuba, Myanmar, Kashmir, Afghanistan and recently the student protests that rocked Quebec during 2012.
Rall’s weekly syndicated column runs in 40 newspapers in the U.S. and overseas, and was consistently Yahoo News’ most popular feature.
Rall is the author of 20 books, including the Gen X manifesto Revenge of the Latchkey Kids, the bestselling first book filed from the 2001 U.S. invasion, To Afghanistan and Back, the radical Anti-American Manifesto, and a mixed-media look at the U.S. occupation from beginning to end, After We Kill You We Will Welcome You As Honored Guests. Most recently, he authored the New York Times bestselling graphic biography Bernie, as well as the bios Snowden and Trump.
Ted Rall was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, raised in Kettering, Ohio and graduated from Fairmont West High School in 1981. His first cartoons were published in the Kettering-Oakwood (OH) Times.
He majored in physics at Columbia University’s School of Engineering from 1981 until 1984, where he drew cartoons for the Columbia Daily Spectator, Barnard Bulletin and The Jester humor magazine. He was expelled in 1984, between his junior and senior years, for academic and disciplinary reasons.
Inspired after meeting pop artist Keith Haring in a Manhattan subway station in 1986, Rall began posting his cartoons on New York City streets. He eventually picked up 12 small clients, including NY Weekly and a poetry review in Halifax, Nova Scotia, through self-syndication. In 1990, he returned to Columbia University to resume his studies, from which he graduated with a bachelor of arts with honors in history in 1991. (His honors thesis was about American plans to occupy France as an enemy power at the end of World War II.) Later that year, Rall’s cartoons were signed for national syndication by San Francisco Chronicle Features, which is no longer in business.
He moved to Universal Press Syndicate in 1996.
His cartoons now appear in more than 100 publications around the United States, including the Los Angeles Times, Tucson Weekly, Pasadena Weekly, Washington Post, and New York Times.
Rall considers himself a neo-traditionalist who uses a unique drawing style to revive the aggressive approach of Thomas Nast, who viewed editorial cartoons as a vehicle for change. His focus is on issues important to ordinary working people—he keeps a sign asking “What do actual people care about?” above his drafting table—such as un- and underemployment, the environment and popular culture, but also comments on political and social trends.
Rall’s career as a writer began in 1992, when he became a Contributing Editor to Might magazine, an influential San-Francisco-based glossy magazine co-founded by Dave Eggers. Ted’s first major piece for Might, “Confessions of the Investment Banker,” was reprinted around the world, including in the Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz, the Australian Financial Review, and the daily Asahi Shinbun newspaper in Japan. Beginning in 1994 with “Why I Will Not Vote,” he contributed op/ed articles to The New York Times throughout the 1990s. Rall launched his weekly syndicated opinion column for Universal Press Syndicate in 1995, and went on to become a Staff Writer for P.O.V. magazine until that publication went out of business. His most recent major feature story, about the threat posed by Lake Sarez in Tajikistan, appeared in Men’s Journal in 2008.
From August 1998 to August 2000, Ted hosted his highly-rated, twice-weekly talk show on KFI Radio in Los Angeles. Highlights of Ted’s show included “Stan Watch: Breaking News from Central Asia,” which was simulcast by both National Public Radio and the BBC, and caustic interviews with such figures as former Klansman David Duke. Ted often broadcast his radio show from overseas, and made American radio history by airing the first live talk radio shows from Cuba, Uzbekistan and the frontlines of the war in Kashmir Province. Ted’s live from Afghanistan reports for KFI Radio and written dispatches for the Village Voice was called “some of the best war reporting from Afghanistan” by The Nation. From 2004 to 2006, he returned to the airwaves on KFIR-FM (106.9 Free FM) San Francisco.
- 2006 — America Gone Wild, cartoons from 2001 to 2006
- 2001 — Search and Destroy, cartoons from 1996 to 2000
- 1995 — All The Rules Have Changed, cartoons from 1992 to 1995, Rip Off Press, ISBN 0896201198 (out of print)
- 1992 — Waking Up In America, cartoons from 1987 to 1992, St. Martin’s Press, ISBN 0312085184 (out of print)
- 2009 — The Year of Loving Dangerously, autobiographical memoir, with art by Pablo G. Callejo
- 2001 — 2024: A Graphic Novel, a parody and update of George Orwell’s 1984
- 1998 — My War With Brian, autobiographical look at Ted’s junior high experience being bullied
- 1996 — Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done!, collected depictions of personal confessions, NBM Publishing, ISBN 1561631574 (out of print)
- 2010 — The Anti-American Manifesto, prose political polemic
- 2006 — Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?, graphic novellas and essays
- 2004 — Generalissimo El Busho: Essays and Cartoons on the Bush Years, essays and cartoons
- 2004 — Wake Up, You’re Liberal!: How We Can Take America Back from the Right, prose non-fiction
- 2002 — Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan, prose non-fiction about the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline project
- 2002 — To Afghanistan and Back, graphic travelogue about Ted’s experiences covering the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001
- 1998 — Revenge of the Latchkey Kids: An Illustrated Guide to Surviving the ’90s and Beyond, Generation X manifesto/essays and cartoons
Anthologies edited by Ted Rall
- 2002 — Attitude: The New Subversive Political Cartoonists, interviews with and cartoons by 21 alternative political cartoonists
- 2004 — Attitude 2: The New Subversive Alternative Cartoonists, focuses on alternative gag cartoonists
- 2006 — Attitude 3: The New Subversive Online Cartoonists, focuses on webcomics
- Shiny Adidas Track Suits and the Death of Camp (1998), contains essays from Might Magazine, ISBN 0-425-16477-2
- 9-11: Emergency Relief (2001) 9/11 benefit anthology; contributor, ISBN 1891867121
- Working For the Man (2003) William Messner-Loebs benefit anthology; contributor
- Masters of War: Militarism and Blowback in the Era of American Empire (2003), cartoon foreword, ISBN 0415944996
- Talk to Her: Interviews with Kristine McKenna (2004), illustration of Joe Stummer, ISBN 1-56097-570-9
- Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print (2004), edited by David Wallis, contains “Money Changes Everything” essay, ISBN 1-56025-581-1
- The Disposable Male: Sex, Love, and Money (2006), by Michael Gilbert, includes cartoon, ISBN 0-9776552-3-7
- Killed Cartoons: Casualties from the War on Free Expression (2007), edited by David Wallis, contains “Ronald Reagan airport” and “Gulf War Beach” cartoons, ISBN 0-393-32924-0
- 1995 — Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
- 1996 — Finalist, Pulitzer Prize
- 1997 — First Prize, Firecracker Alternative Press Award, for Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done!
- 1997 — First Prize, Deadline Club Award, Society of Professional Journalists
- 2000 — Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
- 2001 — Best Book of the Year, Amazon.com, for 2024: A Graphic Novel
- 2002 — Best Book of the Year, American Library Association, for To Afghanistan and Back
- 2002 — James Aronson Award for Social Justice Graphics
- 2007 — Second Prize, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards
- 2007 — Second Prize, Lambda Legal’s “Life Without Fair Courts” cartoon contest
- 2007 — First Prize, New York Book Festival Competition, for Silk Road to Ruin
- 2008 — Ohioana Citation for Art and Journalism
- 2010 — Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards, Finalist
- 2010 — Press Action Award, Best Book of the Year, for The Anti-American Manifesto
- 2011 — First Prize, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards
Ted Rall was the 2008-2009 President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
Ted Rall is currently working on three books:
“The Year of Chris,” a graphic novel sequel to “The Year of Loving Dangerously.”
A sequel to “The Anti-American Manifesto” that lays out a path for the U.S. to transition to a post-American government.
A book of cartoons, photos and prose drawing on Ted’s August 2010 trip to Afghanistan and Iran.