Cartoons from 1992

I’m working on creating archives for this site that will include all of my syndicated editorial cartoons dating back to 1991, when I became syndicated. It’s a huge task. There are more than 3,000 cartoons, of which some 1,000 need to be scanned in because they predate my use of Photoshop. Each cartoon must be correctly formatted, of course. And–this is the cool thing–they’re all going to be keyword searchable. But that means entering the keywords.

So far I have 1991 and half of 1992 uploaded, plus the years between 2003 and the present.

Anyway, I was going through some old stuff from 1992 and was amazed at all the stuff I found that applies in some way to what’s going on today. Among them were the following two:


  • Thomas Daulton
    December 5, 2008 1:46 PM

    My hall-of-fame list includes:

    * the one about duality in the news, but I don't have the date (two guys sweating underwater in a subway train discussing global warming, say "some chick on Fox News said the world is actually getting colder!"),
    * one I have saved on my hard drive, the date looks like 3/6/1997 but I'm not sure, about how everything is evaluated by economic criteria.
    * The one in a diner where milkshake prices adjust according to the outside temperature.
    * Another one in a diner where three friends are talking about growing up, and one says "I'm going to go kill myself now, either by walking in front of a truck, or swallowing bleach."

    Just think, in a matter of a few months or years, I'll be able to search for these by keywords, instead of saying "remember the time…??" like an alcoholic reminiscing about high school…

  • Oh God I miss the days when you were in the Village Voice!! The days of the old and new Ritz, the Marquee club, Tramp's and a million great record stores in the Village. Oh, and the wandering salesmen of Washington Square Park, too.

    Dorme bene…

  • that's killer seeing those old cartoons! i forgot how striking and cool your visual style used to be… i mean, it's still cool and unique, and better in some ways, BUT it's definitely not as striking or edgy or artsy (and artsy is good) as it used to be before you went started using photoshop. it would be neat to see you go back to the woodcut look for a cartoon or two (or maybe even just one panel, or even just one character in one panel), like maybe for some special occasion (like perhaps the end of the generalissimo el busho regime..?). i know artists don't like to move backwards, and maybe your current production process wouldn't allow for a return to the old look, but maybe..?

  • The newspaper one is telling.

    The WSJ article states:

    One thing's certain about the newspaper industry: It's going to look very different two years from now.

    The recession will fast-forward a restructuring that had to happen because of the secular decline caused by the shift of ad dollars to the Internet. …

    More than 20% of the newspaper industry … is now in financial distress. Publishers … are carrying heavy loads of debt given their fast-shrinking revenues. Existing shareholders — including many families with decades of history in the industry — could be largely wiped out.

    Publishers need to accept that newspaper ad revenue — print and online are down 15% in the first nine months, according to the Newspaper Association of America — isn't going to bounce back fully from the recession. Average profit margins for publicly reporting companies have halved to 11% for the first nine months of this year from 22% in 2003, estimates analyst John Morton. Drastic action is necessary to reduce costs.

  • Dorme Bene,

    Unfortunately, the Village Voice has gotten worse than it was even 8 years ago. But then it was bought out, I guess.

  • I don't know if that first cartoon is a direct swipe at baby-boomers, Ted, but it certainly fits. My generation is a constant embarrassment to me. 🙂

  • This old stuff looks great. I bet Ted has moved his whole operation to computer software, and that's why it's no longer so cool. Cartooning is increasing losing the touch of the human hand…as is everything else.

  • Generation Y Intifada
    December 6, 2008 10:02 PM



    Yeah, your generation embarrasses us too. Oh, wait, I meant your generation buries us.

  • I could draw those old scratchboard cartoons right now if I wanted. The only thing I do using the computer is shading and coloring; everything is hand drawn using many of the same instruments as I did 20 years ago.

    I stopped drawing that way for several reasons. The paper became increasingly expensive and difficult to find. It was time-consuming, and the amount of money one earns per cartoon is dropping. Newspapers couldn't reproduce them properly. That style was a turn-off to most newspaper editors accustomed to the Jeff McNelly-influenced edittoons. And I got tired of it.

    Perhaps the biggest one was contrarianism, though: More and more mainstream edittoonists started drawing more abstractly because of the influence of people like me. I saw that as a good reason to make my stuff more detailed and realistic. I hate crowds.

    If someone ever wants to hire me to do the old-school stuff again, though, they know how to reach me. I know readers liked it. As usual, it's hard to get past editors.

  • Thanks for the notes on your process, Ted!

  • Seeing those gorgeous cartoons fills me with unexpected nostalgia.

    Perhaps the biggest one was contrarianism, though: More and more mainstream edittoonists started drawing more abstractly because of the influence of people like me. I saw that as a good reason to make my stuff more detailed and realistic. I hate crowds.

    You told me this before and I still have no idea what cartoonists you're referring to. I've never seen a single cartoon by anyone else that even remotely resembled the style you've forsworn. Let alone a "crowd" of them.