Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

Is that a cartoon in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?

03/11/2013 4:46 PM

03/11/2013 6:07 PM

After reviewing a rough of a cartoon a few minutes ago, one of my editors sent me a text. 

It said simply, "Phallus watch!"

I knew exactly what he was talking about.

Cartoonists live in dread fear of accidentally indicating something in a cartoon that wasn't intended to be indicated. For example, in 1982, the Miami News cartoonist Don Wright, a true legend in the profession, drew President Reagan lying on his back while some people walked over him. In looking towards the area where his phallus was, was what looked like either random brushstrokes or...a...um...

You know.

He denied it, and I believed him. Five years later, at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists convention, I asked him if he had actually done it. He snapped, "Of course not. Do you think I'm insane?" Or something like that. 

So, when editorial cartoonists draw missiles, bushes, trees, tongues, Doric columns, or anything else that could hide something like the aforementioned, we kind of do a quick scan to make sure there's no misinterpretation.

Today's cartoon has a lot of military hardware in it. Lots. And as I was drawing all those missiles, I did keep an eye out for A Slip-Up. I saw none. 

A cartoon came in the other day that I thought was, shall we say, suggestive. Specifically, in the eye, nose, and mouth. Very. I am almost afraid to post it. I just can't. But I was somewhat convinced that The Colleague in Question might have done it deliberately. I recall a Canadian cartoonist used to draw his characters so unbelievably That Way that it seemed to be an elaborate practical joke. Again, no names, but I can assure you that's what he was doing.

Do you know how many straight lines I've walked away from in the post?

A lot.


About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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