Showing posts with label Al Goodwyn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Al Goodwyn. Show all posts

Monday, November 05, 2018

Meet John Darrin: A Chat About His Anti-Trump Cartoon Book

by Mike Rhode

Early this fall, some of my friends among local political cartoonists started telling me that they had a piece in a new book. Author John Darrin commissioned over a score of cartoonists to illustrate Who's That Man with Mr. Lincoln, Mommy? A Parent's Guide to the Trump Presidency. Darrin himself is from Frederick, MD, and local cartoonists in the book are Steve Artley, Barbara Dale, Al Goodwyn, Clay Jones and Joe Sutliff (see the bottom of this post for his list of all the contributors).

Darrin's website describes his book thusly:

Who’s That Man With Mr. Lincoln, Mommy? is a political parody intended to discredit the Trump Administration in a simple, compelling, and entertaining way. Set as a walking tour of the Mall in Washington, DC, two young parents and their children play the alphabet game to explain why President Trump is the greatest. The children unwittingly expose their parent’s absurd explanations with common sense. Interlaced with penetrating editorial cartoons from award-winning artists, this no-holds-barred tale takes us on a journey through the deception and hypocrisy of the Trump White House.

The slim volume (there are only 24 letters in the alphabet after all) features a page of text with an illustration and his imaginary family discussing a word that has gained prominence (or notoriety) due to the Trump administration. The facing page reproduces a political cartoon and a brief biography of the cartoonist.

Darrin was kind enough to send me a copy to preview and answer some questions for ComicsDC.

You're normally a novelist? Why did you decide to write a children's book parody?

Yes, I am a novelist, and also some business-based non-fiction. A parody of a children's book allowed me to present the pro-Trump arguments in the shortest and simplest form and have them rebutted not by partisanship and ideology, but by simple common sense and honest questions.

And why have it illustrated by cartoonists?

Steve Artley's drawing from the Lincoln Memorial
I believe editorial cartoons are the most compelling way to instantly communicate complex ideas. And the weakness of a children's book format for an adult is the monotony of the presentation. Letting different cartoonists not only do their cartoons, but also illustrate the story meant that each page brought fresh and interesting imagery. A surprise with each page turn.

How did you find them?

 Lots of research and queries. Lists like Pulitzer and Herblock prize winners, the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, and different cartoon syndicators. Then lots of correspondence to sell the concept.

Did anyone turn you down?
Yes, lots of rejections. It turns out these guys are not sitting around waiting for someone like me to contact them, but actually have jobs and commitments. Who knew? The ones who accepted generally were excited by the concept and the chance to work with the other cartoonists.

You selected various terms for the cartoonists to choose from - how did you come up with them? 

I made a comprehensive list of words that would apply to Trump's administration (page 62 of the book) and picked the ones that I felt were most important. For example. using pussy or Putin as the "P" word was an obvious choice. But I wanted this to be a catalog of Trump's failings and Puerto Rico was no longer on people's minds. With the daily barrage of lunacy, it is easy to forget earlier offenses to the American legacy. Several of my choices were changed by the cartoonist to fit their interests, such as Ingrid Rice, a Canadian cartoonist, choosing NAFTA over narcissism.

Did you write the script first, and give each appropriate page to the cartoonist after they selected a term?

Yes, the story was drafted and then the cartoonists drew to the subject and narrative.

Unlike many cartoon books about DC, the scenery among the monuments is largely accurate even though not everyone is a local cartoonist. Did you provide pictures or art direction?

I mapped out the walking tour of the family and used Google street view to get screenshots of each location and gave them to the cartoonists. That way the story followed a consistent path.

How are you selling and/or distributing this?
Joe Sutliff's drawing of the Trump Hotel (aka the Old Post Office)

The book is available on our website and on Amazon. We have been trying to get it placed in retail stores, but we don't have a wholesaler so we'll continue to work on that.


There are two sequels planned: Who's That Man Scolding Mr. Trump, Mommy?, and Who's That Man Looking So Sad, Mommy?, about the Mueller investigation and the mid-term results, respectively.


Nick Anderson, Pat Bagley, Darrin Bell, Randy Bish, Stuart Carlson, Jeff Danziger, Ed Hall, Phil Hands, Joe Heller, Clay Jones, Keith Knight, Jimmy  Margulies, Robert Matson, Rick McKee, Joel Pett, Ted Rall, Igrid Rice, Jen Sorenson, Rob Tornoe and Monte Wolverton appear in addition to local cartoonists Steve Artley, Barbara Dale, Al Goodwyn, Clay Jones and Joe Sutliff.




Monday, September 25, 2017

Catching up with conservative cartoonist Al Goodwyn

by Mike Rhode
It's been 6 years since I interviewed you for the Washington City Paper - The world's changed a bit since then - have you?
Other than grayer hair and higher cholesterol, I haven't changed much.  Still enjoying life in DC.  And you're right, the world has certainly changed, some for the good and some for the bizarre.  What's also bizarre is that the good and bizarre labels seem to flip depending on individual political perspectives.
About six months ago you started a cartoon blog with Jeff Newman where you provide conservative political cartoons and he does humorous commentary on public events.  Can you tell us how that started, and why you're doing it? How is the reaction?
I had been wanting to try my hand at blogging for some time.  Given that the first steps at blogging aren't really part of the creative process, but include figuring out the mechanics of blogging, the layout, and all of the key strokes needed just to get started, it stayed on the back burner for years.  Jeff's a good friend of mine back in South Carolina and we chat often about politics.  He was actually the push to make the blog finally happen. 
It was over a few beers with Jeff that the topic of blogging resurfaced.  We convinced ourselves we could manage a blog.  Isn't beer amazing?  We wanted the theme to somehow counter the growing number of people who get their news from Comedy Central and memes.  We were both a fan of the book Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole where people seemingly amassed in a confederacy to stymie the protagonist's every move.  From our prospective those who simply latch on to whatever fits their world view without validation from other sources were acting like drones, hence Confederacy ofDrones was launched. 
With lots of snarkiness, satire and sarcasm, we've been posting on a fairly routine basis since then.  Part for fun and part for sanity.  We've loaded over 150 posts so far. We even appreciate other perspectives and disagreement especially when opinions are backed up by facts. The blog can be found here: https://confederacyofdrones.com/.  The reaction has been positive and we've enjoyed engaging with other bloggers on politics.
You've been picked up to do print cartoons for the Washington Examiner, which was Nate Beeler's home when it was a daily. What is the story behind that? Is it all new material for them?
Nate is a phenomenal editorial cartoonist.  His work was a part of my metro commute when the Washington Examiner was a daily newspaper.  I was sorry to see that daily paper go away, partly because it changed my commute routine but mostly because it was another step in the fading of political cartoonists.  Nate has been, and I'm sure he'll continue to be, used by the Washington Examiner through syndication. 
My involvement with the Washington Examiner came about because my cartooning outlet of 28 years, the HealthPhysics News, was cutting back on costs and no longer wanted cartoons.  My start at cartooning began with them back in 1989 when they were called the Health Physics Society Newsletter and ever since then I had been a regular contributor … until this summer when they let me know that they would no longer be running cartoons.  I think they felt worse about it than I did.  It's a business decision that I completely understood.  They had been great to me over those many years and without them, it's possible I may never have tried my hand at cartooning.   
Since one door closed, I was in search of another.  The Washington Examiner, now a weekly news magazine, has its offices near mine in downtown DC.  I made contact with several people there and after they looked at some of my work, we met in person.  They were encouraging during that meeting and indicated that they'd like to occasionally use my work.  The first was in the September 18th issue. 
How does it feel to have a 'reinvigorated' political cartoon career as a conservative in 2017? 

It's great to have an outlet whether it's the blog or in print.  There's so much going on and so many opportunities to identify contrary opinions to what's happening in politics and society, that there's plenty of motivating material for cartoons. 

Even though I lean to the right and most of my cartoons have a conservative tilt, I still poke at Republicans and President Trump.  Of course many would say, and I'd agree, that those are easy targets based on recent missteps and gaffs.  Fortunately as far as US presidents are concerned, we don't elect them for life.  Unfortunately, in the absence of term limits for congress, the country has moved too far away from the citizen politician and more toward entrenched career politicians.  You'd think with the level of political fodder available today for lampooning that the world of political cartoons would be a thriving industry.  Maybe, again, some day.