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Richard Graham

Billy Ireland and Cartoons That Affect Change

by Richard Graham

Outside of basic intelligence, there is nothing more important to a good political cartoonist than ill will.
Jules Feiffer

If you can make a man laugh you can spit in his eye.
Billy Ireland

When we think about cartoons affecting change, we probably think of the most famous American editorial cartoonist, Thomas Nast - known for his successful campaign to bring down the corrupt politician William “Boss” Tweed of Tammany Hall. One of Nast’s most notorious cartoons portrayed a Tammany tiger mauling the symbol of Liberty in the Roman Coliseum, with Tweed as the Emperor Nero and the caption, “What are you going to do about it?” While this is a great example of a cartoon affecting change, recently I was reminded that there are many cartoons that exemplify the lasting power and influence of this supposedly “simple” medium.

Comics: The Building Blocks of Culture

Richard Graham's Literature as Comics
Comic Image

Google-eyed. Jeep. Rube Goldberg devices. Dagwood sandwiches. Buster Brown shoes. Mickey Mouse college courses. All of these common phrases and descriptors are derived from comic strips, books, or artists. It’s fun to see the wide-ranging influences of a typically cast-upon popular media. So often regarded with disdain and suspicion, yet also certainly loved and treasured, comics ought to be respected for what they have given to American cultures, popular or otherwise.

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