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Editorial cartoon

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An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon, is an illustration or comic strip containing a political or social message, that usually relates to current events or personalities.

Modern political cartoonsEdit

Editorial cartoons can usually be found on the editorial page of most newspapers, although a few, like Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury are sometimes found on the regular comics page. Recently, many radical or minority issue editorial cartoonists who would previously have been obscure have found large audiences on the internet. While not carrying the same legitimacy as corporate newspaper cartoonists, self-editing online cartoonists who do not find themselves subject to the conservative constraints of the newspaper industry have often produced challenging, incisive and acerbic work with great visual innovation. Political cartoons are sometimes published in books.

Editorial cartoons can be very diverse, but there is a certain established style among most of them. Most use visual metaphors and caricatures to explain complicated political situations, and thus sum up a current event with a humorous or emotional picture. In modern political cartooning two styles have begun to emerge. The traditional style, involving visual metaphors is described as the 'nasti' style (named after Thomas Nast), and the more text heavy 'alti' style that tells a linear story, usually in comic strip format. Although their style, technique or viewpoints may differ, editorial cartoonists draw attention to important social and political issues.

Although most western editorial cartoonists by necessity occupy the middle political ground, this is by no means true of all cartoonists and there is a spectrum of political commentary in cartoons which runs from the extreme right through the centre to the extreme left. Diverse religious and cultural ideologies and reactions to them are also represented and can produce work that effects the reader.

History of political cartoonsEdit

Editorial cartooning has a history of controversy. When it is seen from a sympathetic or even familiar viewpoint, it functions as critical commentary but just as often the same cartoon can be seen as propaganda by those outside of that culture or time. Political cartoons can become more propagandistic during times of war or other crisis.


Beginning in the 1720s, William Hogarth produced many satirical works which were widely circulated. Benjamin Franklin's Join or Die (1754) supported the French and Indian War and was later recycled for the Revolutionary War. In 1799, Francisco Goya created a series of etchings called los Caprichos intended to make political statements about the issues of the day, related to his later series depicting the disasters of war. Both made humorous comment on the trends and current events of his time.

Political cartoons were common during World War I and World War II, mainly as propaganda for various countries' war efforts. In the US and Great Britain, anti-Japanese and -German works were common, while in those countries, the opposite was so. At this time there were also some pacifists in various countries who produced political cartoons. In the United States, during and since the Vietnam war, many political cartoonists were published in underground newspapers, comic books, pamphlets, and zines.

Over the years, certain common metaphors and symbols have been repeatedly used by many different cartoonists. Examples include the use of Uncle Sam to represent the United States, John Bull, Britannia or a lion to represent the United Kingdom, a beaver to represent Canada, a bear to represent Russia, a dragon to represent China, and so forth. Some symbols have become entrenched in modern culture, such as a "capitalist" being represented in a top hat, which can still be seen on modern Monopoly games.

Politicians are sometimes unable to separate themselves from the characters cartoonists create, especially if many cartoonists use similar elements. Richard Nixon and Joe Clark are prime examples of this phenomenon.

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Credit and categoriesEdit

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at {{{Editorial cartoon}}}. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Journawiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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