I wasn’t a journalist. I was an editorial cartoonist. I know I have a journalism award but I don’t know what for :-)
for a couple of years I have an entire page in the plain dealer Sunday magazine to do whatever I wanted with. it was a pretty great job. I tried a lot of different things. and I made a lot of anonymous people very angry. my independent comic spirit was off-putting to the largely older audience.
what it taught me, what it prepared me for, is the reaction of the wider public. it taught me that no matter what you say about sex, religion, or politics half the people reading it, even if it’s a joke, will have a real problem with it.
there are subjects that are very taboo in the mainstream culture and it looks like they always will be. up until that moment I had never been part of anything even close to a mainstream culture and there wasn’t an idea or a word that could personally offend me.
I was an independent comic book creator. what I was doing in the newspaper was so tepid compared to any of the stuff me and my friends are doing in our actual books. so the fact that I was upsetting so many people and that I was so close to getting fired so many times was very surprising to me.
I didn’t change my act. it was just surprising.
but it taught me a lot. and it prepared me a great deal for the mainstream stage of Marvel comics. without working out a newspaper I wonder if I wouldn’t have stumbled more out of the gate.
but had I changed my ways because of it? no. the Iceman kerfuffle last month reminded me very much of my time at the newspaper. it just toughened me up.