Even in the era of the USA Patriot Act, the art of the editorial cartoon—those meticulously drawn squares of ridicule that have been standard fare in American newspapers since just after the Revolutionary War—is thriving. These cartoons have always served a dual purpose in times of strife: to comfort the troubled masses and to trouble those who are all-too-comfortable. In this election year, when the country is so divided, editorial cartoons' deft political commentary might be needed even more than ever. But, still, one has to wonder: Political cartoons are funny, sure, but can they really sway voters? Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who writes the foreword to this new collection, which profiles the work of 150 members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, seems to think so. "Every time a cartoon delivers a stinging truth about how government or policymakers have fallen short, it is also urging us to make it right," he declares. Whether Feingold is covertly urging voters to "make it right" at the polls this year is unclear, but here's to the cartoonists in this collection—who come from and skewer targets across the political spectrum—at least encouraging a healthy debate.
—Steve Kelley, New Orleans Times-Picayune
—Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
—Gary McCoy, Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis
—Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader
—Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
—Tom Toles, The Washington Post
These editorial cartoons are excerpted from Attack of the Political Cartoonists: Insights and Assaults from Today's Editorial Pages, edited by J.P. Trostle. Published in 2004 by Dork Storm Press LLC. Excerpted with the permission of the editor. You can buy Attack of the Political Cartoonists at Amazon.com.