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I thought it would be an interesting look into our nation’s political cartoon history if, this month, I took a look at a different editorial cartoon each day that won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. Do note that we’re talking basically 1922-1967 here, as since then, the Committee has almost always awarded cartoonists generally for their work, not for an exemplary single cartoon. So in many ways, this is a snapshot of American politics (for better or for worse) over a forty-five year period. Here is an archive of the cartoons featured thus far.
Today we look at Edward D. Kuekes’ 1953 award-winning cartoon.
Edward Kuekes (1901-1987) was one of the most celebrated cartoonists in Cleveland history. He followed acclaimed cartoonist Edward Donahey as the main cartoonist for the Cleveland Plains Dealer in 1949, fairly late in the career for such an excellent cartoonist like Kuekes.
Kuekes stayed at the Plains Dealer until 1966.
He was also a noted stage magician at the time, and he had a magician’s rabbit as his “signature” in many of his cartoons.
The cartoon that Kuekes won the Pulitzer for appeared in 1952, in response to the Korean War. It is a fairly standard anti-war cartoon titled “Aftermath.”
While standard in intent, the cartoon by Kuekes is masterfully executed, and really hits home one of the major tragedies of war – as Bob Dylan notes in his song, “Masters of War”…
You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud
The young die over the decisions of the old. It is tragic.
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