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Posted at 6:05 AM ET, 11/ 6/2008

Drawing Obama: To Political Cartoonists, a Call to Arms

By Michael Cavna


It's been a long, sometimes daunting road to Obama's presidential victory. Artistic mistakes were made along the way, and occasionally, some cartoonists did not display the necessary vision. But those mistakes are in the past -- it's a brand new day, and a time for a fresh aesthetic beginning.

So with that in mind, consider this a call to arms, if not drawing hands. Comic Riffs beseeches the nation's cartoonists with one simple request -- a call to excellence, if you will: Draw an even better Obama.

Now make no mistake: This is not a slam or slight. As we've seen with "Saturday Night Live" impressions, it can take months, sometimes years for superior interpretations of political figures to emerge. And many cartoonists are now creating perfectly fine Obama caricatures. But now, as we move toward inauguration, we call upon the best and brightest to deliver new artistic greatness.

Do we here at Comic Riffs hold ourselves exempt from this mandate? No -- no, we do not. Nearly a year ago, I wrestled with my Obama illustrations -- just as I did with my Huckabees and Romneys, Giulianis and Clintons, and even a rogue McCain. Across the board, it was an engaging challenge to illustrate THIS Dana Milbank package -- and judging by my Obama and Edwards, even man-beauty can prove darned elusive to capture. Now, these many months of candidate familiarity later, though, I am confident that the nation's caricaturists -- the men and women charged with drawing Obama daily -- will set new standards.

For decades, of course, great cartoonists have given us iconic Nixons, sublimes Reagans and deftly rendered Clintons. So it is that now, Obama deserves the height of cartoon equality: His own caricature that causes all to "ooh" and "ahh" with recognition of utter rightness. It's a tall order. Can you do it, my fellow cartoonists? Yes -- yes you can.

'RIFFS READERS: If you see an Obama drawing out there that's worthy, I invite your links.

Mike Luckovich's striking pre-victory Obama had photographic qualities. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Enlarge Comic

By Michael Cavna  | November 6, 2008; 6:05 AM ET
Categories:  The Riffs  
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Here's a pretty solid, albeit respectful one:


Posted by: voguealex | November 6, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

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