(NOTE: The orginal date of this post was September 30, 2007. The post has been redated to keep it on the front page.)
With mixed emotions I announce: John and I will no longer be producing editorial cartoons. John will continue posting his work at his blog, John Cox Art, and he and I will continue working together on various projects, but there will be no more regularly scheduled editorial cartoons. The Web site will remain running indefinitely, as a means to market our books and as an archive of our work.
This decision is primarily mine. I will go into a little more detail below for those interested, but I want to first call attention to some closing matters:
1) The image above is the cover illustration for our final book collection. Black & White World IV contains over 200 cartoons and caricatures. A special section will showcase the development of a few cartoons, from my rough, to John's pencial sketch, to the final product. To order, just click here to place your preorder. The book is slated to ship out by the
end of October middle of November.
2) Signed, original art for many of our editorial cartoons is available for purchase. I hope to create a special Web page for the art eventually. In the meantime, if there's a cartoon you're interested in, send an inquiry to me at "contact -- at -- coxandforkum.com", and I'll let you know if it is available and at what price. Prices range from $250 to $500. Some cartoons are already gone or not for sale.
3) Be sure to visit John Cox Art daily. John has posted loads of excellent work since we launched his site in May. He's been painting, illustrating and cartooning for over 20 years. Currently you can see a page from a comic-book project he's working on. He'll be posting his Newsmaker Caricatures there too. Contact him at "johncee10 -- at -- hotmail.com" to inquire about commissions.
Let me start by saying that quitting editorial cartooning has been one of my toughest decisions. Having such a creative outlet for expressing my opinions is immensely satisfying. It's an art form I've admired for decades, so I do not take lightly having the opportunity to work in the medium and to have that work seen by others. One of my proudest moments came soon after 9/11 when I held in my hands our first published cartoon. It was easy to feel useless, even helpless, in the weeks and months following the attacks. But to be able to fight in the battle of ideas was empowering.
For better or worse, I've always had to approach the editorial cartoon work as a "part time" career. I never quit my "day job" as co-owner of a small newspaper publishing business. The editorial work, though intellectually rewarding, is not very financially rewarding. Furthermore, researching the cartoons, writing/designing them, managing the blog, publishing the books, marketing them, and running the business side all take an enormous amount of time.
All of that comes with the territory, of course, and John and I have done pretty well over the last six years. We're fairly well known on the Internet, we have a few newspaper and magazine clients, we've self-published four books, and we've made some money, if not a living. But lately, for reasons I won't go into here, I can no longer afford to divert so much time and attention away from my publishing business and other personal concerns, such as my family.
I also want to stop focusing so much of my creative energy on negative aspects of daily life. There's still an ideological battle to be fought, not to mention an actual war, and I will stay engaged in some form and medium. But at this point, anything seems more appealing than immersing myself in the sewer of daily politics.
That said, I imagine we won't be able to resist creating an occasional editorial cartoon. And if we do, we'll post it here.
Over the years we've received many letters of encouragement from all over the world and from all across the political spectrum. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Of course, we've received our share of criticism too, but surprisingly little of the hate mail so common on the Internet. We're thankful to all of you who have shared our work with others, bought our books and products, and stood beside us along the way, even if not on every issue.
There are many people we're grateful to for their support, from bloggers, to clients, to friends. I can't begin to list them all here; hopefully you know who you are. But there are two "firsts" I want to mention by name. Robert Tracinski was the first to publish one of our editorial cartoons (see the cartoon here) in the November 2001 edition of The Intellectual Activist. And Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs was the first major blogger to regularly post our work on the Internet (see the cartoon here). They both saw value in our work, and we thank them for publicizing our cartoons when others wouldn't.
And finally, though John and I will continue to work together, I want to say that it's been an honor and great fun to work with him on these editorial cartoons. Though we had collaborated for years prior to starting the editorials, we discovered that there was a lot to learn about working together on a near daily basis, and from two different cities. There's been plenty of give and take. But ultimately we were able to say to one another "split the balloon with his head" or "make the worm neck longer" and be completely understood. John breathed life into the cartoons by giving the characters emotion and humanity. We simply could not have produced this work separately, and I will be forever proud to have the work bear our names.
And so, we take our bow.
UPDATE: Daryl Cagle is an accomplished cartoonist at MSNBC.com who also has his own syndicate. He began running our cartoons a few months ago. When we informed him that we were quitting, he asked us a few questions. You can read the interview here.
UPDATE II: Thank you, Chris.
UPDATE III: Kind words from Charles and the lizardoid army.
UPDATE IV -- Oct. 1: We are overwhelmed by your responses, both in volume and in kindness. Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts. John has more to say here.
UPDATE V: More from the blogosphere:
UPDATE VI -- Oct. 2: Comments at cartoonist sites:
UPDATE VII:More from the blogosphere:
UPDATE VIII -- Oct. 4:
UPDATE IX -- Oct. 9:
Black & White World Volumes II, III, and IV can all be ordered from this page. Volume I is out of print.
THIS PAGE FOR U.S. ORDERS ONLY: International customers must follow instructions found here: International Ordering Instructions.
To order your books for U.S. delivery, simply click on the images below. A PayPal shopping cart will allow you to use a credit card or a PayPal account. To order different books, click "Continue Shopping" on the shopping cart page.
U.S. Priority Mail shipping costs will be calculated when you check out and will range from $4.50 to $9. Again, this page is for U.S. orders only.
Sales tax will be added for Tennessee residents.
You'll find a few Cox & Forkum cartoons in the newly released book The Best Political Cartoons of the Year 2008. The book is compiled by Daryl Cagle, a cartoonist who also runs the most popular editorial cartoon Web site. With over 900 cartoons by over 160 artists, the book is an excellent review of 2007 from the perspective of editorial cartoonists.
I enjoyed the book, particularly seeing how John applied his talents to a medium very different from editorial cartooning. The basic story, written by Sleet and Darius Lamonica, is a familiar one in the comic world, but the modern-day context of the Islamist war gives it a relevance that readers of this site might appreciate. The book is designated #1, so hopefully we have more to look forward to from John in the graphic-story medium.