Prince dies at the young age of 57. Same age and same year as Vanity. A few months ago, when Vanity passed away, Prince paid tribute to her. It was haunting and beautiful, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I saw the video before Prince’s team had all copies of it taken down off the web. I wish I could find it again now.
My first New Yorker cartoon runs in this week’s issue. Check it out at your nearest news stand or on their website at http://www.newyorker.com/cartoons/issue-cartoons/new-yorker-cartoons-march-7-2016 .
It’s the thirteenth (second-from the last) cartoon in that slideshow. Thirteen is lucky, right?
My brand new editorial cartoon book is out. All 172 cartoons are printed large and in full color (hence the larger-than-usual price tag). I’ve written a preface giving you the backstory behind these cartoons, and explaining why they almost never existed. I’ve also included annotations for almost all the cartoons. Go get it now!
Book description: “The year in political cartoons by Darrin Bell of the Washington Post Writers Group, winner of the 2015 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Editorial Cartooning. From police brutality to corporate con artists, to rape, to Chris Christie’s Bridgegate, this was the year when everyone got away with everything. If they were rich or powerful, that is.
These beautifully-drawn, full color cartoons are thoughtful and evocative. As Amy Lago of the Washington Post Writers Group put it, ‘Darrin is like a sign language interpreter translating what whites say into what blacks hear. Bell prodded readers to consider how different celebrities are viewed through the prism of race. When two NYPD officers were gunned down, his cartoon illustrated how they lost their lives because of the uniforms they wore. Bell deftly takes on the pressing social issues of the day, from gay rights, to rape victims who are not believed, to children flooding into the United States, hoping for a brighter future.'”
The award was given for cartoons mostly focusing on race and on the killings of unarmed black men by police in Ferguson, MO and New York in 2014. Read more about it in this interview with the Washington Post.
DARRIN BELL is one of the brightest talents we have on America’s editorial pages, and that is perhaps because his political cartoons don’t communicate merely with cleverness and the practicals tools of satire. They also stand up and connect with the depth of emotional content.
When Bell comments on the larger events in Ferguson or Cleveland, Staten Island or Baltimore, for instance, this art from the heart of experience not only makes a razor-sharp point. You often also feel something that cannot be rendered if the artist is drawing from “on high,” instead of from bracing street-level clarity:
You feel, and sense, the fear and the outrage and the fatigue of repeated history, from the socially pent-up to the emotionally spent. These are cartoons that don’t just be; they also breathe.