1990's

National Review, March 16, 1992


natrev031692.jpg This cartoon is from the National Review. I was truly shocked two days ago to learn about the death of William Buckley, Jr., NR's founder and linchpin.

Mr. Buckley's sister, Priscilla, an editor at NR, handled the cartoons there for many years, until her retirement in 1991.

No, I didn't agree with most of Mr. Buckley's views, but he certainly made life exciting and entertaining. As The New York Times said in its obit yesterday, "He was often described as liberals' favorite conservative". Amen. And, surely, this will be the first and last occasion that the Times will use the phrase "sesquipedalian spark of the right" in a headline on its front page (look up the word in your big dictionary, as I did).

I always liked to imagine that my cartoons made Mr. Buckley laugh. Oh, and I also enjoyed reading his sailing yarns immensely. Rest in peace, Mr. Buckley.






Nutrition Health Review, Fall 1991


nutrfall91.JPG This is another one of my personal favorites. Try as I might over the years, I couldn't convince any of my "major" markets to buy any version of this cartoon, and it finally ended up in Nutrition Health Review in 1991 (I guess NHR figured that the psychiatrist setting made it health-related).

I still feel very sorry that it didn't get snapped up by The Wall Street Journal or National Review or some similar publication. The caption is still relevant, and could be used today without alteration.






Florida Bar News, April 1, 1996


flabarn040196.JPG Was there ever a time when Alex Trebek and "Jeopardy" (my wife's favorite TV show) weren't around? I worked for a long time on "Jeopardy" gags and finally came up with this one, which I thought was pretty good. I spent a lot of time wording the caption "just right", and even tried to make the character look reasonably like Mr. Trebek.

However, my opinion of the worthiness of the gag wasn't shared by the cartoon editors -- the cartoon was soundly rejected everywhere, until the Florida Bar News finally took it on. I'm still disappointed that it didn't get a bigger audience.






Dartnell, October 11, 1994


dartn101194.JPG Dartnell Corp. publishes newsletters for business and industry on subjects like Salesmanship, Teamwork, Office Management, Supervision and Customer Service. For many years, a cartoon was regularly included in about a dozen of the titles. In 1999, Dartnell was bought up by another company and the parent company discontinued the cartoon use. I recently checked on the internet and found that Dartnell is still active in newsletter publishing, and still cartoonless.

From 1986 to 1999 I sold about 125 cartoons to Dartnell -- the subjects were right up my alley and I had many rejected cartoons from other publications to offer them. Unfortunately, the Dartnell editors were loathe to send tearsheets or clips of my published cartoons to me, no matter how often I asked for them. So I only have a small percentage of my Dartnell cartoons -- the few that I managed to scrounge from them or from various other sources.

As I've said before, I love to see my cartoons in print, and the sad fact is that, overall, I've never seen about 20% of my published cartoons. These are the ones that appeared in publications not readily available to the general public, or that could not be found on magazine racks. Most editors routinely send complimentary copies, or tearsheets, to their contributors, but there are always the few others who can't or won't be bothered. Very inconsiderate, in my opinion.






Selling Power, May 1993


selpow0593.JPG Another of my personal favorite gags -- good ol' Archie Andrews, the perennial high school student.

I was surprised that this cartoon didn't sell higher up in the publication chain (okay, maybe it's not New Yorker caliber, but both The Wall Street Journal and National Business Employment Weekly had a crack at it, and one of them really should have claimed it).

This drawing appears in a continuous cycle as "Cartoon of the Day" on Selling Power's website sellingpower.com. But, unfortunately, somebody completely changed the caption on the site, thereby ruining a perfectly good laugh. The caption on the website has some silly reference to Jughead. I alerted Selling Power's webmaster about this, but to my knowledge the caption has never been corrected.






The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 21, 1990


The Chronicle of Higher Education is a weekly tabloid-size publication which I consider to be the newspaper of record for colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. On March 21, 1990, the editors took five cartoons that they had previously purchased from me, and published them as a full-page spread, under the title "STEIN ON ACADEME".

A few weeks later, The Chronicle printed a Letter to the Editor from an Associate Professor at a well-known midwestern university. This is the entire letter. I am not identifying the name of the letter-writer or the university, for obvious reasons.

"I always enjoy the cartoons in your Section 2, especially Carole Cable's. They provide welcome comic relief from the depressing stories in the preceding pages on such matters as sex-discrimination suits, cases of sexual harassment, and the plague of racial incidents on campus.

Did anyone besides me, however, notice in the full-page of Eli Stein cartoons in your March 21 issue that of the 17 human figures depicted, all were white males except one, a white female cast as the stereotypical faculty wife, screening her husband's phone calls so that he can meditate uninterruptedly on his Next Brilliant Article? This page was dreary, if inadvertent, confirmation of the attitudes that generate those articles in your news section.

I am not amused."

When I read the letter, it blew my mind. For me, it was beyond comprehension -- I can understand "hate mail" and the driving forces behind hate, but this?? It was a real eye-opener for me to realize that there are actually people out there with nothing better to do than to note the gender and racial make-up of a pageful of cartoon characters and make a discrimination conspiracy issue out of it. (Also, remember, I didn't even have any input as to how the spread was assembled or laid out -- The Chronicle simply took five of my cartoons that they had on hand and put them together on one page).

After regaining my composure, I wrote a personal note to the Cartoon Editor and sent it with a new submission of cartoons. My note said, in part:

"What really disturbed me about [the Professor's] nitpicking letter is that when I showed it to my family and friends, it got more laughs than any of my cartoons ever did.

Be that as it may, [the Professor] is perfectly correct -- I don't much like to draw women. My forte is balding men with glasses, and I'm sure you'll find a fair share of them in the enclosed batch."

The Professor's letter didn't noticeably affect my relationship with The Chronicle, which continued to publish my cartoons for many years afterwards.

Here are the five controversial cartoons. What say you -- are we, or are we not, amused? chron032190a.JPGchron032190b.JPGchron032190c.JPGchron032190d.JPGchron032190e.JPGchron032190f.JPG






The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 1998


wsj021998.JPG A few weeks after this was printed in The Wall Street Journal, I received a letter from a Vice-President at IBM. She said she wanted to buy the original drawing "for personal use (non-commercial display purposes only)".

I emailed her that my fee for an original would ordinarily be $200, and if IBM were purchasing it, that's what I would charge. However, I added that since she specified it was strictly for her personal use, I would reduce the fee to $150. She soon emailed back as follows: "I did say that the cartoon would be for personal-internal display purposes only, however, I did neglect to mention that it is not for my personal viewing but for the IBM CEO and Chairman, Mr. Lou Gerstner. He enjoyed your cartoon and requested that we purchase if available. So I'm not quite sure how you want to handle the cost -- it's up to you."

Wow -- Louis Gerstner! I was suitably impressed.

I emailed her back and said that under the circumstances, we should split the difference and make it a fee of $175. And that's exactly what we did.






National Review, April 4, 1994


natrev040494.JPG Shortly after this cartoon appeared, I received a phone call from Michele Meny, on the staff of the Rush Limbaugh TV show (yes, Rush had a TV program in those days, in addition to his radio program). She said that Rush wanted to show the cartoon on the show, crediting both me and National Review. I don't agree with 99% of Rush Limbaugh's views or opinions, but since I HAD used his name, I didn't think I could refuse such a reasonable request. I simply asked to be informed when the cartoon would be shown and Ms. Meny got back to me with that information. The cartoon appeared onscreen for less than a minute, during a "break in the action", and as far as I know, Rush never commented on it.






Selling Power, September 1990


sell0990.JPG This is the first of more than 75 cartoons that Selling Power magazine purchased from me. The publication started out as Personal Selling Power, a trade magazine for professional salespeople, shortened its name after a few years, and is very much still around. Unfortunately, however, about five years ago Selling Power completely stopped using cartoons as part of its editorial mix.

Not too long ago I cornered Selling Power's founder and publisher, Gerhard Gschwandtner, at a trade show (he was manning the Selling Power booth) and asked him why no more cartoons. He gave me what I considered a pretty wimpy answer, to the effect that while he personally loved the cartoons, the "design boys" decided they had to go, and he went along with that decision.

Bad thinking. If ever a publication needed cartoons and humor to supplement its hard-hitting editorial content, it's Selling Power.

A strange contradiction: Selling Power has an ongoing website, sellingpower.com, on which there is a "Cartoon of the Day" feature, using cartoons from past issues. My cartoons appear there on a regular basis. An even stranger contradiction: in 2005, Selling Power came out with a cartoon collection, "The Sunny Side of Selling", containing 200 cartoons from past issues (18 of them are mine). So Selling Power is obviously still very much cartoon-oriented.

C'mon, Mr. Gschwandtner, it's time to speak up! Bring cartoons back to Selling Power!






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