I got my copy of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists’ “Golden Notebook” in the mail today. It’s the 50th anniversary of the organization’s newsletter, and if you have any interest in the world of editorial cartooning, you need to find a way to get your hands on it. Editor & Publisher claims the book will be made available for sale to the public, but I’ve looked all over the AAEC’s site for a link and I can’t find anything. (My copy was sent to me for some reason – I’m not a member, so maybe it was a review copy?)
While it is built around a history of the AAEC, no history of a cartoonists’ organization would be useful without the relevant context providing a backdrop, and thus the AAEC’s history ends up becoming a history of American editorial cartooning for the past 50 years.
There’s a lot of stuff that will be pretty meaningless to anyone who doesn’t care about who the officers have been throughout the years or what the admission to the convention was 30 years ago (there’s a Paul Fell sighting on page 81), but there are also some reprints of classic articles like “The Rise and Fall of the Political Cartoon” by Henry Ladd Smith from the May 29, 1954 issue of the Saturday Review and “Why Political Cartoonists Sell Out” by Lee Judge and Richard Samuel West from the September 1988 issue of The Washington Monthly.
The book is in no way a simple glorification of its members – one of my favorite articles is “Editorial Cartoonists & 9/11,” subtitled “A cliche’s high-water mark, or, Liberty wept.” It includes quotes from cartoonists’ discussing the onslaught of cartoons depicting the Statue of Liberty crying in the aftermath, including some damning statements like this one from Ted Rall: “The problem is…the Statue of Liberty crying, with a hole in her chest or with a model airplane smashing into her side only conveys one concept: Lazy Editorial Cartoonist.” (More quotes from the discussion can be found on the AAEC’s website on this page)
I unfortunately have no idea how much this thing costs, but someone at The AAEC should be able to help.