Whew! 2016 is almost over. From the ugliest presidential election in modern history to Harambe to the streetcar, there was no shortage of cartoon fodder this year. I’ve scoured my sketches to bring you my top 9 editorial cartoons of 2016.
With you until the end (Feb. 9)
The heroin epidemic has taken its toll on Greater Cincinnati. From a deadly spike of overdoses in August due to tainted heroin, to the threat of an explosion of HIV from dirty needles, our region has been trying to deal with the crisis. While drug trafficking is a law enforcement issue, the fact that addiction to heroin is a medical issue has become increasingly apparent.
One helluva show (April 21)
The world lost many influential people in 2016. From Muhammad Ali to David Bowie, it felt like we were continually saying goodbye to some of our greatest artists, musicians, athletes and heroes. The death of musical icon Prince was symbolic of that loss.
New Primate exhibit (June 2)
The unfortunate death of Harambe, the beloved gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, unleashed a firestorm of blame and memes on social media that continues to this day. The commentary on Harambe was just another symptom of our knee-jerk social media reactions to, well, just about everything.
History (June 15)
The Cincinnati Gardens was the site of so much Cincinnati history: the Royals, performances by the Beatles, Ezzard Charles’ boxing matches. But the outdated building has been sold to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, which is planning on demolishing the Gardens.
All blood spilled (July 8)
Race relations, and police conduct have been at the forefront of the news in 2016. Unarmed citizens have been killed by police. Police have felt at risk and under siege. But when Dallas police officers were killed by a sniper during a peaceful march to protest the deaths of unarmed black men, we were given a stark reminder that we are all vulnerable to violence.
I can be president (July 27)
The less said about the election, the better. But I overwhelmed by the response I received from this cartoon. It’s one of the few toons of my own that I’ve seen come across my own social media just because so many people around the country were sharing it. It spawned a few memes — Emperor Palpatine, lizard men and others declared they could be president, too — but what really struck me were the messages from mothers and fathers saying they were showing this cartoon to their daughters.
When did they put this thing in? (Aug. 16)
With much pomp and circumstance and bellyaching, the Cincinnati Streetca — er, sorry, the Cincinnati Bell Connector — finally opened for service. While it remains to be seen whether it will be popular or a money pit, it definitely will take some getting used to, especially for those drivers who keep running into the darn thing.
Come get me when it’s over (Nov. 4)
Again, the less said about the election, the better. Tension, anger and anxiety were high before Election Day, and are probably higher now that it’s over. But as much as we’d like to just bury our heads under a pillow, we know we can’t.
Godspeed, John Glenn (Dec. 8)
John Glenn, the former Ohio senator and the first American in orbit, passed away at 95. He was a national hero whose service to our country spanned decades was lauded by generations of Americans. Not only did we lose a great man, but perhaps we’ve also lost what he stood for: An aspiration to reach for the stars and to become better than what we are, rather than let ourselves be mired in the ugly divisions and harsh realities of our earthbound lives.
Bonus: My favorite cartoon that didn’t run
Each year I draw hundreds of sketches that never develop into full-blown cartoons. Occasionally, I’ll also draw a cartoon that gets finished, but due to the rapid pace of the news cycle, it becomes obsolete before I can publish it. I drew this cartoon during the Democratic National Convention. The Republicans had had a televised dumpster fire, and for a hot minute it looked like the Bernie wing of the Democratic Party might light a fire of their own at the DNC.