In light of yesterday’s announcement of James Kochalka being appointed “country’s first ever” Cartoonist Laureate in Vermont, it appears that one other state has previously named a cartoonist laureate, Chad Carpenter. And what state would that be? Alaska. That’s right, the 50th state in terms of population density per square mile named a Cartoonist Laureate before states like Oregon, Washington, California, New York and the ever-burgeoning Vermont. These states are pregnant with cartoonists, illustrators, animators and graphic novelists. When asked about the erroneous credit The Center For Cartoon Studies co-founder, James Sturm, stated, “I should have known. Alaska is the only state in the country that has a longer cartooning season than Vermont.” For those down south, cartooning season lasts as long as there is snow on the ground and whiskey in your mug.
So, calling all states (aside from Vermont and Alaska) to step up to the plate. Creators and publishers, rustle up some enthusiasm not just for books sales but the love of the medium! Fans, get into it! Create a committee (possibly with the backing of a trusted cartooning institution in your state) and don’t just wait for a bill to pass through your local government. Select a cartoonist who not only creates influential or a large volume work but gives back to the community. Then publicly celebrate that cartoonist to the best of your abilities.
Please email me once you have a cartoonist in your state selected as Cartoonist Laureate (or if you need help choosing one) and definitely send the details of the celebration so that all may revel in our shared love of comics. And remember, you’ll have a lot of cartoonists worthy of the title but you can always name another laureate.