National Cartoonists' Day|
by Chelsea Baker
When many students receive a newspaper, the first thing they
do is turn to the comics page to laugh at humorously drawn figures
cracking jokes and witty remarks that many of us would never think
of. Though they may read comics every day, they may not know that
there is a national holiday to honor the people who struggle hard to
get their readers to laugh uproariously at those silly little
"I think it's important because we're honoring people who
make us laugh," said Sheena Kunik '03. "If you really think about it,
cartoonists change the way we think."
Cartoonist Day, May 5, is an annual holiday created by the
National Cartoonist Society (NCS) to commemorate cartoonists of all
venues. Whether they are a professional cartoonist whose funny frames
are printed in thirty or more languages or just a webcartoonist with
a small but dedicated audience, this little known holiday is deemed
important to many.
"It's important to realize the hard work that so many artists
are going through for so little compensation and to do what you can
to encourage its growth. But we all have dishes to do and Easter eggs
to hunt on the other days, so we limit our whining to one day a
year," said Darren Bleuel, a 30 year old webcartoonist from Berkeley,
CA. "The holiday isn't really important to me yet. However, I look
forward to a day when it will be. The day when I don't feel the need
to remind people of our hard work will be the important day."
For years the NCS has encouraged its members to let people
know about it by incorporating the day into their comics as much as
"I'm trying to promote it [Cartoonist Day]," said Kunik. "I
was drawing a cartoon and I wrote 'Cartoonist Appreciation Day" all
over a calendar in the background."
There are many ways to show appreciation for a favorite
cartoonist. Some choose to write a letter or send a card to a
cartoonist they know whereas others just tell them that they are
grateful for the laughter and insight cartoonists bring into their
"Everyone has individual skills, contacts and abilities,"
said Bleuel. "If you care about something--if you enjoy
something--you should encourage it's continued existence any way you
can. If you work for an entertainment company, encourage them from
within to advertise or sponsor a major webcomic conglomerate. If you
have friends who don't read webcomics, make them. If you live in a
small hole on a rocky hillside, tell Thag I said hi. I absolutely
think people should get me flowers and take me out for ice cream on
this holiday, because I like flowers and ice cream."
Cartoonist Day is not always a welcomed event for all
cartoonists. Some say that to promote the event, they have to work
harder which defeats the purpose of having the holiday.
" Last year, we were all supposed to draw a special 'bonus
Cartoonists' Day' strip on May fifth," said Bleuel. "That's kind of
obnoxious for us, isn't it? Here it is, our special day, and we have
to work harder for it? I wasn't able to, simply because I am so
overworked, so I put up an essay on who we are and what we do and why
we are so overworked and don't have time to put up special bonus
For the most part, cartoonists are just glad to receive some
recognition for doing a job that is often overlooked.