Tuesday, January 17, 2017
And that man is Stan Kelly, editorial cartoonist for The Onion.
(Sadly, he has the small problem of being fictional, but aren't all of our idols horribly flawed in this fallen age?)
The last ten years of Kelly's output -- in the world of The Onion, he's been doing this since 1966, when he joined the paper right out of college -- has been collected in the indispensable compendium Kelly: The Cartoonist America Turns To, as edited by the cartoonist Kelly calls "that no-talent sycophant Ward Sutton" in his afterword. (I would not dream of hinting that the cartoons attributed to the fictional Kelly were actually created by the not-at-all-fictional cartoonist Ward Sutton.)
Like all great cartoonists, Kelly's life and experiences comes through clearly in his cartoons, from the many nagging ex-wives and young children empowered by seeing their fathers leave to substantially more cartoons focusing on pornography (both of the online video and old-fashioned magazine-in-a-paper-bag variety) than any other editorial cartoonist. Stan Kelly is truly sui generis, and we Americans are blessed to have him. (Kelly, were he illustrating this paragraph, would have a small weeping Statue of Liberty to signify the moment, and would be absolutely right to do so.)
Kelly doesn't simply follow the ideology of any particular party -- he's strongly in favor of abortion, for example, presumably from his desire to keep young women from becoming "today's nagging wives" for as long as possible. And his view of the time when America was great shines through in many of his cartoons -- a time when the Kelly Everyman was younger, had all of his hair and a Member's Only jacket, and women were more appreciative of his advances. And don't we all want to return to a similar time in our own lives?
We need Kelly more than ever these days -- and this book is the best way to get concentrated Kelly.