RIP: Pulitzer-Winning Cartoonist Doug Marlette


NEW YORK TIMES OBIT: Doug Marlette, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist who also created “Kudzu,” the popular syndicated strip, died yesterday in a car accident in Mississippi. He was 57. A cartoonist who was unafraid to offend, Mr. Marlette was known for shocking his audiences with his pointed work. “His cartoons would make you stand up when you were reading the paper,” said Mike Peters, a friend and fellow cartoonist best known for the “Mother Goose & Grimm” comic strip.

And offend he did. In 2002, when he drew a cartoon showing a man in Arab headdress driving a Ryder rental truck hauling a nuclear missile — under the caption “What Would Mohammed Drive?” — he set off a campaign orchestrated by the Council on American-Islamic Relations; he and the newspaper received more than 20,000 e-mail messages from people who accused him of bigotry and blasphemy and some who included death threats.

Writing about the incident in The Tallahassee Democrat, where Mr. Marlette was then on staff, he said: “In my 30-year career I have regularly drawn cartoons that offend religious fundamentalists and true believers of every stripe, a fact that I tend to list in the “accomplishments” column of my resume. I have outraged fundamentalist Christians by skewering Jerry Falwell, Roman Catholics by needling the pope, and Jews by criticizing Israel. I have vast experience upsetting people with my art.” MORE

NOTE: Doug Marlette was scheduled to appear at the Free Library July 31st. That event has been canceled.

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