Cartoon Editor Etiquette

Cartoon Editor Etiquette

Cartoon editor etiquette is a topic I discussed with fellow cartoonists with whom Icartoon-editor-etiquette had kept in touch with. I pen-pal’d with many magazine cartoonists back in the day when it seemed everybody and their sister had purchased single panel gag cartoons for whatever magazine out there had a sense of humor.

Some cartoonists would complain of getting batches back where several cartoons actually had notes scribbled on the font of the originals.

I myself would get cartoons returned where it was obvious that someone had spilled coffee on the artwork. A worse case scenario once had me get a batch back in a plastic sleeve, along with an apology from the U.S. Postal Service. The entire envelope had become mangled in transit, either in a sorting machine or cancelling machine of some sort.


Of course, I had no way of following up to see what caused it along the way. It just wasn’t worth it and my best recourse was to actually redraw all the originals. Over time, I grew more aware of copyrights, and learned ways to protect the authenticity of original art by submitting clean photocopies of originals.  I mean, the publications weren’t buying the actual original artwork anyway, just the publishing rights to the cartoon(s) in question.

Rights were usually one-time publishing rights, which allowed me greater flexibility in which to negotiate the additional use of that same cartoon, should other editors show an interest in the same drawing.

Submitting cartoons to magazines was always a gamble, since you always faced a good chance of rejection. Getting your cherished images actually damaged shouldn’t happen, but there was always the chance. Even losing a cartoon submission wasn’t out of the question if you were a cartoonist who did gag cartoons for a living.

One time I mailed a larger selection The National Enquirer. This wasn’t long after 911 and the terror attacks on New York City. After some time I looked back into my records and having realized I never had a response to this particular submission, I contacted one of American Media’s publishing divisions as to the whereabouts of the editors at National Enquirer and discovered their editorial offices had been quarantined and everything in the building was being disposed of, due to an anthrax contamination. This included my cartoons!


I’m certain many other cartoonists and photographer’s and writers had lost work, but yet another aspect of the times we now live in and more of a reason for creatives to submit their work electronically.