About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

July 17th, 2013
05:47 PM ET

Political cartooning struggles, but Matt Bors sketches on

Layoffs in the newspaper business have become fairly commonplace, and the newspaper industry slide also means the decline of a once-cherished aspect of print: Political cartoons.

Political cartoonists have been immensely influential over the years. The Washington Post's Herblock made Nixon's enemies list.

But regrettably, the field is fading. Full-time political cartoonist Matt Bors, 29, may be one of the last.

With a ruler, an inkbottle, a coffee-stained sketchbook and a sharp political mind, Bors has mastered a dying craft.

"I seem to be the perennial youngest [political cartoonist] unfortunately," said Bors. "There certainly aren't any jobs at newspapers or really on websites either."

According to the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, there are fewer than 100 staff cartoonists in America compared with 280 three decades ago.

"Creatively, it's flourishing and doing amazing. I think it's going to be permanently diminished you know, just like a lot of journalism," said Bors. "The heyday of newspapers is never coming back, so it's more of a freelancer position now, which is what I'm doing. But you know, there's still people out there willing to do it."

Read Mat Bors' special to CNN.com: The generation we love to dump on

Bors is more than willing, and certainly able. His highly progressive commentary on controversial issues has gained him national syndication and a spot on the short list for a Pulitzer Prize last year.

"I wasn't really into political cartooning for a long time," said Bors. "I always wanted to draw X-men and stuff. I didn't really get into political cartooning until the run up to the Iraq war 10 years ago. And I was in art school at the time and started drawing cartoons about the Iraq invasion for the student newspaper, and then I just kind of did one the week after and the week after, and now I've done 1,000."

"War is Boring" was the attention-grabbing title of Bors’s first graphic novel with war journalist David Axe, published in 2010. That same year, Bors took his sketchpad to Afghanistan to draw attention to the scenes there.

Now, he's incorporated those sketches into a book that's all his own.

"It's all of my work from the last four years divided into chapters based on things I cover a lot. There's a chapter called "Dear Gun Nuts," there's a chapter on my trip to Afghanistan ... a chapter on the economy, women's reproductive rights, gay rights, all the stuff that I tend to focus on a lot," said Bors.

You can watch more of Matt Bors here, and here.

And check out the video above for the “cartoon off” between CNN's Jake Tapper, a self-described "failed cartoonist" (Tapper had a college comic strip, and also tried to have a comic strip syndicated), and Matt Bors. They draw their best versions of President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Posted by ,
Filed under: Pop Lead
soundoff (No Responses)

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.