(Bill Janocha draws Beetle, Milburn Taylor points to the finished product)
In an unbelievable breach of security, USS PELELIU (LHA 5) allowed thirteen professional cartoonists to slip aboard and invade the crew’s mess…during chow!
It all worked out, however, because the doodlers weren’t that hungry. So instead of eating, they drew for the crew. Normally, the cartoonists are so busy drawing (and easily distracted) that they forget to take pictures, but fortunately the group invited a retired Master Chief to come along, and he knew how to work a camera. He took some great shots of the interaction between the artists and the crew.
(Michael Ramirez draws for a Sailor)
If you have ever seen one of these visits, you will know that they get pretty noisy. Imagine a room full of people talking, laughing, and showing off personalized artwork (rarely flattering, but always entertaining), and you get the picture. On board the PELELIU, it got downright raucous.
(Greg Evans (arm), Steve Moore, Ray Alma, Daryl Cagle keeping busy)
This was the largest group of cartoonists that has traveled to visit the troops since the National Cartoonists Society reinvigorated the program some six years ago. On the trip were:
Bill Janocha (Mort Walker Studios/Beetle Bailey)
Michael Ramirez (Investors Business Daily)
Greg Evans (Luann)
Paul Combs (Firefighting cartoonist)
Steve Moore (In the Bleachers/Open Season)
Pat Hrabe (Hey Shipwreck/Tube Daze)
Julie Negron (Jenny)
Daryl Cagle (MSNBC/Cagle Cartoons)
Bill Amend (Foxtrot)
Bruce Higdon (Punderstatements)
Ray Alma (MAD)
Milburn Taylor (Advertising cartoonist)
Jeff Bacon (Broadside/Greenside)
It is an incredibly talented and impressive group of artists, and the trip is still going on. On Wednesday they drew for the Combat and Operational Stress conference in San Diego and participated in a panel discussion on how humor helps the healing process. On Thursday the group will visit the troops at the Naval Regional Medical Center and the VA in La Jolla.
Are the cartoonists heroes? Nah. But they draw for heroes, and that’s good enough for me.