I also like Pat Oliphant, though he’s not exactly leftist – seems to be equally ready to skewer whoever’s in power.
My least favorite is Wayne Stayskal (http://www.comicspage.com/stayskal/), a right-wing editorial cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune, whose work has inexplicably gone into syndication. Not only do I disagree violently with practically everything he has to say, but his mode of saying it is always crude, clumsy, stupid and lame. I would call Stayskal the Bil Keane of political cartooning but that would insult Keane, whose wit and artistic talent both are vastly superior, which should give you some idea why I hate Stayskal.
Stayskal has NOTHING on Chuck Asay. Nothing. I gain perverse pleasure from reading his comics, and I’ve yet to see one that has an actual joke in it. It wouldn’t even have to be a good joke. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but there’s something about editorial cartooning that this guy misses completely.
But at least Asay can draw passably, which separates him from the blight upon editorial cartooning that is Barry Shelton. In fact, most of the cartoons at CNSNews’s cartoon page are hilariously bad. And yes, it’s got Stayskal in it. I’ve considered bringing it to everyone’s attention via a Pit thread or something, but really, it’s rather inconsequential.
Michael Ramirez of the Los Angeles Times is another mindless conservative political cartoonist (a redundant phrase, maybe?). Putting aside the grotesque people in his cartoons, I’m just peeved at how his topics are always a predictable regurgitation of whatever the GOP Groupthink Idea Of The Day is. I have yet to see a Ramirez strip which offers anything more insightful than stereotypical conservative posturing. Ramirez is doubly embarassing when you compare him with his predecessor, Paul Conrad, who at his prime was able to skewer targets all across the political spectrum with uncanny precision.
Tom Tomorrow has the most consistently intelligent, well-reasoned cartoons I’ve ever seen. He’s even aware of the fact that he’s basically “getting mad once a week” and probably won’t make much of a difference.
I think all the ripping of Ted Rall is precisely why we need him. He’s not afraid of criticism and won’t pull punches to make anyone feel better. (For the record, his beef with the 911 widows was that they were getting well over A MILLION DOLLARS EACH. Even most of the donators believed that they should only get enough to get back on their feet.) Actually, I’m more impressed by his essays and how much actual, hard research he puts into them…his piece on the former Soviet Union alone should be required reading.
Peter Bagge is a little more centrist than the typical cartoonist, but he usually has plenty of good insights and in general seems open and honest.
Oh, and I’d better not forget my favorite “indie”, August Pollak. It’s true…it’s amazing that somone this young knows so much about the world.
And the worst? Bruce Tinsley and ANYONE like him. Conservative viewpoint I don’t mind, not having a single intelligent thought, I do.
(P.S.: Animation-wise, I wholeheartedly recommend Mark Fiore.)
McGruder is kind of a nut in person (albeit a nut with a great sense of humor and a lot of charisma), but that doesn’t stop The Boondocks from being one of the very few newspaper strips I still consider worth reading.
I find Ted Rall’s wit engagingly sharp, even if I often disagree with his unhesitant demonization of all things right.
Bob the Angry Flower isn’t a political cartoon per se, but the cartoonist’s political opinions are often expressed in it. Plus it has one of the best comic triumvirates of the last decade: Bob the aforementioned angry flower, Stumpy (a deadpan talking piece of wood), and Freddie the Flying Fetus.
Whoops, forgot to list my least favs… Stayskal and Asay are both horrid. Johnny Hart’s comic strips annoy me intensely whenever he injects his uberChristianity into them (they’re merely monotonous when he doesn’t).
I’d have to say David Horsey of the Seattle PI is my favorite. And I’ll second Kantalooppi Chuck Asay is the worst. No set up, no joke, no real idea’s other than whatever is in the latest “Liberal’s are Liable” newsletter that the GOP has been handing out. Unfortunately he is a local here in Colorado Springs, so I get to see his work every day. Lucky me.