• Miles O'Neal

My Brief Career as a Cartoonist

A former employer (long ago consumed by a larger company) had a monthly in-house newsletter. I offered to draw cartoons for it, and they accepted. But management at this company had a paranoid attitude, and many of my cartoons were rejected out of fear they contained subversive messages (they did not). Out of the half dozen issues I submitted a cartoon for, I believe only the first got through on one try. The cartoon below was eventually accepted. The other months I had to draw a second or even third cartoon before it was deemed innocuous enough to run.

"Louis finally send a letter home from college." His mother is peering out the door at a five foot stone Q that has been delivered to the house from Louis.

A good friend, Louis Snyder, had left the company. No one heard from him for a few weeks, and someone wished he'd "send a letter home". We joked around with that concept, and the cartoon idea germinated with a visual pun. The initial rejection was based on a bit of logic so convoluted I couldn't follow it, but somehow the theme was "clearly" trying to blame management for Louis's departure. While Louis definitely left because of management shenanigans, there was no such message in the cartoon. "It's a joke, son, Ah say, it's a JOKE!" (I remember hearing Foghorn Leghorn in my head, and having to argue myself out of letting him escape in the discussion with management.)

The original panel got damaged and I had to draw it again in a hurry; it's not as clean as the original.

Pro tip: If you have any alternatives at all, don't stay at a company like that without a really good reason.

Cartoon copyright 1986 Miles O'Neal, Marietta, GA. All rights reserved. Text copyright 2019 Miles O'Neal, Round Rock, TX. All rights reserved.

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