Editorial cartoonists often like to have fun in their commentary on public life. But 2015 started with a tragedy that struck cartoonists particularly hard: the deadly attack in January on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Twelve people were killed, including five cartoonists.
This horrific event was a reminder of the power of the pen, and the threat that ideas and truth-telling can be to extremists. Importantly, the attackers did not silence Charlie Hebdo. The newspaper continued to publish, and printed nearly 8 million copies of its next edition, compared with its normal 60,000.
Charlotte Observer readers are lucky to have their own truth-telling editorial cartoonist and one who is among the best in the nation. Kevin Siers won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning, the most prestigious prize in the business.
Siers combines artistic talent, a deep understanding of public affairs and an incisive sense of humor to poke at the absurd. There are no limits to his range; his playing field ranges from Jennifer Roberts to Vladimir Putin.
He had another outstanding year in 2015. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gov. Pat McCrory and the N.C. legislature provided plenty of fodder for Siers’ wit. He waded in to everything from the Charleston shootings to the transgender bathroom debate to Cam Newton’s dancing.
Whether a cartoon makes you chuckle or throw the paper down in disgust, Siers’ work is a vital part of the Observer’s commentary on public life. Here’s a selection of some of his best cartoons of 2015.