No laughing matter

"No laughing matter" Continued...

Issue: "Beyond the body count," Nov. 5, 2011

Most of the time Varvel is more subtle about a Christian perspective, though he clearly gives views right-of-center and finds ways to defend traditional values and poke fun at cultural relativism: "You want to shine a light, but you don't want to stick a flashlight in their face," he says of the mixed audience of a metropolitan newspaper.

Varvel credits the old Mad magazine for inspiration for drawing at a young age. "Dad used to buy it for us," he recalled. "I don't think I ever read it. I learned how to draw caricatures from it." At a high school in Danville, Ind., he won a cartooning contest in ninth grade and started drawing for the school newspaper. He was surprised to learn that someone could earn a living by actually drawing pictures.: "I thought someone drew the cartoons for fun and had a real job on the side."

When he started in 1978 there were 200 full-time newspaper cartoonists: Now Varvel estimates there are less than 50. When young people ask him about such a career, he has some cautions: "I have to give them the grim reality-a lot of cartoonists have been laid off." But artists can find other ways to draw: "There are a lot of forms of cartooning-animation for a movie studio, for example. The opportunities to do what I'm doing were never very good, even when there were 200 of us."

Russ Pulliam
Russ Pulliam

Russ is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, the director of the Pulliam Fellowship, and a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Quake alerts

    Researchers say groups of smartphones may be able to…


    Deathly fears

    How to face the overwhelming but inevitable end of…


    No concessions

    We must strongly support the rights of those who…