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Oliphant looks back on W.

Posted by Dan Wasserman  November 14, 2008 02:52 PM

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If you want a viscerally gripping and hilarious summary of the eight years of W, there is probably no better place to look than Pat Oliphant's cartoon collection, "Leadership". Designed as the catalog for a traveling exhibition of Oliphant's drawings, it came out some months ago, but I only recently sat down with a copy. It's terrific and reminded me why Oliphant has been the premier political cartoonist in the US for over 40 years.

oliphant.jpg

The satire is biting, and the drawing is distinctive, forceful and innovative. Among the nicest features of the collection is the inclusion of preliminary sketches for certain cartoons, so the reader can appreciate the development of Oliphant's thinking and drawing. The book also has photos of some of the cartoonist's Daumier-like sculptures of political figures. I've seen them in person, and the photos don't do them justice. Andrews McMeel is the publisher; P.J. O'Rourke wrote the funny intro. (And to see the passions that Oliphant can stir, check out this earlier post where Pat draws Palin.)

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Dan Wasserman has been cartooning for the Globe editorial page since 1985. He has published two collections of drawings, "We've Been Framed" (Faber & Faber, 1987) and "Paper Cuts" (Ivan R. Dee, 1995). His cartoons are widely reprinted and are syndicated internationally by Tribune Media Services. He draws more quickly than he types.
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