The news broke on August 26th, in Daryl Cagle’s blog. The headline read, New Syndicated Editorial Cartoonist: Randall Enos!
This sleepy journalist, who dozes through nearly every development and deadline, sat up and noticed. Randall Enos, illustrator extraordinaire whose work has been featured by all the old grey ladies (The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reader’s Digest) and their black sheep sisters (Playboy, National Lampoon), has joined Cagle’s syndicate. This is extremely welcome news, because we all know Enos will bring his own unique sense of style to political cartooning, that wonderful exercise of free speech out at the blunt, brazen, and blasphemous limits.
‘Tis the season for campaigns and other types of egregious politicking, and that means ’tis the season for political cartoonists, the best friends of democracy, those who don’t mind poking at the soft belly of the political machine with the sharpest stick they can find. I’m proud to say Randall Enos has joined ITCH for the first in our series of interviews with political cartoonists.
What was your first comic strip/cartoon/comic?
I started my career teaching at the Famous Artists School in their newly formed Cartoon Course (I was the first one hired). While I was there for eight years, I started my free-lance career doing not strips or panels but magazine and newspaper illustrations for places like Playboy and Harper’s Magazine. My actual first free-lance job was for a magazine called Cavalcade. I later also did some animation.
My first comic strip was Chicken Gutz for The National Lampoon, years later. Eventually I also did two strips which alternated in Playboy on their Funny Pages.
Is political cartooning a recent creative turn for you? And if so, why get into political cartooning now?
I’ve never “officially” been a political cartoonist before. But I have done quite a few for a group called INX…and throughout my 54 years in the business, I’ve done other political cartoons. I got interested because my regular markets — the newspaper and magazine illustration markets — are drying up on me and I’m looking for new things to do. I met Daryl Cagle at a National Cartoonists Reuben weekend where I had been nominated for my Broadway show poster. He knew and loved my work from way back and asked me if I might like to join his syndicate…so I did. It’s a little different for me. I think I’ll get the hang of it soon and then WATCH OUT!
What are you reading right now?
I am Azorean Portuguese by heritage and I have a strong interest in studying whaling history so the book I am currently reading is And So Ends This Day which is about the Azorean Portuguese and their involvement in the whaling industry.
I would love to go whaling with you sometime. I have an excellent stomach for the ocean. But not much stomach for killing, so I might go below deck when that part happens.
Hey…I don’t kill animals either. Mocha Dick that I’m writing about was a hero whale. He protected his species from the whale hunters. I’ve already done one limited edition (36 copies) about this whale, hand bound, hand stitched, and beautifully printed on an old Vandercook printing press. It’s called The Life and Death of Mocha Dick. We sell it for $300.
What is your guilty pleasure? At least, the one that really answers an ITCH!
I’d have to say movies. I’m a terrible film addict and even watch while I’m working sometimes but I’m trying (after 54 years of doing it) to rid myself of the habit.
Who was the first cartoonist/animator you met?
My boss at the Famous Artists School, Bud Sagendorf who drew Popeye. He also gave me week-end work helping him on the Popeye comic books.
Which dead cartoonist/animator would you most like to meet?
George Herriman of course.
What would you say?
I’d say, “Mr. Herriman, sir, what were you thinking…a Kat with an ambiguous sexual identification?”
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
I think getting to do a Broadway theater poster (and ad graphics and web-site illustrations). It was off-beat with all my crazy linocut lettering etc.
Please tell us a little about your latest project.
My latest project is a children’s book that I am writing and illustrating for Creative Editions. It’s also about the huge white whale Mocha Dick — who was the REAL Moby Dick.
Which old-time cartoon character do you most identify with?
What a crazy question. Do most cartoonists identify with old-time cartoon characters?
If I had to pick one, I guess I’d say Jiggs from Bringing Up Father. I like his style. He’s impressed me from when I was a kid and now that I am also a hen-pecked husband who yearns to escape to the guilty pleasures of corned beef & cabbage in the company of low-lifes at the local tavern (even though I don’t drink… anymore), I guess I identify even more.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I guess to be able to cloud men’s minds so they couldn’t see me… the way The Shadow did.
Check out Randall Enos’s new page at Daryl Cagle’s Political Cartoonists Index. It’s election season, which for fans of comics can mean only one thing: an avalanche of sharp wit, irreverence, and laffs galore!
And as always: Thanks, Randy!