Award-winning editorial cartoonist Bruce Plante makes readers of Tulsa World think and laugh every weekday. He has more than 30 years of experience making thoughtful points about important political and social issues – with just one panel and a couple of word balloons. He is syndicated, his work appearing in newspapers and magazines from the New York Times to Newsweek.
Oklahoma Magazine: You’re coming up on three decades of professional cartooning. But when did you actually begin cartooning?
BP: Second grade. I drew a caricature of my teacher. She wasn’t supposed to see it, but she did. She grabbed the cartoon and dragged me into the hallway and started spanking me. She told me that cartooning was never going to get me anywhere. She did that spanking based on how many syllables the cartoon’s sentence had. It just made me try harder.
OM: During your career, which president has provided you with the most material?
BP: Reagan, and maybe Clinton. They’re real close. But probably Reagan.
OM: Which president has provided you with the best material?
BP: (laughs) I guess Clinton. Let’s just say I was for Clinton, voted for Clinton and, coming from Arkansas originally, I was really rooting for him. Then he pissed me off. I kind of vented my spleen, which always makes for better editorial cartoons.
OM: There are many paths that a talented illustrator can take. How did you arrive at political commentary and editorial work?
BP: That started in college. I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist. I grew up drawing characters from Marvel comics and MAD Magazine, that sort of thing. I was a real Spider-Man nut. Loved Thor. I got really bored drawing the stuff we had to draw for fine arts majors at the university. So, I started drawing caricatures at Six Flags Over Texas, just to get my foot in some kind of cartooning. When I got back to the university, I started drawing caricatures at fraternity parties and that sort of thing.Somebody dared me to draw the student government president. I drew