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Take a peek over Jim Borgman's shoulder

Jim Borgman has been the Enquirer's editorial cartoonist since 1976. Borgman has won every major award in his field, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the National Cartoonists Society's Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, and most recently, the Adamson Award in 2005 as International Cartoonist of the Year. His award-winning daily comic strip Zits, co-created with Jerry Scott, chronicles the life of 15-year-old Jeremy Duncan, his family and friends through the glories and challenges of the teenage years. Since debuting in July 1997, Zits has regularly finished #1 in reader comics polls across America and is syndicated in more than 1300 newspapers around the world.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Wonk City: Random Moments from a Random Comic Strip

In the mid-1990s I drew a weekly comic strip for the Washington Post called Wonk City. The main character was a bureaucrat in the Clinton White House named Gil Wonkmeister. The panel had an inside-the-beltway theme about the inner workings of government, which is ironic because not once during its two-year run did I set foot inside Washington DC and I have no idea how government works. After 100 or so episodes I quit because I felt like a fraud and have generally swept any memory of the endeavor under the rug.

I've been going back through WC lately and discovering to my surprise that there were actually some pretty fun and bizarre moments. Over time I intend to get them all scanned and logged into our archive, maybe even collect them in a little book. For now, enjoy these random scenes.


at 4/11/08, 11:21 AM Blogger Stacy Curtis said...

During my summer in Cincinnati, I remember going over to The Framery and seeing your editorial cartoons. I think it was there I saw a "Wonk City" you had drawn with Forrest Gump in it and I remember reaching into my back pocket, pulling out my wallet to see how much money I had.
I would have bought it that day if I had enough cash.

"Wonk City" spurred some beautiful, lush drawings.

at 4/11/08, 7:51 PM Blogger who2 said...

What a treat, thanks Jim. By the time I arrived home from work,in the '90s, I couldn't see to read any more so I missed the Washington Post, online and otherwise. So that you are sharing them now.

Was that your alter ego drawing? smile. Very different and just as great.


at 4/13/08, 8:11 AM Blogger Kevin said...

This strip has all the magic of your gag cartoons. Whyever did you stop? Can I ask what felt so fraudulent about this?

A great fan.

at 4/13/08, 2:19 PM Blogger EOCostello said...

As a Georgetown man (College of Arts & Sciences '89), I'm curious if you used any models for that building in the "Department of Non-Essential..." panel.

If you didn't, it's somewhat interesting, because you've managed to successfully (and amusingly) mix the landmark Healy Hall (with clock tower, highest point in NW DC) with the White-Gravenor building (now admin, was a classroom building in my time).

I'll grant you, this is a cherry-picked lot, but there are some flights of fancy here that come off rather well. (The "spin" cartoon was the one that impressed me, followed by WJC's "process" cartoon.) And let's face do cartoons about DC, or China, or Africa, or Japan all the time, and don't get there. Why be skittish about these cartoons?

at 4/14/08, 9:40 AM Blogger Jim Borgman said...

The building on the supposed Georgetown campus is just a figment of my imagination. It looks like I imagine Georgetown would look.

As to my skittishness, well, I may draw about Africa, but not for an African newspaper. This was a strip drawn about Washington and the machinations of Washington for Washington Post a guy in Ohio. The experience resembled those dreams of being on stage to perform an opera in front of a packed house and you can't sing and you've never heard of the opera and you can't find your clothes. (Or am I the only one who's had that dream?)

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