PAUL CONRAD: Drawing Fire



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Letters to the Editor







A cartoon containing four caricature drawings of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and Bill Clinton

Former Los Angeles Times editor John Carroll said: “A newspaper is a lightning rod, and it’s a magnet for people who are upset, some of whom might not be on the right side of the line between sanity and insanity. We get all kinds of letters.” And nobody got more letters than Paul Conrad. This sampling of letters regarding Conrad’s cartoons demonstrates the power and reach of his work.

The Good, the Bad and the Angry

“I have no voice at all to slap your god damned face for all your lies but I hope God Almighty tears you in half like a turkey wishbone. God bless Richard Nixon. God damn Conrad. Say hello to Woodward and Bernstein when you get to hell and start burning!” —1979

“I had no idea the Los Angeles Times was so hard-up to sell newspapers. You, as a political cartoonist should be FIRED!” —1979

“Allow me to express my sincere appreciation on your display of immense courage. You have continually refused to bow to the crowd and bravely defended virtues that have kept our civilization alive…. You are among the 1% of America’s population that truly keeps the torch on the Statue of Liberty shining. I hope you will keep it alight for a long time to come and provide encouragement for others to speak out too.” —1986

“Dear Mr. Conrad, I like your cartoon ‘The Vampire Strikes Back.’ Before you invented yours, I made up ‘The Umpire Strikes Back’ because my sister plays baseball. I drew a picture for you. I am six years old. Love, Peter” —1986

Conrad’s response:

“Dear Peter, I like your cartoon ‘The Umpire Strikes Back.’ I made up ‘The Vampire Strikes Back’ because Nixon was my president. I am 61 years old. Love, Paul Conrad”

“The world is a better place for you being here. Don’t leave.” —1987

“I want to thank you for your unflagging confrontation through the years—of the poseurs and killers, the greed-merchants and hypocrites, the militarists and the elitists, and all the others who would subvert our humanity and our divinity. You make my day. You often keep me from despair.” —1990

“Conrad, you snake, I'd like to meet you tonight and will cut you to pieces with my own hands.”
—1991

View and comment on a gallery of Paul Conrad's presidential cartoons >>

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