Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Wayne Stayskal 1931 - 2018

Editorial cartoonist Wayne Stayskal passed away on November 20, 2018 from complications due to Alzheimer's Disease. He was 86 years old.

Born in Oak Park, IL on December 11, 1931, he graduated from Steinmetz High School in 1950. After serving in the US Air Force, he married his longtime sweetheart Helen on September 21, 1951. With her encouragement, he enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He graduated in 1956, and became the Art Director for the Chicago American in 1957. He succeeded his mentor, Vaughan Shoemaker, as chief cartoonist at the paper. When the Chicago America went out of business in 1972, Wayne worked as editorial cartoonist at the Chicago Tribune until 1984. He then worked in that same capacity for from 1984 to 2004 for the Tampa Tribune. He retired in 2010.

From his Wikipedia page:

A Chicago native, Stayskal was the son of Harold Stejskal, a railway mail supervisor for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific railroad.  He grew up in Chicago and graduated in 1950 from Steinmetz High School.  Stayskal had wanted to be a cartoonist since he was a boy sprawled on his living room floor, copying the characters in timeless comic strips like “Dick Tracy” and “Blondie,” he told the Tribune in 1974.
“His obvious talent to draw…was seen in him as a child by his parents, Mary and Harold (and) they encouraged I’m to take art classes in school and later attend art school,” John Stayskal said.  “His wife Helen…also saw his talent and encouraged him to pursue a career drawing.”
Stayskal served in the Air Force before enrolling in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, where he earned a degree in 1956.  After first working in advertising art, Stayskal joined the Chicago American newspaper in 1957 as an artist for its Sunday magazine.
While working at the American, which was renamed Chicago’s American in 1959, Stayskal drew illustrations for the magazine and occasional sketches to accompany feature stories.  During that time, Stayskal found his real interest was in becoming an editorial cartoonist.
“I decided to go up and talk to the editorial cartoonists at the newspaper, but I couldn’t find their office,” Stayskal told the Tribune’s Robert Davis in 1974.  “I asked the art director and he told me they were syndicated out of other cities.  We didn’t even have an editorial cartoonist of our own.”
After legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Vaughn Shoemaker joined the American in 1961, Shoemaker took on Stayskal as his assistant, “and I learned at his side.”
Stayskal continued with the American after it was renamed Chicago Today and converted to a tabloid in 1969.  His cartoons were produced from a conservative political perspective, including staunch opposition to abortion.
“Wayne Stayskal was a reliable, thoughtful conservative who was unafraid to state that which he believed. In a cartooning profession that was and remains overwhelmingly liberal, Wayne had the courage of his convictions,” Stantis said.
Stayskal’s views on abortion “cost him many clients but won him grudging admiration for taking such a strong moral stance in his work, especially at a time when many editorial cartoonists were going for laughs over substance,” Stantis said.
In April 1970, Stayskal published a cartoon that drew significant response from readers, about the failed Apollo 13 mission to the moon.  As the distressed Apollo 13 capsule was returning to Earth after its crippling accident near the moon, Stayskal drew a cartoon showing hands outstretched from the Earth to welcome the capsule.
“People really felt that cartoon; but it’s funny, I don’t want to draw that way,” Stayskal told the Tribune in 1974.
In January 1973, Chicago Today discontinued its weekend editions, and Stayskal’s work began appearing on Sundays in the Tribune’s Perspective section.  After the Tribune absorbed Chicago Today in September 1974, Stayskal’s editorial cartoons began appearing six days a week in the Tribune.
“Humor has that unique dimension to cut through the seriousness of what’s happening today, though as James Thurber said, ‘Humor is a very serious thing,’” Stayskal told the Tribune in 1974.  “I don’t draw humor for humor’s sake.  My cartoons, hopefully, clarify some very serious situations in the country — things people are thinking about and talking about, that are affecting them — and capture the humorous side of American life.”
Stayskal left the Tribune in 1984 to move to Tampa to work as an editorial cartoonist for the Tampa Tribune.  His work was syndicated nationwide by Tribune Media, and he also drew several comic strips for at time, including “Balderdash” and “Ralph,” and under the pseudonym “Hal Trim,” he wrote the single-panel sports strip “Trim’s Arena.”
Stayskal also coauthored several books with his good friend, conservative columnist, Cal Thomas, including the 1985 book “Liberals for Lunch.”
Cal Thomas has honored Wayne by saying, "I think he has been one of the greatest cartoonist/commentators of our time, especially on matters touching on faith and culture." [1]
During his career, Stayskal received many honors.  Locally, he was honored by the Chicago Newspaper Guild in 1975 for service to journalism.  He also was honored in 1970 by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge with an Honor Certificate Award for a 1969 cartoon depicting the moon landing.
After retiring from the Tampa Tribune in 2004, Stayskal continued to draw syndicated cartoons until retiring completely in 2010.  Also after retiring from the Tampa Tribune, Stayskal and his wife moved back to the Chicago area, settling first in St. Charles and then in a retirement community in Carol Stream.[2] (Much of this Wikipedia entry was taken from Bob Goldsborough's obituary for Wayne.)
After retiring from the Tampa Tribune in 2004, Stayskal continued to draw syndicated cartoons until retiring completely in 2010.  Also after retiring from the Tampa Tribune, Stayskal and his wife moved back to the Chicago area, settling first in St. Charles and then in a retirement community in Carol Stream.
It was said of Wayne, “For four decades, Stayskal’s distinctive, loose style and razor-sharp wit have thrilled his admirers, enraged his political targets, and explored the frontiers of political satire. In short, Stayskal embodies those qualities that make a great newspaper cartoonist: He draws both blood and laughs." [3]

1 comment:

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