Election 2008: An Interview with Tim Kreider

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For hundreds of years, editorial cartooning has played a role central to the political process, criticizing, lampooning, and generally bringing down a peg those who have chosen to place themselves on soapboxes. The medium has proven itself an ideal format for those subject matters we’ve otherwise had difficultly expressing by other means.

We’re two days away from what many on all sides of the political divide have deemed the most important election of their lifetime, and while we’re not quite at the finish line looking back, we’ve certainly experienced enough over the past ten months to give us a fitting picture of how the majority of the 2008 presidential election has played out. The time seemed opportune to speak with a veteran political cartoonist about the ways in which the race has played out on their end—a state of the union of sorts for editorial cartooning.

When I put the call out suggested interviewees (thanks, Twitter), the majority of responses turned to Tim Kreider. Kreider has been producing his weekly strip, The Pain—When Will it End, since 1997. About three years into the process, said pain turned external, and the artist’s work shifted its focus toward the political, a move which soon consumed his work, transforming him, for better or worse, into a full-fledged political cartoonist.

Kreider’s work has since been anthologized as two books by Fantagraphics: The Pain—When will it End and Why do They Kill Me? Recently, the artist announced plans to end the publication of  his weekly strip in its current form, early next year.

We spoke to Kreider about the state of editorial cartooning in 2008, the role of equal time, and what precisely his proposed retirement means.

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