R. Cobb: Still sitting on his shoulder

Cartoons by Ron Cobb
Way back in 1968 we were editing the local news pages of the late, great Oceanside Blade-Tribune, a Southern California long since swallowed up in a wave of buyouts and merged with another paper which was itself merged and swallowed up by yet another chain, this one owned by investment bankers.

In those long-ago days, once a week we headed down to the local newsstand and grabbed up copies of two great alternative papers, both also long vanished.

The San Diego Door boasted some excellent anonymous reporting on the local power structure, including the local mafia clan and a developer with close tires to Richard Nixon and other Republican power players. We later learned that the stories were written by the late, great Neil Morgan, a highly respected columnist for the San Diego Evening Tribune [itself merged and now owned by the same company that owns the successors to the Blade-Tribune]. Morgan used the door as an outlet for stories he couldn’t get into his own paper.

The other paper we grabbed was the Los Angeles Free Press, another long-vanished and often-excellent freebie.

And the first thing we turned to when we opened the Freep, as the Free Press was called, was the weekly offering from R. Cobb, far and away the greatest editorial cartoonist for the nation’s then thriving alternative press.

Cobb, who would become an inspiration for Mr. Fish, our current alternative media cartoonist, and you can see why.

Both a have superb control of the line as well as keen insight, coupled with an acerbic wit.

And though today’s R. Cobb entry is 49 years old, the admonition it conveys is just as relevant today.


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