Cartoons that didn’t make it


John Elway threw an incomplete pass now and then. In his prime, Tiger Woods three-putted every once in a while. Even the top cartoonists in the world get their cartoons rejected from time to time.

So if those guys have off days, you can imagine what it is like being me.

rejected snow angels

My handlers at Navy and Marine Corps Times have pretty much allowed me free rein with cartoon submissions, but even they have their limits.

Thank goodness.

Military cartoonists tread in hazardous waters because we poke fun of people who work in a very dangerous profession. Something that looks funny one day might become terribly inappropriate after an accident or battle. So I am glad the good folks I work for keep an eye on me. They are my wing men.

But sometimes the cartoons just don’t work. They aren’t funny (see “non-skid angels), no one understands them, or they cross the line into “inappropriate” territory. Like this one:

rejected CIWS397jpg

The editors thought it looked too … how shall I say … anatomically correct. Not my intention, but if they thought it looked bad, so would others. That launcher, by the way, took me FOREVER to draw. In its place, this one got published:

rejected 09052521ReplacementNMCteamcolor

(I think the CIWS one was funnier.)

There are others out there, most of which, upon introspection, were definitely not appropriate for publishing. There are others that I wish they HAD rejected. Over the span of 28 years drawing Broadside, I have often been asked which is my favorite cartoon. That is a tough question, but the one that I usually name is this one – not because it is drawn particularly well, but because it is so true:

rejected aviatorsviewSWO

I never get asked which is my LEAST favorite.

rejected 10070527viceadmiralcolor

Vice Admiral. Get it?

Nobody else did either. Even I don’t think it is funny, and I drew it. Yet it got published back in June 2010.

My wing men must have returned to base that day.


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  1. Jeff, Two things. I think that was a darn fine CIWS drawing (said as a Spruance Class FCO) and you captured me perfectly manning the SPA-25…

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