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Editorial cartoon

An editorial cartoon, also known as a political cartoon is an illustration or comic strip containing a political or social message.

Editorial cartoons can be very diverse, but there is a certain established style among most of them. Most editorial cartoons use visual metaphors and caricatures to explain complicated political situtations, and thus sum up a current event with a humorous picture.

In modern political cartooning there is a division between two styles. One is the tradtional 'nasti' style, named after Thomas Nast who developed this style. Becoming more popular is a much more text heavy 'alti' style that tells a linear story and uses fewer images.

Over the years, certain common metaphors and symbols have been repeatedly used by many different cartoonists. Examples include the use of a donkey and elephant to represent the Democratic Party and Republican Party respectively, Uncle Sam to represent the United States, a bear to represent Russia, a dragon to represent China, and so forth.

Editorial cartoons can usually be found on the editorial page of most newspapers, although some, like Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury are found on the regular comics page.

There is controversy as to the bias of editorial cartoons. A large majority of editorial cartoonists are left-wing, also there is not a single black editorial cartoonist writing for a major American paper.

See also: Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning