Monday, May 22, 2023


Under The Radar: Good News Bad News


For most gag cartoonists who reach the peak of the mountain, selling regularly to The New Yorker, there is generally little interest in pursuing other venues. Henry Martin, though, who had over 600 cartoons published in The New Yorker between 1964 and 1999, perhaps facing down a big pile of very funny but rejected cartoons, decided he could add a daily cartoon for newspapers to his output. 

Scribners had just published a book collection of Martin's business cartoons, titled Good News Bad News, and that became the name and pitch for his daily cartoon, one that would be at home on  newspaper business pages. I doubt that Martin had to shop the concept around very long, and he soon signed a contract with the Chicago Tribune - New York News Syndicate. The book was published in 1977 and the panel cartoon made its newspaper debut on March 13 1978*.

The daily cartoon was never a huge seller, but then not terribly many newspapers have ever jumped on the business cartoon bandwagon. For the newspapers who did have the smarts to pick up Good News Bad News, they offered their business section readers consistently and genuinely funny gags with a distinctive New Yorker flavour. Perhaps some smartly wry Henry Martin cartoon even kept a few businessmen from jumping out the high-rise window on a bad business news day. 

Good New Bad News went out of business as Martin was beginning to retire from professional cartooning in general. It seems to have ended in February 1993**.

 * Source: Dave Strickler's LA Times index.

** Source: Hackensack Record, which did not run it every day

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