Thursday, December 31, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Out with the Old, in with the New - Three Takes

Crain's Detroit Business - January 4, 2010
My editors at Crain's agreed with me that the first cartoon of 2010 gave us the opportunity to acknowledge some of the challenges we'd overcome in 2009 and at the same time, offer a measure of optimism for what lies ahead for us in 2010. While the new year may not be exactly a "cakewalk" for us, I anticipate that it will begin a decade of growth for metro Detroit, and - through hard work by all of us - a return to an era of economic strength for the region. Happy New Year, everyone!

OFF the DRAWING BOARD: We considered a different direction for the Crain's Detroit Business January 4 cartoon, with this pencil rough - a look back at the just-finished holiday retail shopping season. We agreed that the New Years cartoon, with its focus on high-profile Detroit events of the past years, had the most impact and provided the statement we wanted to make, entering 2010.

The News-Herald - December 30

The Press & Guide - December 30
Two different spins on the arrival of 2010 - for Downriver, I took a tongue-in-cheek jab at the challenges facing us in the New Year; in Dearborn, I took a straightforward optimistic tone. Combined, these takes reflect my perspective of our whole region for the coming year - lots of challenges, sure; but lots to be optimistic about, too!
That's the Point!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Christmas Greetings with a fun Twist

The News-Herald - December 23
The economy may be playing The Grinch this season Downriver (and I don't think there's any chance his heart is going to grow three sizes ...!); but Christmas will come, just the same. Merry Christmas to all my readers and friends Downriver!
The Press & Guide - December 23
Technology changes everything, including how kids connect with Santa. To his credit, the Jolly Ol' Elf has kept up with the latest technology, too - as evident in this Press & Guide Christmas greeting! Sometimes, editorial cartoons are just fun.
That's the Point!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CARTOON of the WEEK: A Local Fish Story

The News-Herald - December 16
As if the economy and the threat of H1N1 weren't bad enough, now we have to worry about Asian Carp invading our waters! Do I hear the theme from "Jaws"? ...
That's the Point!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: A New Grinch, Shopping Tradition and a Real Estate Steal

The Press & Guide - December 9
There's a new Grinch or two, or three, or more, in town this Christmas season. The Governor and the State Legislature are playing the role with school systems throughout the state - including Dearborn Public Schools. Hang your stockings, kids ... and say your prayers!
The News-Herald - December 9
Call me old-fashioned, but I avoid "Early Bird Doorbuster" sales that begin at 5 a.m., and you'll never catch me picking through "Night Owl Specials" after midnight. No, I prefer to do my Christmas shopping on the traditional day for it - Christmas Eve!
Crain's Detroit Business - December 7
The residential real estate market may be down in the metro Detroit area, but compared to the recent sale of the Pontiac Silverdome for just over $500,000, maybe breaking even on a home sale isn't so bad!
That's the Point!

Friday, November 27, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Giving Thanks and Puzzling Over Pre-Dawn Shopping

The News-Herald - November 29
While my son camped out for a midnight sale on Thanksgiving, and my wife and daughters set out before dawn on the "Black Friday," to grab up retailers' "door-buster" or "early bird" specials, I did something really crazy ... I slept in! Took the day off, didn't set the alarm and slept until the turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie coma from Thanksgiving dinner had worn off. I have my own traditional day to do my Christmas shopping - Christmas Eve!

The News-Herald, The Press & Guide - November 25
Thanksgiving is a time when we count our blessings and near the top of my list, after family and friends, are my readers, my editors and the news staffs who produce all the stories that inspire my cartoons throughout the year. These are the greetings I sent out to readers of The News-Herald (top) and the Press & Guide (bottom). Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers of Pen Points, too!
That's the Point!

Monday, November 23, 2009

CARTOON of the WEEK: Education Funding Has to Get Creative

The Press & Guide - November 18
All Michigan school districts - including Dearborn Public Schools - are facing severe funding shortages due to budget cuts by the governor and the state legislators. There's no better investment of our tax dollars than in the education of our kids, but just when we need it most to compete in a global economy, that investment is being cut by officials. Press & Guide editor Tim Powers let me lampoon the current status of education funding with this shot at just how far we may have to go, to give our kids the education they deserve and need!
That's the Point!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CARTOON of the WEEK: Any Business is Good Business in Today's Economy

Crain's Detroit Business - November 16
There's a lot of talk about the "new economies" (green, blue, tech, etc.) and the positive impact that they may have on the metro Detroit economy, if sufficiently exploited. In discussing this week's ideas with my editors at Crain's, we agreed completely on one thing - any business is good business! That discussion led to this idea.
That's the Point!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Some Seasonal Silliness and Election Season Silliness

The News-Herald - November 4
OK, I admit it, sometimes I'm inspired to just do something silly. And sometimes my editor, Karl Ziomek, actually lets one get into print. This idea came from a personal experience on Halloween morning, with a last-minute stop at my local Walgreens. The Halloween merchandise was strewn throughout the main aisle, and all marked down 50%. However, just above it all, poised to take over at the stroke of midnight (I imagined) was all the Christmas merchandise! I couldn't resist ... on my way out, I took a Santa hat off a display hook and placed it atop a half-off ceramic jack-o-lantern in a personal commentary upon the seasonal "merchandising mash-up!"
The Press & Guide - November 4
In considering what kind of post-election comment for November 4, I realized that sometimes important local issues - in many municipalities - are decided (sadly) by the people who don't vote! While voter turnout in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights was respectable, my editor, Tim Powers, allowed me to take this tongue-in-cheek jab at voting booth "no-shows" nonetheless.
That's the Point!

Monday, November 2, 2009

CARTOON of the WEEK: DAC-Forest Lake Merger Makes the Longest First Hole in Detroit

Crain's Detroit Business - November 2

In discussing this idea with the editors at Crain's Detroit Business, we considered several different visual approaches. I offered that I thought the most recognizable "character" that could be portrayed is the iconic DAC building itself. My editors agreed, and we commented upon the affiliation between the Detroit Athletic Club and Forest Lake Country Club with this - slightly twisted - take on the partnership.

That's the point!

Off the Drawing Board: This idea started very differently (see my original rough #3 that I offered), but the editors at Crain's suggested a more action-oriented take, including having a golfer - in full gear with clubs - showing up in the DAC dining room. Once we agreed that the DAC itself was our best visual (see above), we decided on the offbeat, somewhat unexpected twist of golfers on the roof that appeared on November 2.

Friday, October 30, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Governor Gives Students a Lesson in Political Economics; Downriver Elections Relatively Trick-Free

The Press & Guide - October 28

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm gave students throughout the state - and particularly those in Dearborn - a lesson in "political economics" by threatening school budgets in an emotion-provoking attempt to leverage other options, including tax increases.

The News-Herald - October 28
The Downriver municipal elections this year have been, relatively, "trick or treat" free. While there are many important races, the campaigns seem to have been straightforward with a focus on making the communities better. However, don't get me started on Ecorse ...

That's the Point!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Ecorse Financial Soap Opera; Good News in Dearborn Education

The News-Herald - October 21
The municipal soap opera that is Ecorse finances continued last week, as city officials appeared at a hearing held by the State Treasurer to argue that the city does not need an independent financial manager. OK. I have nothing to add.

The Press & Guide - October 21
Sometimes, it's good to celebrate a success, especially when it comes to local education. Press & Guide Editor Tim Powers agreed that the re-tooling of the Dearborn Virtual Academy to include live instructors, to enhance the learning experience and sucess of students, was just such a topic. Editorial cartoons are about supporting the community; and sometimes that means cheerleading instead of jeering.
That's the Point!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CARTOON of the WEEK - Turning Around the City of Detroit: Like Coaching the Lions

Crain's Detroit Business - October 19

I don't think there's a more challenging mayoral job in the United States right now, than Mayor Dave Bing faces in Detroit. The legacy of his predicessor and the current economy only exacerbate the situation. His suggestions, options and proposed solutions to the various urgent problems facing his administration are met, at every turn, with obstacles and objections from political opponents, unions and others. With all this going on at City Hall, just about two miles away, new Lions Coach Jim Schwartz faces similar problems with the city's long-suffering NFL franchise. The parallel is obvious, and sometimes it's not so bad to take a light-hearted look at some difficult situations. Thankfully, my editors at Crain's Detroit Business agreed!
That's the Point!

Off the Drawing Board: This was an alternative idea for the Detroit turnaround cartoon that I presented to my editors at Crain's. Another "double take," but this one playing - obviously, I hope - on a recent national/international news story. In a broad sense, I think I liked this concept a little better; however, the completely local focus of the concept that ran in the October 19 edition was more appropriate to the metro Detroit-focus of CDB.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Too much bad news to be funny, and thank goodness for local politicians!

The News-Herald - October 14
Sometimes the news is so depressing that there's just nothing funny about it! The past few days Downriver reflected that kind of news, leaving the only "good news" - the Lions lost again, an' were just a few weeks away from another Michigan winter. *uhg* Sorry, readers ... let's hope for a Downriver politician doing something stupid next week!

The Press & Guide - October 14
... and, speaking of local politicians, a Dearborn Councilman's residency (Dearborn, or somewhere in Florida?) has come into question. Well, that kind of stuff makes for great cartoon comment - even if the investigation hasn't been completed.

That's the Point!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Funding local education and planning for metro mass transit

The News-Herald, October 7
Every school district depends on maximum attendance on "count day" to secure state funding for education programs. Downriver, in the Taylor School District, Randall Elementary School was visited by "Laura," an African elephant from a wildlife preserve, as an incentive to students to attend on count day. Editor Karl Ziomek and I thought it would make a great visual, and an opportunity to comment on the importance of the day to all the Downriver school systems.
The Press & Guide, October 7
School funding is a critical issue to every community. With the current Michigan state budget uncertainty, and the mis-aligned budget cycle of the state government and local districts, the funding challenge is substantial. Editor Tim Powers and I kicked around a couple of takes on this commentary, but agreed that "... out of the mouths of babes" was the best way to present this issue.
Crain's Detroit Business, October 5
Regional Detroit mass transit - or more accurately, the lack of it - has been an issue all my life. The "Big 4" ... the elected leaders of Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties, and the Mayor of the city of Detroit all recently agreed on the formation of a Regional Transit Authority to focus upon real plans and solutions for the metro area. Nonetheless, I anticipate there will be some debate over who, exactly, gets to drive the bus!

That's the point!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Michigan's Budget Deadline Looms - Two Different Local Takes

The News-Herald - September 23

The Press & Guide - September 23

With an October 1 deadline looming for the state legislature to balance the Michigan budget, from a regional viewpoint, this topic was a natural for both The News-Herald and for The Press & Guide. However, I also like to keep things locally/community focused with my cartoon commentary and there were two local events that were easily woven into this gag.

Downriver, a wonderful dinner theater production of "The Carol Burnett Show" allowed me to give a comic spin to the budget debate; while an annual "Haunting Experience" upcoming in Dearborn let me give the topic a scary spin.

A regional issue that's important to us all and two local topics meaningful to readers of each paper, all combined into a couple of cartoon commentaries - a local cartoonist can't ask for better material for inspiration!

That's the point!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: Paying for Dearborn Parking, and Ecorse Investigations

The Dearborn Press & Guide, September 16

Metered paid parking has been an issue in Dearborn for more thank four years. These parking meter characters first appeared in one of my cartoons to lampoon the topic in September of 2005. Their quips won me my first SNA Award for "Best Editorial Cartoon" (seen below in "Off the Drawing Board") and I've called on them to make comments each time the issue has come up again.

That's the point!

Off the Drawing Board: When these parking meter characters first appeared in one of my cartoons, in 2005, they sported arms because they were necessary to the gag. Their latest appearance is without arms - for the very same reason!

The News-Herald, September 16
I made my first editorial cartoon comments about Ecorse's financial woes more than 20 years ago, when the city was the first in Michigan to enter receivership. In the subsequent years, the town's offered plenty of additional cartoon material - right up to this week! Who needs Kwame and the Detroit City Council? ... there's plenty of inspiration in our own backyard!

That's the point!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The News-Herald - Wednesday, September 9

The Dearborn Press & Guide - Wednesday, September 9

Back to school is the universal signal for everyone that summer's ended. For the kids actually going back, it means a return to the regimentation of classroom work and homework, and struggling to fit the fun stuff in between. For old guys like me, it means the days are getting shorter and cooler, and that winter's chill is just a couple of months away. No matter your age, this time of year brings a little melancholy and that's what my editors - Karl Ziomek, of The News-Herald; and Tim Powers, of The Dearborn Press & Guide, let me reflect in these two cartoons.

It's not all melancholy, however. There will, after all, be plenty of cider and doughnuts before we have to start shoveling snow!

That's the point!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

CARTOONS of the WEEK: A giant hamburger and help for an over-stressed animal shelter

The News-Herald - September 2
The "Man v. Food" TV show taping at Mallie's, featuring a 185.6 lb hamburger, gave me the perfect chance to cast Wimpy, of Popeye (and Thimble Theater) fame, in a local editorial cartoon; and the opportunity to pay tribute to one of my favorite Golden Age cartoonists - Popeye's creator, E.C. Seger.
That's the point!

The Press & Guide - September 2
After the story of the chihauhau dogs found in a Dearborn home just a month ago, more than two dozen cats were found in an abandoned Dearborn home this past week. The result is a seriously over-crowded and stressed Dearborn Animal Shelter. I took the opportunity to support the shelter and solicit help with this week's cartoon - and I took the opportunity to pay tribute to some more of my favorite cartoonists!
That's the point!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CARTOON OF THE WEEK: Michigan State Fair - the End of a 161 Year Run?

The News-Herald - February 8, 2009
This "Cartoon of the Week" first ran in The News-Herald more than six months ago - in February - when Governor Granholm announced that there would no longer be any budget subsidy available for the Michigan State Fair. News-Herald Editor Karl Ziomek and I share the same summer-end memories of the State Fair growing up and we agreed to this cartoon comment on the prospect of the State Fair going away.

Well, here we are at the end of another summer - number 161 for the State Fair - and we are facing the very real prospect that this is, indeed, the last Michigan State Fair. So, as a tribute to that wonderful tradition I'm re-posting this cartoon.

I'll be at the Fair with my kids, eating corndogs, drinking lemonade, riding the Tilt-A-Whirl, and petting farm animals, just like I've done for the past 50 summers. I'll look for you!
That's the point!

Off the Drawing Board: The Michigan State Fair was a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I'd go with my parents and gawk at enormous vegetables, pet animals that I never saw in my Downriver neighborhood, and gobble those gloriously greasy, sugary elephant ears! My dad always gravitated to the new car exhibits and he'd always get himself a new yardstick as he wandered throught the Michigan Mart building. Mom always looked at the baked goods and the knitting and lamented, "I should have entered something this year!"

My favorite "Fair summer" was in 1972 - it was the longest Michigan State Fair ever, 22 days - and I got a job working it! Not a glamorous post, the midway workers got all the attention of the young girls who came to the Fair, I had a somewhat less attractive assignment in the Poultry and Rabbit House. But I was still a Fair worker - with a "State of Michigan" badge and everything! I got to see the Fairgrounds in the misty early morning and I was there late into the night as the animals - and the midway - were bedded down. That's the summer it became MY State Fair. And it always will be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CARTOONS OF THE WEEK: Joe Biden slips, boosts Brownstown - where were all the Dearborn voters?

The News-Herald - August 12
In a Detroit area appearance last week, Vice President Joe Biden referenced a GM battery pack factory slated to open in Brownstown ... days ahead of a planned media event by GM to make the announcement! News-Herald editor Karl Ziomek was happy to have a national spin to a local issue when I suggested lampooning the VP's slip-up.
That's the point!

Off the drawing board: I don't often get to feature national figures in local editorial cartoons, so it was exciting to have the opportunity to draw the VP. I had to work on my caricature of him in pencil first - you'll see the inked "Joe" is more refined.

The Press & Guide - August 12
The Dearborn voter turnout - just 18 percent of registered voters - was disappointing to many, including me. Press & Guide editor Tim Powers agreed and I took this approach to highlight that point of view.
That's the point!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CARTOON OF THE WEEK: Happiness is ...

Crain's Detroit Business - April 6, 2009
I can't think of another time of the year that offers the promise of a fresh start more than the start of baseball season - and here in metro Detroit, the start of the Tigers' season.

As the editors of Crain's and I discussed cartoon topics for the April 6 edition, we were in the midst of the series of Detroit's mayoral and council scandals and embarrassments, the pending bankruptcies of Chrysler and GM, and another report of increased unemployment in Michigan.

"What this town needs is a fresh start!" was the overall - and overwhelming - concensus. Coincidently, the Tigers' season opener was the week of April 6 and we had the ideal opportunity to celebrate a much-needed fresh start for the whole town. With that settled, I knew there was no better way to present this than with a tribute to the words and art of Charles Schulz - in my opinion, the most inspirational cartoonist who ever put a pen point to paper.

Well, it worked out pretty well ... the Tigers have been in first place since mid-May, Chrysler and GM have emerged from bankruptcy and are in the process of re-establishing themselves, and we've seen the city of Detroit begin its own re-building process with the election of Mayor Bing and the re-making of City Council.

That's the point!

Dan Saad

Off the Drawing Board: For every cartoon that appears in print, three or four alternative versions are explored with pencil roughs for the editors to review. Here's the other option that was considered for the April 6 Crain's Detroit Business cartoon.