The Chicago Tribune suddenly has a taste for cartoons.
After stealing former Birmingham News cartoonist Scott Stantis for their op-ed page, Drew Litton, the former sports cartoonist at the non-defunct Rocky Mountain News, has been picked up to provide local sports cartoons as part of their retooled sports section named ‘Chicago Sports.’
“I’m so honored to be given a chance to appear in one of the nations greatest newspapers,” Litton said. “I signed my name tonight with Chicago Tribune next to it. I still can’t believe it. Please. I beg you, do not wake me up.”
Litton’s first Chicago cartoon, which will be called “The Main Event,” appears on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Here’s the full Q&A:
Q. How did you end up doing comics for The Tribune?
A. I sent out some e-mails back in August to a few select Sports Editors around the country and pitched them the idea of doing a locally themed sports cartoon for their section, like the ones I had done for the Rocky Mountain News for over 25 years. The Tribune showed interest.
Q. What will the focus of the cartoon be?
A. Local sports like the Cubs, White Sox and the Bulls and Blackhawks. I think maybe Bears stuff too but I’m not sure. I’ll also do college stuff like Illinois, Northwestern and Notre Dame. I really think local sports cartoons connect with readers in an amazing way. I’ve done cartoons in Denver that people will talk to me about years later. One as far back as 1984. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast.
Q. Is there a set format your cartoons will appear in?
A. Yeah. It’s going to be in a square frame with great flexibility to do a lot within the space. It’s on page two of a new Saturday section. The cartoon will also be on their website every Saturday. I’ll put it up on mine probably on Sundays.
Q. What will the frequency of the cartoon be? Any indication that it could lead to more work or possibly a staff job?
A. Once a week for now. But a guy can dream can’t he? The Tribune would be the dream job for a sports cartoonist. Chicago is a fantastic sports town.
Q. Will The Tribune be using your work for the newspaper exclusively, or will you be doing any work for their Web site (blogging, animation, etc) as well?
A. For now just the one a week on Saturdays in print and on their Web site. But I’ll be ready to do anything they want me to do. Like would you like a bagel with your coffee? I’d love to do some animation for their site. That would be cool.
Q. What interests you most about the opportunity to draw Chicago sports?
A. Oh it’s it rabid sports town with great teams with, like really good mascots. Mascots are very important to a sports cartoonists. You know Da Bears, Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks. Those are like the greatest mascots of all time. Good manly type mascots.
Q. Since you’re based in Denver, how do you feel about being reunited with former Bronco’s quarterback Jay Cutler?
A. Reunited and it feels so good. I took a few parting shots as he left Denver. I dunno. It’s kind of like what an editorial cartoonist would feel like to have Nixon back in the White House.
Q. With The Tribune simultaneously making a deal with you and hiring Scott Stantis, what do you think this says about the industry?
Well I want to be clear about this. Scott Stantis is The Tribune’s staff Editorial Cartoonist who is going to win billions of Pulitzers. Right now I’m a freelance cartoonist doing one cartoon a week and hopefully more down the road. But I think hiring Scott Stantis was terrific and sends a message to other publishers that cartoonists sell papers. I’m hoping I can sell a few for them.