I was so sorry to learn that Corky Trinidad died this morning. Â Corky was a local treasure for Hawaii. Â He was every cartoonist’s friend and a mentor to Hawaii’s young cartoonists. Corky was also incredibly prolific, drawing a mind blowing two cartoons a day, with a color cartoon on the front page of the paper and a second cartoon on the editorial page, for close to forty years. Â
Some of our readers have noticed that Corky hasn’t been contributing cartoons to our site recently. He was diagnosed last October with pancreatic cancer. Corky was 69 years old. Â His editor, Mary Poole, called me with the grim news. That’s Corky’s last cartoon, from November 25th, at the right.
I got to know Corky when I worked for a short stint as a cartoonist for the Honolulu Advertiser (the competing paper) and Hawaii’s Midweek newspaper. The Advertiser recently laid off their long time cartoonist, Dick Adair, who was also a great friend of Corky, and now Hawaii has no daily editorial cartoonist. Dick and a group of Corky’s cartoonist friends in Hawaii will be drawing tribute cartoons that the Star-Bulletin will publish soon.
Hawaii has it’s own, unique culture which Corky personified, and gave voice to in the newspaper. Corky was the ultimate local cartoonist; he connected with his local audience better than anyone else. Hawaii has a crazy stew of politics that is steeped in complex back-stories and cultural flavor that Corky mastered and served up with warm, gentle humor, every day. Corky only sent us his national cartoons, and I regret that our readers didn’t get the chance to appreciate Corky’s local impact.
A few of Corky’s best cartoons from last yearÂ are posted below, and an archive of the past eight years of Corky’s work can be seen here. Â The Star-Bulletin has posted a pdf of a page of Corky’s cartoon highlights from over 40 years with the paper. Â See the Star Bulletin’s obituary here. Â CorkyÂ is survived by his wife Hana, an artist and dance director, and his five children: Lorenzo, Emmanuel, Pia Sprague, Lara Nishimura and Anela Trinidad; and two grandchildren, Kera Nishimura and Matty Sprague. Â Corky’s website is here.