In The Press

Milt Priggee - Born 1953

Date: 1986

"The cartoon's power is in the picture, not in the punchline," says Priggee, editorial cartoonist for the Spokane, Washington, papers (Spokesman-Review and Spokane Chronicle) and master of the splashiest, most energetic and vital brush stroke in print. "My favorite cartoon is the kind that when you put your hand over the caption or balloon, you can still receive the impact of the message. If you can put your hand over the art and just read the balloon or caption and get the message, what's the purpose of the visual image?"

After graduating from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado, in 1976 with a degree in fine art, Priggee went to Chicago and with the help of John Fischetti (q.v.) freelanced editorial cartoons to the city's papers, selling his first in 1976 to the Chicago Daily News.

In 1978, he became the regular cartoonist at the weekly Crain's Chicago Business, where he stayed until he found an editorial cartooning berth in 1982 at The Journal Herald in Dayton, Ohio. When the paper folded in 1985, Priggee took his editorial cartooning to Spokane. "I can't imagine doing anything else," he said. "I'm very fortunate to have a daily platform to visually speak to a number of people about whatever is on my mind, to be able to spend the best hours of the day visually expressing myself. The other side of the coin is that a lot of people do not even know what an editorial cartoon is. They mistake it for a comic strip, an advertisement, a photograph, the newspaper's endorsement, or a non-offensive illustration. Unfortunately, too many editors/publishers think a cartoon is all of the above."

In addition to the advocating absolute freedom of expression for editorial cartoonists, Priggee became the co-producer of a unique syndicated daily comic strip in 1997. Called Us and Them, it was created in 1995 by Wiley Miller (q.v.) and features a female protagonist one day, a male the next. The strip is drawn by Priggee on the male day; by Susan Dewar on the female day.

Counting cartoonist Fischetti as his mentor, Priggee recalled Fischetti's "sure-fire way" to tell if a cartoon is good or not: "When you look at it, do you ask yourself, Damn -- why didn't I think of that? If you do, it's a good cartoon."

Brush and ink on paper
12 x 12.5 cm