Thursday, October 27, 2005

MIKE LUCKOVICH spent about 13 hours creating the question "WHY?" for his editorial cartoon in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That's because the word is formed from the names of the 2,000 American men and women who have died in Iraq -- and Luckovich hand-wrote every one of them.

"I was trying to think of a way to make the point that this whole war is such a waste," said Luckovich, of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Creators Syndicate. "But I also wanted to honor the troops I believe our government wrongly sent to Iraq."

Luckovich told E&P that he spent 12 or 13 hours this past weekend writing in most of the names -- roughly in the order of when the soldiers died. The Journal-Constitution's publisher and various editors were also involved in the effort -- checking that all 2,000 names were there, looking for spelling errors, doing a test printing to see if the names would be readable in the paper, and, when it looked like the names might not be readable, giving permission for the cartoon to be published much larger than Luckovich's drawings usually appear in the Journal-Constitution.

Reader reaction was much heavier than normal, and most of it was positive: 70 percent approving versus 30 percent disapproving.

One fan was "a woman who told me she opened the paper and began to cry when she saw the cartoon," said Luckovich, who got the deceased soldiers' names from One critic, added Luckovich, was a man who said the sacrifice of the soldiers helped "keep me free to do the cartoon."

Luckovich's new blog (launched about two weeks ago) has hundreds more reader comments about the cartoon.

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