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Dee Bonner | Shelbyville, IN
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January 19, 2019

3/5/2012 8:58:00 PM
From The Box To The Toon Tomb
The Shelbyville News published my weekly cartoons for many years. The majority of those cartoons focused almost entirely on local issues, which means that nowadays most people will find the cartoons neither informative nor funny. However I often run into friends and acquaintances who remember specific cartoons that were published years ago. I'm surprised by the frequency with which this occurs and by the details of the individual cartoons that they recall.

I remember most of the cartoons too. In some cases, I remember where I was when I drew them and the creative effort that was involved in producing them. Some ideas presented themselves full-blown in my mind's eye so all I needed to do was transfer them to paper. Others arrived piecemeal and required lots of labor and many revisions in order to bring them to life. Those may have been the most satisfying cartoons because the process involved so much problem-solving.

I'm fortunate that the newspaper supported my hobby (or fed my cartooning addiction) for many years. I don't have an actual count, but I can say with confidence that The Shelbyville News published at least 1,500 of my cartoons on the newspaper's opinion page. Some were good, some were bad, some were funny, and I'll readily admit, some were abominations that should never have been published.

I have all of the original cartoons safely stored in an undisclosed location. Well actually, I have all but one. A few years ago the Indiana State Police staged a statewide job action, or work slow-down, which I depicted in a cartoon by drawing a police cruiser as a giant snail car. One day a high-ranking State Police officer came to the newspaper and asked to buy the original. I explained that I kept all of my originals but I would be happy to give him a copy of the cartoon at no charge. Somehow he managed to leave the office with the original while I was left holding the copy. I'm still not sure how that happened.

Anyway, one of the reasons I started this website was to give those old newspaper cartoons a new home online. I envisioned the 'Toon Tomb Section as the place reserved for that purpose. You may have noticed that I haven't made much progress toward that particular goal. Right now there are approximately four dozen (of the 1,500) cartoons in the Toon Tomb Section, so "going forward," every once in a while I'll be converting small batches of old cartoons to digital files and publishing them to the website. Therefore when you visit the website remember to periodically check some of the other sections to see what's been added.

Obviously recycling old cartoons offers advantages to me because, even though there's time involved, most of the work has already been done. Which means I'm able to provide content for the website that may be "new" to some readers during times when I'm in a creative drought. Or during times when I need to be dealing with a personal issue. Or during times when I'd rather be reading, or writing, or watching collegiate hoops. In the meantime, please keep visiting the site and remember you can interact through the guest forum or via email if you prefer.


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