CASHMERE — The local winner of a national cartoon contest made a splash last week in a statewide race on the future of education — but in Indiana, not here.
Cashmere resident Dan McConnell, 64, took top honors in a contest for best political cartoon in the race for Indiana Supertintendent of Public Instruction, which resulted in an upset win by challenger Glenda Ritz over incumbent Tony Bennett.
As first-place cartoon winner, McConnell won $400 and “all the fame and glory I can handle,” he said. “Which really isn’t very much.”
The Cartoonist Studio, an international cartoon website, hosted the competition, which was also sponsored by the Indiana State Teachers Association. The ISTA endorsed Ritz.
“Me? I don’t know anything about Indiana politics,” said McConnell, whose cartoons have appeared in many local and national publications. “So I studied up, did the research, talked to people in Indiana — even a college professor, I figured he’d know something — and turned out a batch of cartoons.”
It was a batch with very pointed messages, he admitted. One Halloween-themed cartoon showed Bennett costumed as the Frankenstein monster and Ritz as a pink princess. Another depicted the candidates as surgeons hovering over “education” stretched on an operating table. Bennett held an ax, and Ritz held a small scalpel.
“Political cartoons are supposed to have a point of view,” said the artist.
McConnell first published a cartoon in the Cashmere Valley Record in 1981. He’s displayed works in art exhibits at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center and other museums and galleries. He also worked for four years as an inker for Marvel Comics beginning in 1990.
Mike Irwin: 665-1179