21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death


I promise you that I wasn't sure if this post was a good or a very bad idea.

The point is that I had a draft with notes and curiosities that caught my attention at the time and that were left aside.

I finally decided to rescue them and give them shape because this is a blog and no editor-in-chief or director was going to call me to give me the go-ahead or reject the text.

Road accidents are always on the list of the most common causes of death, so I start with some of the cartoonists who lost their lives on the road.

Car accidents

Dennis Renault (1936-2022)

21 dibujantes que no murieron de muerte natural
Photo: The Sacramento Bee

Dennis Renault was the political cartoonist for The Sacramento Bee from 1971 to 1998 and other McClatchy newspapers in California. He died Wednesday, Oct. 19, in an accident at Fremont Peak State Park in Monterey County. He was 86.

According to the authorities and his wife, Dennis Renault's vehicle went down a steep embankment in the park as he and his wife, Marty, were preparing to camp in the area.

Lars Vilks (1946-2021)

20 cartoonists who did not die a natural death

The most recent case was that of the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks who died on Sunday 3 October this year in a traffic accident. The police vehicle in which Vilks was travelling, accompanied by two police officers, collided with a truck on the road he was escorted by the police vehicle in which Vilks was travelling, accompanied by two police officers, collided with a lorry in the vicinity of Markaryd (Sweden). Both vehicles caught fire, resulting in the death of the cartoonist and the two policemen. Although it is reported that there is at least an open investigation into the possible causes, everything seems to point to the fact that it was not an accident caused with the intention of killing the cartoonist of one of the "cartoonists" known as "Vilks"Caricatures of Mohammed".

Willam Hamilton (1939-2016)

20 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Hamilton in 1985. Photo Bernard Gotfryd

The cartoonist William Hamilton, who worked for the magazine The New Yorker and his cartoons characterised by satirising the rich and high society, died on 8 April 2016 in a car accident in Kentucky. He was 76 years old.

Hamilton ran a stop sign and collided with a pickup truck in Lexington. His wife, who reported the news to the media, said her husband ran a stop sign near their home and his car was hit by a pickup truck. "I don't know if he was unwell or distracted, but that's how it happened," she said.

Doug Marlette (1949-2007)

20 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Bio and photo at author's website

The accident in which cartoonist Doug Marlette, 57, died occurred on 10 July in heavy rain about three miles east of Holly Springs. Police concluded that the Toyota pickup truck in which the 57-year-old cartoonist was a passenger had been killed winner 1988 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and creator of the daily cartoon "Kudzu"The driver, Jhon Davenport, was in an aquaplaning accident and crashed into a tree.
The driver, John Davenport, Oxford High School drama director, was treated at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford and released. Doug Marlette memorial (copy in Archive)

Ramón Tosas, Ivà (1941-1993)

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Maki Navaja, ¡Olé, Mis Güevos! (1988)

An untimely demise was that of Ivà, father of, among other things, the unforgettable family of "La Puta Mili" and "Makinavaja" characters. On the morning of 22 July 1993 Ramón Tosas FuentesIvà lost his life in a accident traffic accident in Briones (La Rioja)

The car in which the author was travelling with the Catalan theatre director Ángel Alonso, who was seriously injured, left the road, crashed into the protective fence and overturned at kilometre 94 of the A-68 motorway. Ivà died on the spot, he was 52 years old.

Sidney Smith (1877-1935)

The American cartoonist Sidney Smith, the creator of The Gumps also died on the road near Harvard, Illinois, when he crashed into another vehicle. It happened on Sunday 20 October 1935 at 4 am.
The 58-year-old cartoonist was on his way to his summer home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The driver of the other car, Wendell Martin, of Watseka, Illinois, suffered a fractured hip and jaw and some internal injuries.

20 cartoonists who did not die a natural death

Source: The Evening Star, Washington, D.C., 21 October 1935. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

According to the article published the day after the accident in The Evening Star, Smith's lawyer, Ednyfed Williams, revealed that a few hours before the fatal event, the cartoonist had signed a contract renewal with the Chicago Tribune and the New York News Syndicate which stipulated the payment of 750,000 dollars for a period of five years (in other media there is talk of higher and lower amounts), in any case, a lot of money for that time, the golden era for the cartoonists

In 1922 had already signed a contract he signed a one-million-dollar, ten-year contract with the Chicago Tribune that made him the richest syndicated cartoonist in the country. That million-dollar contract included a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost.

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death

Image source Michael Sporn Animation

although articles continue to be found claiming that Smith crashed in that luxurious Rolls-Royce given to him by the Chicago Tribune, this is not true. According to notes from the time, the car Smith was driving on the day of the accident was a "small sedan".

Norman Isaac ( 1957-2020). Hit by a motorbike

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Norman Isaac. Photo:TEMPO

TEMPO 's multi-award-winning Filipino cartoonist Norman Isaac was hospitalised for three days until he died on 10 June 2020 from injuries, including a severe head injury, after being hit by a motorcyclist.

The driver of the motorbike fled and there were no witnesses to the incident.
Investigators searched unsuccessfully for CCTV footage in the vicinity of the incident for clues that could help locate the person responsible for the hit-and-run.


Perhaps these two cartoonists should not technically be on the list, as their deaths could not be confirmed. I add them because in both cases, as stark as it sounds, there is very little hope that they will be found alive, even among those who are still looking for them.

Prageeth Eknaligoda ( 1960 -??)

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Sandyha and her children (2016). Photo AI

Prageeth left his job in Colombo (Sri Lanka) on the night of 24 January 2010, he said he was going to meet an old friend before returning home. A friend called Prageeth's mobile phone at 8:30 pm, but only heard a strange noise before he was cut off. That was the last he heard of him. He was then 50 years old (1). (There are several versions of the account of the day of his disappearance)

Sri Lanka's presidential election was two days away.

Prageeth had already been abducted near his home on 28 August 2009. He was taken away with his hands tied and blindfolded in a white van. He was released the next morning.

His wife, Sandya Eknaligoda, who has not stopped looking for him, confessed who hopes at least that his body will be found and that justice will be done.

Akram Raslan (1978- ??)

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death

Akram Raslan, a cartoonist born in Souran (Syria) in 1978, was arrested on 2 October 2012. Since then only rumours have circulated about his legal situation, whereabouts and status.

In 2015, Cartoonists Rights Network International ( CRNI ) citing as source syrian magazine Souriatnamagazine, reports that Akram reportedly died in a prison hospital sometime in the spring of 2013 due to his fragile state of health, possibly as a result of torture in prison. No one later verified this information and nothing more was known.


Wolinski, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Charb (2015). Terrorist attack

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Source photos Wikipedia

On 7 January 2015, two brothers, Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, broke into the headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris and murdered twelve people. Eight of them were members of the magazine's editorial staff: five cartoonists (Wolinski, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous and Charb, the editor-in-chief), a proofreader (Mustapha Ourrad), a psychoanalyst (Elsa Cayat) and an anti-neoliberal economist (Bernard Maris, known as "Oncle Bernard").

The other victims were a journalist invited by the weekly, Michel Renaud, an elite policeman and Charb's bodyguard, Franck Brinsolaro, (Muslim) policeman Ahmed Merabet and an employee of a maintenance company, Frédéric Boisseau

Naji al-Ali (1936-1987). Shot in the back of the head

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death

At about 17:10 on Wednesday 22 July 1987, Naji al-Ali, a political cartoonist for the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas, was shot in the back of the head as he was walking to his office in Ives Street, Knightsbridge.

Al-Ali, 51, was taken to hospital, where he was in a coma for 37 days until he died on 29 August 1987. The cartoonist had received several death threats in the years leading up to his murder.

August 2017, british police reopened the case the murder of the Palestinian cartoonist in the hope of receiving some new clue, four years later nothing more has been heard about the investigation.

Other cases

Stuart Carothers (1893-1915). Fall from fifth floor

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
The Detroit Times, 04 Oct. 1915

On the night of 3-4 October 1915, cartoonist Stuart Carothers and two friends, R.A. Skinner and H. Bergum, checked into a room on the fifth floor of De Jonghe's Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. A few hours later, at 3:30 a.m., a policeman discovered Carothers' body in the street. His friends recalled that he had suffered a headache that night and had sat by the window, from which he would fall. There were no signs of suicide or murder. Although it could not be established what happened, the police concluded that it was an accident. Carothers was 22 years old.

Also known as Stewart Carothers, he was the creator of "Charlie Chaplin's Comic Capers" (1914-1915) y "The Movies Of Haphazard Helen" (1915). His cartoons were published daily and on Sundays in sixty newspapers in the United States. Although he was not the first cartoonist to draw cartoons about celebrities, nor the first to draw a comic strip about Chaplin, he was the first American cartoonist to do so

Thomas Ciryl Long (1897-1922). Death by Lightning Bolt

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Note in the Palatka daily news. (Palatka, Florida.), 3 July 1922

Thomas Cyril Long, "Cy" Long was the creator and cartoonist of comic strips featuring black characters, including "Mose Bones". He was killed by lightning while participating in a baseball game in his hometown of Newton, North Carolina. He was 24 years old. More info and strips at Stripper's Guide

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death

CY Long's last strip, published posthumously on 15 July 1922.

Ernest Hix ( 1902-1948). Plane crash

Cartoonist Ernest Hix died at the age of 41 on September 18, 1948 in a plane crash when the small plane he was travelling in, a Beechcraft 35 BonanzaThe cartoonist Ernest Hix was the brother of Ernest Hix, who had been a cartoonist for many years.

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
Ernest (above) and his brother John (1932) Source

The pilot, John M. Lacey and designer Wilmer F. Pemberton were killed in the crash, as was the 43-year-old owner of the aircraft and Hollywood jeweller Eugene Joseff. Joseff, who had a large collection of jewellery, originals and replicas and was the manufacturer and supplier of about 90% of the jewellery used in the films of the era.

Ernest Hix was the brother of the late cartoonist John Hix, the creator of the syndicated cartoon Strange as It Seems and had taken over the series after his brother's death in 1944.

After Ernest's death, his wife, Elsie Huber Hix, continued to produce the Strange as It Seems series More info.

Floyd Craver (?-1916). Crushed after falling off a truck

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
The Arizona Copper Camp. (Ray, Arizona.), 16 December 1916

There is no more information about this author, I suppose because he was a fairly young person or because he did not publish in newspapers, was not devoted to cartoons or had limited repercussion. To wit. The note in an Arizona newspaper told the story as follows:

Floyd Craver was killed this afternoon when he fell from a Longyear Co. truck. It was stated to the coroner that Craver was moving on top of the truck load when he fell and his head was crushed under a wheel. Craver had graduated from Phoenix High School two years earlier.

J. *Dorsey (?-1912) Suicide

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
The Atlanta Georgian and News. (Atlanta, Georgia.), 22 June 1912

I can find no further references to this cartoonist and suspect that the name is incomplete due to a printing error or in the scan of the PDF of the note on his death, which read:

CArtoonist commits suicideMemphis
. Tenn., June 22.-J. ' Dorsey, 28, formerly a cartoonist of Providence, R. 1. was found dead today in a bed at the Peabody Hotel, with a bullet hole above his left ear and a new pistol beside him in the bed. No letters or notes have been found to explain the tragedy. Police believe he committed suicide.

Edward Soden (?-1908). Suicide

21 cartoonists who did not die a natural death
The Detroit times. (Detroit, Michigan) 28 September 1908

Of this cartoonist, who committed suicide in a lurid incident, I have not been able to find any references beyond this brief note in The Detroit Times.

Cartoonist kills mother and commits suicide

New York, Sept. 26 -Edward Soden, a well-known cartoonist and illustrator, devastated by the death of his sister from a haemorrhage, has killed his mother with chloroform and then committed suicide. The bodies of the mother, Mary E. Soden, the daughter, Ella, and the cartoonist, were found today in their home at 258 Greene-ave, Brooklyn, according to police at the Classon-ave police station. The family was in dire straits.

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