Satire for the People

Cartoonist Dwane Powell shares his visual legacy at COR

For more than 40 years, cartoonist Dwane Powell has been skewering politicians (on both sides of the political aisle) through his visual social commentary. He started his career in 1975 at the News & Observer and since then has crafted more than 15,000 cartoons. You can see a selected portion, including his sketchbooks, this month at the City of Raleigh Museum in a show titled, “You really stuck it to me,” a phrase uttered to Powell by Jesse Helms after the politician viewed one of his cartoons.

“I’ve always considered myself a free thinker,” says Powell.

Here, he talks about three you’ll see in the exhibit.

GoNut

I’m not in the camp of banning guns, and that’s where the NRA misunderstands people who are trying to regulate more. When you try to use a little sanity, they think you’re banning guns. I’ve done more than a hundred cartoons on that issue. It was just a comment on how lax the controls are to buy a gun.

Dwane Powell cartoon for 11/23/2000

Thanksgiving Bash

I’ve sat through many a Thanksgiving dinner, so I wanted to add a little levity. [In 2000] there was so much polarization after how the [Bush/Gore] election went down—the hanging chads and Supreme Court decision. The Democrats felt cheated. Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to bring us together. What’s going on these days is similar; the country is so polarized. It seems like it’s gotten worse and now literally it’s like two separate countries. I’ve been drawing cartoons since the ‘70s, all those years I’ve never seen things like they are today.

All Fixed!

I look at some issue or bill that’s going through the Legislature that I think is egregious. I want to tie the bill to a body—Democrat or Republican. It’s all subjective; it’s my opinion that it’s worthy of satire. The Legislature was under a lot of fire for the [HB2] bill. McCrory was in a tight spot. If McCrory hadn’t signed the bill, he’d probably still be in office. He put out an executive order that was supposed to smooth out the edges. This spiny thing is growing out of the Legislature and McCrory has allowed himself to be tangled up in it. The move he made didn’t really work.

Alexandra Drosu
Alexandra Drosu

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