When the Green Line, Asheville’s monthly environmental newspaper, decided to go weekly, all of us who worked on it got together to talk about what that would entail. How would production be affected? Would there be enough to fill a weekly? And what toll would a new ramped-up schedule take on all of us?
I was already doing cartoons for the paper. I had come over from Out ‘N’ About, which was a biweekly put out by Alphie and Tracy Hyorth. I pushed for a cartoon section, and volunteered to be the editor of said section. I put out a call for local cartoons; I already had been inundated with pitches from syndicates.
I remember there wasn’t a lot going on locally — I can’t remember if Randy Molton submitted anything, and I don’t think Brent Brown was on the scene as of yet. A few things dribbled in, but weren’t really up to snuff. Not just my opinion, but a consensus of staffers.
I did go with Derf’s “The City,” and a strip about a natural foods restaurant that was pretty funny and topical to Asheville.
As for myself, I got the opportunity to do a weekly cartoon and an occasional cover.
I was with the Xpress for 10 years before I went over to the Citizen-Times.
I can relate one story that was a highlight for me in Xpress’ early days: I did a cartoon about hail-sized golf balls — a take on the typical “golf-ball-sized” hail line from weather reports. I was coming out of the the Battery Park exit of the Haywood Park Hotel one day and, lo and behold, it was hailing. As I was waiting under the canopy for it to slacken off, so was a business-suited gentleman. I looked a little closer and saw he was holding an Xpress, open to the page with my cartoon on it, and was chuckling. I didn’t say anything, but thought to myself that it wasn’t going to get any better than this!
David Cohen is currently the editorial cartoonist for the Asheville Citizen-Times. While not a native, he has lived in Asheville for the last 40 years, and has reveled in the fact that there is no dearth of subject matter here.