The Autobiography of Paul Conrad
by Paul Conrad
"If I were an editorial writer, I'd write it. But being an artist, I draw it." Thus spake Paul Conrad, the editorial cartoonist's cartoonist -- the god of the drawn sword, ready to skewer whomever missteps against humanity; the master of felt-tipped philosophy; a man of few words, but mighty pictures. This is his autobiography, the story that only he and his cartoons can tell.
Conrad drew his messages for thirty years at the Los Angeles Times and as its onetime Editor and Executive Vice-President Shelby Coffey III said, "Like other geniuses with a touch of marketing in their soul, Paul has taken advantage of found materials. California provided them in abundance -- Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan." Indeed, his cartoons tortured Nixon through the Watergate era -- so much so that he was the only cartoonist named to the then-President's "Enemies List."
And Governor-then-President Ronald Reagan would make early morning phone calls to Times Publisher Otis Chandler to complain that Conrad's cartoons were not only distasteful but disgusting . . . and Nancy Reagan would follow up to say that Conrad had ruined Ronnie's breakfast, again. Such is the power of the pen in Conrad's able hand.
With more than two hundred drawings and a few well-chosen words, Conrad tells the story of a nation, of a culture, and of a singular cartoonist's ability to merge compassion, integrity, anger, outrage and angst in a world riddled with the constant slings and arrows of remarkably outrageous fortune. And, yet, he remains, as he tells us, an optimist. And an icon. I, CON is a treasure for anyone who enjoys observing the world of politics and political satire.