“No sneak or snarl in society can escape the cartoon.”

The first American born political cartooning superstar, Homer Davenport, was born in Waldo Hills, Oregon in 1867. Anything but an underground cartoonist, his work appeared in the New York Journal and was beloved by hundreds of thousands of readers worldwide.


The Dollar Or The Man? The Issue Of To Day, Davenport’s second book of political cartoons, was published in 1900. The introduction by Horace Traubel contains this wonderful description.

The cartoon dares any venture of speech. No sneak or snarl in society can escape the cartoon.

The cartoon is everywhere before anything else – even anticipates its subject creatures. It goes and comes by free will. Grim with quick pardon, weeping with laughter, profound with frivolity, brutal with finesse, magnificent with modesty, the cartoon is everything it does not pretend to be, the horizontal to your perpendicular and the circle to your square.

The cartoon is the master of paradox. Its good humor gives it a pass to the heart of its victim. The cartoon is fierce in encounter and quick to forgive. It is not malicious. It deals with man not as a malevolence but as a foible. It is more powerful than marching armies and more subtle than scholastic verbiage.



      Horace Traubel (1858-1919)


UNDERGROUND USA is a public history/art education event made possible in part by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation and by a grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. It is presented by Oregon Cartoon Institute in partnership with UO Comics & Cartooning Studies and PSU Comic Studies, with support from Oregon Historical Society and McMenamins.

Comic City USA, the first exhibit to look at Oregon print cartooning history, is at Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park Avenue, through Jan. 31, 2017.

“People who read them when they first came out remember the initial impact — like getting whacked in the head with a two by four.” Patrick Rosenkranz, on underground comics


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