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Updated 22 Jan 2012

Mark,

Thanks for the latest. I'll add it to the hopper.

I spoke with XXXX XXXXX, the managing editor, about the Quran cartoon and he said we should refrain from running the Quran cartoon in light of the controversy surrounding the Danish cartoons that caused massive protests in the Middle East. Obviously, your cartoon doesn't depict Mohammed in a derogatory manner. But due to the sensitive nature of the topic, he felt it's best we avoid it if possible.

 Please call with any questions.

 Best,

XXXXX

Actual quote  from Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond below: (minus the "Ted, please administer the formal apology")

Col. Ted Martin kissing a Koran. Pucker-up butter cup.

 

Mark,      

Please contact me at your earliest convenience. In short, I'm looking for an expedited Murphy cartoon for next week's issue. There are several in the queue that I'm sure would draw some laughs, but concerns have been raised about their publication.

XXXXXXX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

Mark,

Thanks for passing along another cartoon. I was planning on running No. 72, "Sandstorm Port-o-jon," in next week's paper. But i just had a couple of quick questions:

 * Can you edit the cartoon to lowercase the word "sandstorm," in keeping with our AP format?

* I think the term, Port-o-john, is spelled with an "h." See http://www.reference.com/search?r=13&q=Port-a-john

 Any response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Mark!

 Best,

XXXXXXX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

Hi, Mark.

  Here's the rundown on cartoons we decided not to use:

 "When East meets West" - We felt it might be a little too controversial for some of our readers given the cultural sensitivities. We are running "East meets West II" however.

"Meet the Press" - This could damage the newspaper's credibility. While you have a good point about some media, it could cast a negative light on us as well.

"Times Change" - We don't get a sense from readers such discord exists with a "Wives Club" and don't want to play the role of instigator.

"Fear an d Loathing in Las Vegas" - At first we didn't get the reference, so we felt readers might be a little confused as well.

 I'm holding onto the Purell cartoon for awhile. My understanding is we ran one featuring Purell not too long ago, so I'm trying to space it out before running another.

 Let me know what you think. Hope you have a fun New Year's.

XXXX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

Hey, Mark.
 
I wanted to drop you a line about a couple cartoons. While I think "Boys and their toys" is funny, it's probably a little too strong for print.
 
The position of the weapons, the fact a woman is making the comment, and the races of the soldiers are all potential areas that may cause some issues with our readership.
 
Also, the cartoon where Murphy has a bag behind a guy who is looking for IEDs - we just thought that might be bad to run b/ of all the news lately of IEDs causing so many deaths in the war zone.
 
I'm more or less telling you this just so you can see our thought processes. Sorry that we sometimes have to remain extra cautious.

XX

 

 

Hi, Mark.

 Sorry to bog you down at once, but there are  couple things I wanted to mention about the cartoons.

 We need to use a word other than 'turds' in the two attached cartoons. That's an image we don't want people thinking about over their breakfast cereal. While you and I can handle it, a vocal group of our readers would complain, I guarantee.

 Out of curiosity, where did the name Lekrons come from? Is he based on a real dude?

 Also, while Soldier's Angels is a good cause, we get into a situation where there are a lot of groups like them and they may all want similar treatment. So we can't use that one.

 On a bright note, I'm running your MP3 cartoon this week, which is one of my favorites, followed up by your fun Geardo cartoons.

 If you got any questions, let me know. Right now we've got six Murphys waiting to run.

 Thanks,

 XXXX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

Hey Mark,

 The text in the middle of this cartoon is difficult to read.  Please move over the dialogue bubble (is that what you call it?).

 Thanks,

XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

 

 

Mark,

 Thanks for your work this year.  I hate to bundle corrections, but I have done so anyway and I hope they help.  Thanks for hearing me out, and call me with questions. -JR

 No. 50, Nuclear piss test

Remove “quite literally” because Sgt. Lekrons did not physically flush his career down the toilet.  He did so figuratively.  

The passage should read “No joke.  He flushed his career down the toilet.”

 No. 57, Sick call

Have the P.A. ask something less gross than “How soft is your stool?”   Also, try to rewrite the last frame so it doesn’t say anal suppositories.

 No. 58, Sniffing dogs

At first, I didn’t know what the soldiers were doing.  Then I got it: It was two dudes checking each others’ patches and awards out, measuring each other up.  I think you should make that clearer.

 No. 60, Email from the boss man

You told me it’s an excerpt from a real email.  That’s cool, and the reader should know that, too.  Also, I understood the e-mail after reading it twice and discovered that its main problem is that it lacks punctuation.  If it were punctuated correctly, it wouldn’t be as hard to follow. What do you think should change on this one?

 No. 63, Promotion woes

The number 8-5512 at the beginning is a bit confusing.  Let us know what that means.  As for the punch line, do you have a larger point to make to soldiers instead asking the caller to cry for help?

XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

 

 

Mark,
 
No. 72, Meeting Mark Baker, needs a couple edits.
 
The top should read (I eliminated a dash and wrote Murphy's rank):
 
"In a bizarre twist of fate, Staff Sgt. Murphy, while on a quest for new ink, meets Mark Baker apprenticing at a local tattoo parlor."
 
"YUP! AND YOU'RE STAFF SGT. MURPHY! I'D KNOW YOU ANYWHERE!"
 
Thanks,
 
XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

XX,

I don't want to use the Air Force way of writing SSG in my Army cartoon so I've taken out the rank and just used his name. Will this work for you?
 
Mark

 

Mark,
 
It's been decided that No. 72 Meeting Mark Baker and No. 73 will not be in the paper.  No. 74 was used last week.  No. 75 is ready for this week.
 
That leaves Nos. 76 and 77.  Just two left.
 
Sincerely,
 
XX
 
 
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

XXXXX,
 

XX sent me this e-mail to let me know that you’re not using cartoon submissions #s 72 and 73.  He didn’t say why they were rejected. I understand completely that it is your decision which cartoons will be published or not - but I’m just curious about why these ones where rejected. I called John yesterday to ask, but he didn't know why, just that he was directed to reject them.

 
Mark
 

Mark,

 
The decision was arrived at in much the same way many editorial decisions are made here: in a discussion among various editors. In this case, the topic was addressed in a discussion with our managing editor and the Military Times senior managing editor. The concensus was that we liked the series on Murphy getting new ink, but felt that the appearance of the artist in the cartoons was odd and focused unnecessarily on the artist himself. The preference is to have the stories told by the characters you create.
 
We are enjoying the tattoo series, and the superhero series is looking good.
 
Thank you.  

 

XXXXX
 
 
News Editor | Army Times 
 

 

Mark,
 
Quick question: What does the asterisks mean on the end of "Plink" in the first frame in No. 84, "Not getting up"?
 
Thanks,
 
XX
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

Mark,
 
I'm not sure I understand No. 93, Paperless.  What point are you illustrating?
 
For No. 95, Into the Gym, please insert a comma after "...on this one..."  It should look like "...on this one,..."  Also, what does RAE stand for on the red shirt?
 
Thanks,
 

XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

Mark,
 
Good morning.  We are again running low on cartoons, and it doesn't look like we'll run No. 91, Spanking.  I don't necessarily find it offensive, but I think readers surely could.  The idea is good and sometimes senior NCOs do have to treat young officers as immature kids, in my opinion.  However, that concept could be conveyed in another manner.
 
Let me know what you think.
 
Sincerely,
 
XX
 
 
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

 

Mark,
 
It has been decided that "Blue Falcon" is a little too crude for our audience, so, yes, it will not run in the paper in its present condition.  Sorry about that.  We agreed it was clever. Anyway, No. 83, "DA Select Promotions," will run this week.
 
Sincerely,
 
XX
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

 

Mark,

"Kids" is a good cartoon.  Two concerns:

 
Please add a comma in the sentence "If the troops need to go potty, I've got them covered."
 
Also, should Port-O-Jon be spelled Port-O-John?  Just checking.
 
It looks good otherwise.
 
Thanks,
 
XX
 
 
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

Mark,
 
I don't understand the Huachuca cartoon, and I should have told you earlier, but except for that cartoon, I have no others ready for print.  Can you send a long at least one today or tonight?
 
Sorry for the late notice. 
 
Let me know and I hope all is well.
 

XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

XX,
 
I'll see what I can do. Please let me know as sooner how many cartoons you will (or will not) use. I had to scramble to get those last ones done. I can't just crank out a cartoon in a few minutes - so the sooner you can advise how many I have left in the queue (that you are going to run) the better.
I'm just trying to stay ahead.
 
 Thanks again,
 
 Mark

 

 

Mark,
 
In No. 101, please delete the apostrophe in "...all his NCOs..." and add a hyphen between dining and in, creating "dining-in."
 
Just a small note, the color of Murphy's pants looks Kelly green while I think they should be darker--more like forest green.  Tell me if I'm wrong; it's cool.
 
It should be good to run after that.  Thanks for quickly sending me those toons.
 
XX
Deputy News Editor | Army Times



Mark,
 
A good crop you sent in, in my humble opinion.
 
This week we are running No. 102, Dining-in.  As for the rest of them, they are entertaining.  No. 103 first appeared to be out of date with current policy, but then I remembered black berets can still be worn with the ASU (correct me if I'm wrong), so in that case, it's fine.  I may run it by our expert on personnel issues Jim Tice.
 
Including No. 103, seven remain in the storehouse ready to go.
 
I'll let you know if a cartoon needs a minor grammatical correction.  At first glance they were fine. 
 
Good work.  I enjoyed reading them, and I hope our readers do, too.
 
Sincerely,
 

XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

 

 

 

Mark,
 
You are down to one cartoon.  I'm not sure if we'll run "Change."  It seems a bit political, a play on President Obama's slogan.
 

XX

 
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

XX
 
Seriously?
 
Mark

 

Mark,

Serious about what?  I'll pass "Change" on to higher ups and see what they have to say.  Still, if we use "Change," that leaves you with one remaining for next week.

 
XX
 
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

Mark,
 
I spoke with Richard and he says that we'll not be using your last three toons, "Change," "Holiday menu" or "Holiday party."
 
Sorry for the bad news.  But I still wish you a happy Thanksgiving.
 

XX

Deputy News Editor | Army Times

 

Mark,

 
It appears your last cartoon, "Mort_pastiche" is very much like a Beetle Bailey frame that we ran on Nov. 21 and won't run it for print.  To be honest, I'm not sure if we'll run the next two brain toons, either.  Please call XXXXXXX and sort this all out. 
 
XX
 
 
Deputy News Editor | Army Times

XX,

 
I've thought about it and I really can't see what there is to sort out. I'm a freelance cartoonist. I've explained this before. I submit cartoons to you and it is always your prerogative which ones you'll run and which you decide not to. I ask why a certain cartoon or cartoons are not run out of curiosity - not to argue the point. Although I am human and do get irked sometimes when I've worked on an idea only to have it turned down because that paper feels someone will be offended. There's no getting around that. Someone is always offended. You can't put out a point of view to as large and audience as the Army Times has and expect everyone to agree. In fact, over the past 11 years Pvt. Murphy has built a reputation of telling it like it is from a Soldier's perspective and not being like Mort Walker's long running perpetual private "Beetle Bailey." But again, I can only submit what I think is quality work and hope for the best.
The "Mort pastiche" cartoon is, as the file name implies, a parody of Mr. Walker's cartoon. As a "Murphy" cartoon the cartoon is terrible and I was sure you would turn it down, but as a "Beetle" cartoon is it perfectly acceptable. Weird. The last two cartoons I drew with Murphy's brain jumping out of his head - and then Murphy heading to the re-enlistment office is a long running gag I've used with Murphy. Every 3 or 4 years, when it comes time for Murphy to re-enlist I did a cartoon of Murphy's brain taking a powder before Murphy headed to the re-enlistment office. Maybe this/these cartoons offend some people but as someone who has personally re-enlisted several times during a 20 year career I didn't see them as too offensive, just fun.  We even used to have cadences where we sang "Re-up, re-up, you're crazy!" In any case, I think you don't give the men and women who make up the finest fighting force in the world enough credit when it comes to sensitivity.
Past that, I have to admit I'm played out. Retirement has put me out of touch with today's Army and I just can't produce the quality of cartoons I did in the past.
I have sent you some cartoons lately with the sole intention of getting your goat, ("Mort pastiche" and "getting published") and I apologize for that. It was childish, and for what it's worth, I am truly sorry.
Anyway,  it's time that I stepped aside and allowed some fresh blood to take over. I talked to you before about the cartoon series "Delta Bravo Sierra" taking the place of "Murphy" and I do hope you will consider it. 
Besides the 2 cartoons that I've attached I have two more that I'd like to submit before ending the strip. I would consider it a HUGE favor if you would allow me to end the cartoon my way and not just let it die without closure. But the decision, of course, lies with you and the other Army Times editors.
 
All in all I think we've had a good run. 11 years of weeklies! I'm no Bill Maudlin, but I've given it my best and the Army Times for the most part has done right by me. I appreciate it.
 
No hard feelings,
 
Mark

 

 

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