Art Spiegelman on Art Young at 150
In Young’s day — he was born the year after the Civil War ended and died while the Second World War was still raging — the power of the political cartoon to shape thought and mobilize opinion was a given. He grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, and his cracker-barrel manner was picked up around the cracker barrel in his father’s general store, where he also exhibited his first cartoons. Gustave Doré’s woodcut illustrations for Dante’s Inferno made a deep impression on him (he wrote and drew three versions of his own up-to-date Inferno over the years), as did Thomas Nast’s Boss Tweed cartoons for Harper’s Weekly. A high-school dropout, Young sold his first cartoon to Judge at seventeen and then moved to Chicago, where he studied art and began to draw for newspapers.