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Doug Marlette 1949-2007
From the Washington Post:
Doug Marlette, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist who recently turned his incisive wit toward a budding career as novelist, died Tuesday in an auto accident in Mississippi. He was 57.
Marlette, who split his time between Hillsborough and Tulsa, Okla., and was visiting Mississippi to help a group of high school students with the musical version of his syndicated comic strip, "Kudzu." He had just delivered the eulogy at his father's funeral Friday in Charlotte, N.C.
My first exposure to Doug Marlette (wiki) came from the Red State rag, the Winston-Salem Journal. In 1990, Marlette, a North Carolina native, put Senator Jesse Helms in his non-political cartoon strip Kudzu. Let's just say, the result was not flattering, but I couldn't come to that conclusion at that time because the Winston-Salem Journal BANNED Kudzu for that week. The paper offered to mail the strips to anyone who made a request in writing. So, being the ass that I am, I wrote the paper and DEMANDED my rights to read Kudzu!
About two weeks later, I got an envelope from the paper with the Kudzu strips and I must confess, this was the first time I had every SEEN the strip in my life. I just wanted the Journal to bend over backwards for me because they were being such sycophants for Jesse Helms.
Then I learned about Kudzu Dubose, his Mom, Maurice and the Reverend Will B. Dunn and their sleepy little town of Bypass, North Carolina.
Kudzu isn't the only strip the Winston-Salem Journal has banned. When Doonesbury debuted the character Mr. Butts, they banned it in deference to their corporate masters - the R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Company, which was then headquartered in Winston-Salem.
Today, the cartoon North Carolina town of Dobson mourns for their compatriots in Bypass, NC.