This entry was posted on Oct 26 2009 by

(un)scripted: The Surrogates, Editorial Cartoon

Mike Luckovich - Surrogates Word Balloon

The supplemental material that ends each chapter of The Surrogates is a key part of the book (at some point, I’ll get around to explaining how they came to be).  I’d always wanted to write an editorial page where fictional columnists of different viewpoints would debate each other on the surrogate question, so when it came time to script Flesh and Bone, I made use of the opportunity.  As with the other supplements, I intended to handle all of the writing, but no editorial page—present or future—would be complete without an editorial cartoon.  To say I’m inept at drawing is an understatement, so what was I to do?

Since The Surrogates is set in a future version of Atlanta, I decided on a whim to email Mike Luckovich, the editorial cartoonist on staff at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mike, he’s a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner, and his cartoons are syndicated in over 150 newspapers.  He’s also the creator of “The Statue of Liberty Weeps,” one of the most recognizable post-9/11 images.  In other words, I had no business emailing this guy (whom I’d never met) and asking him to put ink to paper for my silly little sci-fi story.    

To my complete dismay, Mike answered my email and agreed to take me up on the offer.  I’d already thought of a concept (Husband and Wife stand over the family dog, lounging in his doggie bed.  The dog wears a headset, the wires connected to a robo-doggie, which stands alertly beside him.  Husband says to Wife, “Now he can take himself for a walk.”), but I wanted to give Mike the freedom to come up with his own if he chose to do so.  I sent him a copy of The Surrogates, and he responded with the cartoon that now appears on Page 33 of Flesh and Bone.  To date, Mike’s are the only words in the history of The Surrogates books that I didn’t write myself.  He was great to work with, and I’ll always be humbled that he took the time.  He’s an Atlanta institution, so to have him appear in the pages of Flesh and Bone makes the book feel like home.

(Note: The image at the top of this post is the set-up dialogue for Mike’s cartoon.  To read the punch line and see the full image, you’ll have to look in the printed book.  I’m not sure how Mike would feel about posting the whole thing online, and I don’t want to overstep.)

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