Category Archives: obituary

Cartoon Magazine Publisher Hugh Hefner Dies

cartoon magazine publisher hugh hefner Hugh Hefner was a frustrated cartoonist, so he pursued other interests and founded Playboy magazine.

You probably only read Playboy for the fiction. But I read it for the cartoons. Hefner chose the cartoons for each issue.

Cartoon Magazine Publisher Hugh Hefner

I think he also chose the other pictures that appeared in his magazine. And he developed the “Playboy Philosophy” to help him with that task.

But the world of internet porn and political correctness made things difficult for Playboy. An obit in The Atlantic argues that what Playboy offered was “sanitized – Hefner wanted the centerfolds to exude clean-cut charm rather than exotic allure.”

What it should have offered was more cartoons.

Hef was 91 when he died on Wednesday.

Muhammad Ali’s Best Years

best yearsMuhammad Ali gave up the best years of his boxing career for something he believed in. He refused induction into the army during the Vietnam war. By the early 70’s most of the country was on his side and he became the greatest ever.

That made me think of Bob Feller and Ted Williams. They gave up the best years of their baseball careers for something they believed in – fighting WWII. They became heroes too.

I thought I might make something out of that in a cartoon but settled for this.

I’m sure it’s a little theologically dubious – a Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew meet at the Pearly Gates…


Cincinnati Gorilla, Chicago Humans


Well, it’s not every day a gorilla is gunned down in Cincinnati. But for human beings in Chicago it kind of is an every day experience. CBS News Chicago tracks shootings here.

Just Say No


Here’s a good example of a cartoon gone bad.

On Monday the NYT ran a story about the heroin epidemic spreading across the cities of America.

The Times editors chose to place that story on the front page, right next to Nancy Reagan’s obituary. That would be Nancy “Just Say No to Drugs” Reagan.

Considering that prescription drug abuse is soaring and pot is sold openly in Colorado and other states, it’s pretty clear that, 30 years after Nancy’s “Just Say No” campaign, quite a few Americans are saying “yes” to drugs.

Being a sucker for irony, I drew a cartoon and rushed it off to the syndicate. Only then did I stop to look at what I had drawn. I was perplexed by my own cartoon. It was true, but it was crass. Mrs. Reagan was devoted to President Reagan and the White House. I wasn’t thinking about dumping on her the day after her death but that’s the message my image conveyed.

Fortunately, I had failed to stick Muhammad in the picture so I would live to draw another day. 160307nancy

I asked the syndicate to withdraw the drug cartoon and dashed off the one above.

I guess this story is an example of the peculiar power of a picture.

Anyway, should you come across this cartoon, just say no.


Artful Art and Big D


My father was a big man. In fact we called him “Big D”. He encouraged it.

Dr. Arthur Bernard Bok, Jr. served 23 years as team physician for the University of Dayton. He was a pioneer in the field of sports medicine. Before that he was team physician for the Dayton Gems IHL hockey team. He was an expert face stitcher. My brothers’ mugs as well as my own were canvases for his work. The same goes for many of our friends. Dad donated countless hours of medical service to everyone from neighborhood rink rats to college athletes. Any kid trying out for any team in any sport was entitled to a free physical at Doc Bok’s office.

Artful Art

art-bokHe was born in Cincinnati, grew up in Toledo and came to Dayton on a football scholarship.

He played in the first Ohio high school North/South all-star game in 1946. Notre Dame legend Frank Leahy coached the South team. Leahy tried to poach my pop for the Irish. But, this being the pre-Urban Meyer era, dad kept his commitment to the Flyers. This upset my grandmother but pleased my grandfather. It also pleased my siblings and me because Dayton is where he met a pretty cheerleader, Jeanne Stewart, who became our mother.

He really was big for a back in those days – 6’2″ 192 pounds. And fast. He ran a 10 second flat hundred yard dash. The 40 had not yet been invented.

As a 17 year old in training camp he competed against much older returning war vets and earned a starting job as a freshman. He went on to become the Flyers’ all-time leading scorer. In 1948 he averaged 6.7 yards per carry.

The papers called him “Artful Art” and “Mr. Inside Outside”.

Dad football tribute

Following a 72 yard touchdown run against John Carroll in Cleveland stadium, Paul Brown paid him a visit in the locker room. His hopes, however, of playing for the Cleveland Browns were dashed when the Baltimore Colts drafted him in 1950.standard-NFL-contrac-bok-72

He signed  a $5,000.00 contract. Today’s NFL was not my father’s NFL. The team was lousy and the equipment worse.  He stuck around long enough to get mentioned in Art Donavan’s book Fatso but soon gave up football for med school and marriage.

heisman-dad-webHe attended the Chicago School of Osteopathic Medicine and returned to Dayton to begin his practice and raise his family.

Everybody loved him. I wanted to be just like him. When I was 12 or so someone asked if I would be a football player too. Big D’s reply was, “he may be small but he’s slow”. That stung but not too much because it was funny. I got bigger and faster but in the end he was right. I became a cartoonist.

My dad lived a rich and rewarding life. He was surrounded by our loving mother, 5 children, and 16 of his 19 grandchildren when it came to an end. After he breathed his last we said a prayer, poured martinis and toasted him. Old number 44 was 86.

Now, back to drawing the people I don’t like!