Artificial Intelligence Cartoons #18

Artificial Intelligence threatens us all --and no one knows better than political cartoonists how AI already threatens the jobs of journalists and cartoonists and may soon threaten to take over the world! In our new Caglecast we discuss our impending doom with four of the best editorial cartoonists who show and talk about their own AI cartoons:

JEFF KOTERBA is possibly our most popular cartoonist, he's drawn More.

Artificial Intelligence threatens us all –and no one knows better than political cartoonists how AI already threatens the jobs of journalists and cartoonists and may soon threaten to take over the world! In our new Caglecast we discuss our impending doom with four of the best editorial cartoonists who show and talk about their own AI cartoons:

JEFF KOTERBA is possibly our most popular cartoonist, he’s drawn for over thirty years for the top newspaper in Nebraska, his cartoons have flown around the world on the Space Shuttle Discovery, and he’s been struck by lightening.

RICK MCKEE was the cartoonist for decades for the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia; he draws the comic “Pluggers” and we’ve syndicated Rick’s editorial cartoons for 20 years. Rick generated the first syndicated political cartoon that was drawn by AI, that we discussed on Caglecast number SIX –go take a look at that on

RIVERS is our brilliant, anonymous and very conservative cartoonist, who has a background in tech.

And we have the brilliant self syndicated, altie cartoonist, ANDY SINGER who draws the environmentally friendly and tech savvy cartoon panel “No Exit” that appears in dozens of newspapers and appears on and where you can license the cartoons for your own publication!

SEE MORE AT CAGLECAST.COM, where you can see all of our exciting episodes and read the full transcript below.

Full transcript of Episode #18, Artificial Intelligence Cartoons

[00:00:00] Daryl Cagle: Hi, I’m Daryl Cagle and this is the Caglecast. We’re all about political cartoons, and today we have four great cartoonists to talk about artificial intelligence, that threatens our jobs and the jobs of journalists and cartoonists and may soon threaten to take over the world. Jeff Koterba is possibly our most popular cartoonist.

[00:00:21] Daryl Cagle: Hey, Jeff. Hey Darrell. Thanks for having me on. He’s drawn for over 30 years for the top newspaper in Nebraska. His cartoons have flown around the world on the space shuttle Discovery, and he’s been struck by lightning. Rick McKee was the cartoonist for decades for the Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. He draws the comic Pluggers and we’ve syndicated Rick for 20 years.

[00:00:40] Daryl Cagle: Rick generated the first syndicated. Political cartoon that was drawn by AI that we discussed on Caglecast number six. So go take a look at that on Rivers is our brilliant anonymous and very conservative cartoonist who has a background in tech, and we have the brilliant self syndicated al cartoonist Andy Singer who draws the environmentally.

[00:01:03] Daryl Cagle: Friendly and tech savvy cartoon panel, No Exit that appears in dozens of newspapers and appears on and where you can license the cartoons for your own publication. Welcome gentlemen. 

[00:01:16] Rick McKee: Okay, thank you. Hello. 

[00:01:17] Daryl Cagle: Okay, so we’ve got a whole bunch of AI cartoons from each of you and uh, we will discuss.

[00:01:23] Daryl Cagle: Jeff, we’re gonna start off with you. Here’s one of yours. I read through the cartoons because the podcast is both, audio and video and so many people see it in audio and can’t see the cartoons, so we have to tell them what’s going on. And so apologies for that. But if you don’t see the cartoons, you can, go to Apple Podcasts or or or Spotify.

[00:01:45] Daryl Cagle: And, you can see the video, but. audio is good too. So here we’ve got, Jeff Koterba’s drawing of a donkey and a elephant and the AI robot chasing after them. And it says, just when you thought politics couldn’t get any weirder, the robot says, “We’ve formed our own party.” 

[00:02:03] Jeff Koterba: Good AI voice, Daryl. 

[00:02:04] Daryl Cagle: Jeff, here’s your next one. You’ve got a lady on the AI psychiatrist couch and she says , “A new survey shows most American workers aren’t worried about being replaced by robots. So why am I anxious about technology?” 

[00:02:17] Jeff Koterba: I think this is one. Uh, and I’m no longer at the World Herald, uh, as of, uh, two and a half years ago, but I think this is one I might have drawn 2017 ish or something.

[00:02:26] Jeff Koterba: So it’s been fun to go through the, uh, I haven’t done a lot on, on AI recently, but it’s been fun to kind of go through the archives and go back and see what I was doing. Uh, a while back. . Makes me feel smart. Like, oh, could I see the future

[00:02:39] Daryl Cagle: here? You’ve got a couple ladies in the car and one of them is, at the computer with her phone, and , the other one says, “Cool. Is this one of those Google driverless cars?” The other one says, “No. Why?” Because she’s driving it with her computer and her phone. That’s scary. 

[00:02:57] Jeff Koterba: Yeah, another, another one from, from back in the day.

[00:03:00] Jeff Koterba: And this is before I started, started drawing digitally, so I’m just looking at it. I can see a paint smudge on the bottom of the drawing. Um, but yeah, this is, I think it’s, I think that’s a blood stain. It, you know what, back in the day, you know, when you guys all know how this goes, like back in the day when I was, uh, drawing for the Kansas City Star, like in the, in the eighties, drawing sports cartoons.

[00:03:19] Jeff Koterba: Using, uh, FedEx to send my cartoons. And one night I was on a deadline. I had no time to make a photocopy at Kinko’s or whatever, and I had to put the original into the FedEx envelope and uh, I realized there was pizza all over. So I literally was trying to white use white out over the pizza scene. Yeah.

[00:03:37] Rivers: Your style has changed since then, quite a bit. 

[00:03:40] Jeff Koterba: It, it has, I mean, I think part of that is due to drawing, uh, using an iPad. I think that’s, I sort of missed this kind of style, you know, but it’s improved for me, just in terms of the process.

[00:03:51] Daryl Cagle: I like this style.

[00:03:52] Daryl Cagle: I like the bold, ink squashes. it’s the old Jeff. Okay, so here you got a guy walking down the street alongside his robot buddy and he says “A Google executive ish pushing for sensible regulation of artificial intelligence. What do you think?” And the robot is thinking.

[00:04:11] Jeff Koterba: So here, here’s another one that, that was, uh, you know, done several years ago and it popped up.

[00:04:16] Jeff Koterba: Somebody tweeted it out recently, I’d forgotten about it. And in fact it came at a good time cause that first cartoon was showed. Where AI is, you know, running for president or whatever. I was like, ah, I gotta figure out a, a new, different way to, you know, draw a robot. And I, you know, I guess I can, I could literally, I can Google that, but then this Twitter, this tweet shows up with one of my cartoons and I thought, oh, I’ll just look at my own cartoons.

[00:04:39] Jeff Koterba: See how I did it the first time. I dunno if that’s ever happened to any of you, but sometimes things just kind of fall into your lap that way.

[00:04:45] Daryl Cagle: Well, you know, so many of our cartoons are on the same topics and the news just recycles the same topics. It’s hard not to think of what you already did. Here, you got the job fair.

[00:04:57] Daryl Cagle: I now hiring humans and robots. We want to meet you and let’s interface. And the couple interviewers sitting at the table. One says, “This labor shortage is worse than I thought.” To the robot walking away saying, “No thank you.” My goodness. 

[00:05:13] Andy Singer: Because they’re not even paying enough to support a robot.

[00:05:16] Andy Singer: Right. 

[00:05:18] Daryl Cagle: That’s probably true. You’ve got the kid on Santa’s lap, yanking on his beard. The kid says, “Sorry, I had to make sure you weren’t AI generated.” 

[00:05:28] Jeff Koterba: An obligatory Christmas. You know, good.

[00:05:30] Jeff Koterba: Feel, feel, feel, feel good, cartoon. 

[00:05:32] Daryl Cagle: Okay, Rick, here’s one of yours. It’s another Christmas cartoon. Okay. Mom says to the boy, “To be or not to be a good boy. That was the question?”

[00:05:42] Daryl Cagle: And the boy says, “I had an AI write my letter to Santa in the style of Shakespeare.” 

[00:05:48] Rick McKee: Yeah. This is another, like Jeff said, you know, you do, you do Christmas and uh, those are, those are gonna get printed. 

[00:05:55] Andy Singer: Oh, just that my spouse is a, a college professor and, uh, the people are turning in AI generated papers.

[00:06:03] Andy Singer: Oh. And so there and there are other programs to detect the AI generated paper.

[00:06:10] Daryl Cagle: Oh, that’s fun. Does your wife use those programs? 

[00:06:12] Andy Singer: Yeah. Yeah. You can kind of tell somebody who’s, um, incapable of writing anything coherent on a quiz, suddenly comes out with this thing that’s, um, quite beautifully written, but isn’t exactly on the topic.

[00:06:27] Daryl Cagle: You know, we’re kind of having an issue here. We’ve gotten mail from editors, concerned that we might have cartoonists and, uh, columnists doing AI generated work, and the editors are saying We wanna make sure that doesn’t happen. we assure them that it’s not happening, but, I worry a little bit that sometime we’re gonna get an excellent writer who can’t draw and he’s gonna make editorial cartoons that look good and are their opinion of a real person and are thoughtful, good cartoons.

[00:07:01] Daryl Cagle: What do you think we should do when that happens? I dunno. 

[00:07:04] Rick McKee: Well, I think we’re at least, you know, two months away from that happening, so you probably won’t have to worry about it. Yeah. 

[00:07:12] Daryl Cagle: should 

[00:07:13] Andy Singer: we, I mean, I’ve read things that are like super funny, um, that are entirely, you know, admittedly AI generated. Um, and yeah, we’re, we are probably like a month or two away from, um, every publication in America being.

[00:07:28] Andy Singer: Generated by a computer. 

[00:07:30] Jeff Koterba: And I think that’s one of the, uh, one of the, uh, points that the Writer’s Guild is making in the, in the Hollywood writer strike is to protect, you know, originality and actual human beings writing and protecting scripts from being written by ai. I don’t know where that is right now, are we offended by that?

[00:07:47] Jeff Koterba: If, if, if there’s a cartoon that’s,

[00:07:49] Daryl Cagle: well, a couple of letters from editors wanted to make sure that doesn’t happen. And it seems to me that it’s likely to happen and we don’t have, we haven’t thought through what we’ll do when it happens. Um, uh, I have, I haven’t decided yet. It, it seems to be more of an issue if you’ve got a real person.

[00:08:07] Daryl Cagle: Writing something so that you’ve got the opinion of a person rather than a machine. the editors are actually, I think, most concerned about, columnists, uh, because, it’s like the essays for your wife’s class. Are we gonna turn out AI columns? We’re not gonna do that, but I, I don’t know if we would not take a good writer who’s getting his cartoons drawn by AI.

[00:08:33] Jeff Koterba: What if that cartoonist doesn’t tell you? How would you know? I mean, what, what prevents someone in the same way that Andy’s referenced to his, you know, wife’s, uh, uh, college students, you know, at some point, maybe ai, you know, you can, maybe you probably can do this already and say, Hey, don’t write it quite as beautifully. 

[00:08:49] Andy Singer: Yeah. I mean, I think, um, for writing, it’s much harder to tell. I I, maybe you guys would know, have you seen cartoons that are generated by AI that look like.

[00:09:00] Andy Singer: a typical political cartoon or, look like a cartoon period, cuz it sort of seems to me AI is very good with photographs, but, um, when it’s attempting to. Uh, make something of, you know, simple line styles or whatever. Uh, it, it has more trouble. 

[00:09:16] Daryl Cagle: we have a cartoonist who, does his cartoons in Photoshop that look like photographs 

[00:09:22] Daryl Cagle: I think AI could probably do that. Uh, well, it is, uh, it depends on the style of the artist, I think. 

[00:09:29] Rick McKee: I’ve really looked into this a lot, so, uh, and I think the next cartoon you’re gonna show proves that it is possible, uh, with some, right now, with some doctoring. Um, but I think we’re not far away from having it.

[00:09:44] Rick McKee: I would say seriously, probably within a year or two of being able to completely do a cartoon. That looks like a real cartoon. We’re not there yet, but for instance, some of my counterpoints in another organization that I work for, I can go through and I can put, uh, you know, cartoon about Trump in the style of say, you know, Rob Rogers or Nick Anderson, or you know, myself or Darrell, and it’ll who, whoever, and it knows who you are.

[00:10:16] Rick McKee: And it knows you have a different style from the other person. It’s not able to nail your style, but it does come up with a, you know, a pretty decent looking image. Um, it does not do type well and just like, uh, mid journey recently fixed the finger problem. You know, they had too many fingers on characters and they’ve completely fixed that.

[00:10:38] Rick McKee: Um, I think the next thing they’re probably working on is, uh, the type aspect of ai. So, I would say, you know, as fast as this is moving within a year or so, I think they’re gonna have it fixed. Um, I was joking about two months, but …

[00:10:54] Daryl Cagle: we all have extensive portfolios of our work online, and I, I think it’s pretty clear that the AI has read our biographies to know that we’re cartoonists, but hasn’t been going through our portfolios to study our style.

[00:11:08] Daryl Cagle: Uh, well,

[00:11:08] Rick McKee: it, it actually has, it’s, if you’re in Google image search, it is scraping your cartoons. And your style, and it knows generally what your style is. Daryl, it doesn’t have it down, but it, it knows it, you know? 

[00:11:23] Daryl Cagle: Well, when I’ve, I’ve told it to, give me a cartoon about something. In, in Daryl Cagle’s style, it looks.

[00:11:30] Daryl Cagle: It looks terrible. Right. But it, it knows I’m a cartoonist and it, it right. Knows the idea of what it should be, and I think it hasn’t. I just think it hasn’t scraped every artist yet to be able to manage that. You don’t think so? 

[00:11:45] Rick McKee: I think you’re exactly right, but what, like, for instance, when I talked about Rob Rogers and Nick Anderson, you know, Nick Anderson uses these pastel colors and Rob Rogers sort of uses these neon bright colors with the Duoshade.

[00:11:59] Rick McKee: He kind of knows that already. And it, and I can tell by looking at it, it’s aiming for that. It’s not there yet. But again, I mean, as rapidly as this is, uh, progressing, I’d say within a year it’s gonna be able to do, somebody like, Geiger or Frazetta or some of these guys in, especially these, uh, anime styles.

[00:12:21] Rick McKee: They, they have Mid Journey has a whole thing devoted to anime styles now, and it is nailing it. I mean, these illustrations that it can produce are. You can’t tell the difference and they’re beautiful. 

[00:12:33] Jeff Koterba: Here’s a quick question for you. Earlier you were complimenting on my, my earlier style, what would be wrong with me coming up with a cartoon idea now and using AI to generate that cartoon in my previous style?

[00:12:48] Jeff Koterba: Is that, is that 


[00:12:49] Daryl Cagle: Well, you’re kind of becoming that situation that I described of a, of somebody that has good ideas for cartoons and then has AI generate them. Are we going to, 

[00:12:59] Jeff Koterba: but it’s in my own style, so I’m already a cartoonist, so I’m not someone who doesn’t already do art. I already have established my own style.

[00:13:08] Jeff Koterba: I’m just using a tool to get to my drawing that I would’ve gotten to eventually. 

[00:13:13] Rick McKee: One thing you can do, one thing I did was I took a sketch and I uploaded it and I asked it to, to finish it out and in the comic art style and it was pretty close.

[00:13:25] Rick McKee: It was kind of what I wanted. It wasn’t usable, but it was pretty close so I, what you’re talking about, Jeff, I did do and uploaded it to, and it was used and I made sure that it was labeled AI and, uh, you know, people knew that that’s what it was. 

[00:13:39] Daryl Cagle: Have you tried giving it a, an ink drawing and say color, uh, watercolor this in the style of Rick McKee? 

[00:13:46] Rick McKee: Um, I would say, I didn’t say in, in my style because it was already in my style. I said, you know, uh, finish this as comic art is what I think the prompt was. And, um, And it did it, and it was a line art colored, you know, in a comic art style that was based on my drawing.

[00:14:11] Rick McKee: Um, I haven’t tried it lately, and this, 

[00:14:13] Daryl Cagle: this was, this was, you know, 

[00:14:16] Rick McKee: like December or whenever I did that other one. Uh, so it’s been months, so it’s probably improved since then. 

[00:14:23] Andy Singer: I’m just curious whether, um, the more sort of, um, I won’t say distinctive, but certain kinds of styles, like I do a lot of crosshatching and, uh, I have yet to see an AI program handle that well.

[00:14:39] Andy Singer: And I wonder to what degree we’re over promising or AI is over promising for certain things. And the analogy I would give would be automobiles where, um, they’ve been promising driverless cars for a long time and yeah, they can make, uh, sort of driverless cars in a limited way where they’ve mapped the living crap out of the streets where they have every manhole cover every.

[00:15:05] Andy Singer: Um, detail of the street mapped. Um, but from talking to scientists or reading interviews with scientists who are, um, doing, uh, driverless cars, uh, a lot of them say it’s not gonna happen in our lifetime if it ever happens. Um, cuz cars, uh, the, the technology can’t tell the difference between a person, uh, a, a block on the side of the street and a, a police officer waving for you to stop.

[00:15:32] Andy Singer: Um, or it can’t, um, even distinguish I, I believe, between red and green lights unless the lightest has something that will speak to the, to the vehicle. Um, and so there’s a lot of like super complicated things involved in mimicry, um, that it handles photographs really well or it handles, uh, things with sort of gradated tone or whatever.

[00:15:56] Andy Singer: But, um, they have a certain look to them. And its ability to mimic things that aren’t in that wheelhouse seems more limited anyway. 

[00:16:07] Jeff Koterba: So crosshatching will save you, is what you’re saying? 

[00:16:09] Andy Singer: Maybe. I don’t know, but I’m just, I’m just saying like, you know, uh, I wonder to, it’s agree to actually, maybe I haven’t, you guys have like seen more of these things than I have.

[00:16:18] Andy Singer: Um, uh, but I mean, you know, I wonder, you know, how if you ask it to do something in Jeff Bagley’s style or whoever, like, you know, how good is it? Um, and, and will it be better or, 

[00:16:31] Rivers: Well, I would say that it’s in its infancy, right? So I mean, just give it a, like, uh, Rick said, give it a little bit of time and, uh, maybe in about, uh, two or three years it will be doing full cross-hatching.

[00:16:43] Jeff Koterba: Yeah. 

[00:16:43] Daryl Cagle: this is depressing. Okay, Rick, here’s what of yours. You got the AI. Robot who has a human brain, ironically. And, uh, he’s sitting at the table with a cockroach and the nuclear bomb outside. And he says, “So I was sitting here debating humankind’s fate when this guy comes up to me and says, Hey, you know, the earth is flat, right?”

[00:17:05] Daryl Cagle: I think that’s funny. A human brain and a beer and a roach opposing, 

[00:17:12] Rick McKee: That’s a synthetic human brain. Oh, okay. And that’s motor oil. Yeah. And this one was, uh, but carbonated. Exactly. This one was inspired by, um, you know, just going on different social media platforms and I’m constantly running into this.

[00:17:28] Rick McKee: People who are trying to. Argue that the earth is flat. And, and so I was, I was just sitting there thinking one day, here we are 2023 on the cusp of AI completely taking us over, and we’ve still got people who can’t accept that the Earth is Round. And I thought, you know, hey, maybe there’s cartoon in that.

[00:17:47] Rick McKee: And, uh, so instead of posting that on Facebook, I drew it. Um, That sound

[00:17:53] Daryl Cagle: Excellent cartoon here is your, cartoon that you drew with ai. Yes. Uh, and we did the podcast on this and then talked about how that is gonna s hake out, podcast number six, go back on Uh, it’s a great looking cartoon and I could see, uh, a cartoonist with this kind of style doing it.

[00:18:16] Daryl Cagle: I could see it. It’s got a kind of a Disney look to it. Yeah. And I, you know, 

[00:18:21] Rick McKee: I wanted, it was just an experiment to see if I could do it, and it was sort of, you know, making the point, uh, sort of a cautionary point about AI using ai. And I made sure to label it that I used AI to create it because, um, yeah, it’s, uh, because of all the problems we’re talking about here, and I, I just wanted to see if I could do it and, uh, haven’t done it since.

[00:18:44] Andy Singer: So did AI generate the figure on the right and the text for it? 

[00:18:48] Rick McKee: So I added that part. Uh, okay. The, uh, the, the whole image on the left, uh, 

[00:18:56] Andy Singer: including the box. 

[00:18:57] Rick McKee: Yeah, the box, everything. In fact, I had several. Uh, boxes, several images like that to choose from. And I went with the one that I thought looked sort of more like my style.

[00:19:08] Rick McKee: Um, and then I brought it into Photoshop. I added the dark background, I added the little guy in front. Um, and I put the label on it. 

[00:19:16] Daryl Cagle: Um, you didn’t have to have the guy on the right. It makes the point without him, I mean, you’re, you’re putting that in there because we’re all worried about AI and, uh, we’re, we’re still at the point where we’re commenting on that stuff, but those comments are gonna disappear and it’s just gonna be AI.

[00:19:31] Daryl Cagle: True. 

[00:19:31] Rick McKee: But I, I kind wanted, I kind wanted to make an editorial point and make, you know, get a, get a gag out it too. 

[00:19:37] Jeff Koterba: I like the Pandora. I, I like the addition, Rick. It was an extra little, it was an extra zinger.

[00:19:42] Rivers: I think it’s a beautiful cartoon and actually when I first saw it, it reminded me of Bierman a little, um, that kind of style.

[00:19:50] Rivers: It’s, it’s very similar to that. 

[00:19:52] Rick McKee: I appreciate it. Thank you. Yeah. I mean, I can’t take credit for it, 

[00:19:55] Daryl Cagle: I think you can, and We’re gonna face that right away. Okay. So, uh, Rivers we have come to you. You’ve got the big AI, Viking holding his two axes and a couple of tiny businessmen sitting under his big threat.

[00:20:09] Daryl Cagle: One of them says, “Relax. Our technocratic overlords claim he’s here to make our jobs easier, that the axes are purely decorative. 

[00:20:19] Rivers: Yeah. And, and, you know, um, this is one of those cartoons that, that I think I, in our last podcast I talked about how I, I sit and I doodle next to my, uh, partner.

[00:20:30] Rivers: And, um, this was a, a cartoon that I’d draw on a Viking. And I, I didn’t know how to use it in a cartoon. And so it looked like a really ominous viking, you know, you’re looking up at it and he’s, he’s like a giant. a lot of the Vikings were giants, um, uh, in terms of, you know, being very tall.

[00:20:48] Rivers: Uh, and the berserkers would often, you know, have two axes. And so I wanted this very ominous type of, uh, individual to represent ai. And, uh, it, uh, I think it worked well. Um,

[00:21:01] Rick McKee: that’s a great, great image. 

[00:21:03] Jeff Koterba: It, it’s really Rivers. It’s, uh, I, I, I like it, uh, for a lot of reasons. I, it’s unexpected. That you’re using a Viking for ai because we’re all using robots because that’s, It’s fun to, first of all, it’s fun to draw a robot.

[00:21:17] Jeff Koterba: Uh, and, and, and Rick, your last, that robot man, that last one’s just gorgeous, but this is unexpected and yet it works. It, it does work really well. I, I’m just, uh, were you tempted to turn this into some kind of robotic? 

[00:21:31] Rivers: No, not at all. No, not at all. Because I, I, I love the, like, the, the sketch was just, uh, one of those things that you, you, when you draw it, you go, no, this works just as it is.

[00:21:41] Rivers: Mm-hmm. And, uh, just leave it.

[00:21:43] Daryl Cagle: So AI is all about, all about threat. And I think by having it not be the robot, you’re, you emphasize that it’s all threat. So much gets lost in the robot ness of of of 

[00:21:54] Jeff Koterba: “Robotness.” Rivers. Lemme ask you, I’m just curious on your creative process. So you’re, you’re sketching and, you know, I’ve, I’ve often felt, uh, over the years that my rough sketches.

[00:22:05] Jeff Koterba: Something gets lost in translation when I go to make the finished drawing. And there have been times when I have, you know, literally taken it Xerox or photocopy, whatever, blowing it up, and then use the light table when I was drawing with the, you know, actual paper, whatever. Do you do that with your rough sketches?

[00:22:21] Jeff Koterba: You somehow transfer? Are you drawing digitally now? I assume. 

[00:22:25] Rivers: Yeah, so all of my work now is, is full digital. So I’m using an iPad with mm-hmm. Uh, procreate. And I find that, um, in, you know, years ago, uh, I used to do the old school stuff, which is, you drew, you drew it, you drew out a, a sketch, you took it to your editor, you had them approve it, then you took it back, you blew it up on a, a photocopying machine.

[00:22:46] Rivers: And then you, uh, you know, used a light table and you sketched out. And what I always found, And this is true for you as, as well. Um, that the, the rough was often the best thing, like when you got to the finished product, it looked like, right? It looked nothing like the original sketch. And my sketches, my pencil sketches were always really good.

[00:23:08] Rivers: Now, the thing, the thing I like about, um, the iPad and procreate is I can cap, I can capture that, that kind of fluidity, that, that. That, uh, naturalness, uh, uh, with the first sketch. And then just transfer that to the final sketch without doing much, um, uh, editing in between or having to redraw it or, and, and that works out really well because first of all, it makes the process much faster for me cuz I’m pretty lazy and, uh, and you know, I can do a cartoon, probably that cartoon may have taken me an hour.

[00:23:44] Rivers: But we know the color, the color, and uh, adding the color of course adds a little bit more. But, uh, it, it’s really quite, um, been a, a good journey for me to, to, to get buy an iPad finally, and to, to use Procreate 

[00:24:00] Daryl Cagle: An hour. It’s very impressive. I had no idea.

[00:24:02] Daryl Cagle: Okay, here, you’ve, here’s your Easter cartoon. You’ve got the giant monster Easter Bunny, uh, coming through town, tearing up cars and people and, comment from the ground is, good Lord, they’ve replaced the Easter Bunny with an AI version. Yeah, another, another case of not a robot AI threat. 

[00:24:20] Rivers: Yeah. And you know, this is, this is my least favorite of the, the ones that I’ve got here.

[00:24:24] Rivers: Um, it’s just, and probably 

[00:24:26] Daryl Cagle: your most popular because it’s Easter, 

[00:24:29] Rivers: that’s, that always floors me. The ones I, I dislike, the cartoons I dislike the most are always the ones that get used the most, which is bizarre to me. But anyways. Um, anyways, and I don’t like using the Easter bunny image necessarily because I, I’m a person of faith, so I do, I do prefer to stick to the, um, faith aspects of, of Easter since it’s an important holiday.

[00:24:52] Rivers: But that said, um, I just decided to have a little bit of fun with, uh, AI and the usual Easter imagery. 

[00:24:59] Daryl Cagle: Here you’ve got, uh, a little bit more AI looking, big, nasty, uh, boxer, um, looming over for the boxer who’s obviously going to lose, and the announcer says, “And in this corner, weighing three tons …”

[00:25:14] Rivers: Right. And that, that goes to what we were talking about. You know, like we, uh, we’re pretty much outmatched when it comes to AI and a as artists. Um, we are definitely outmatched. Uh, right now I think editorial cartoonists are fine. Uh, it might be two or three years, uh, before AI actually. Catches up to, uh, the editorial cartooning space.

[00:25:35] Rivers: But if you’re an illustrator, oh, oh my, you’re in trouble. If you’re a graphic designer, um, you know, start looking for other work. May, this is, so when it comes to us facing this, this, you know, I always draw them as, you know, Bigger than life monsters. Uh, it is, it is gonna have some ramifications for us, just like the internet had, you know, big, uh, uh, severe ramifications for the newspaper industry back in the early nineties.

[00:26:05] Rivers: And even today, you know, a lot of newspapers are. Not even what, you know, a third of what they used to be. Um, AI is definitely gonna shake out a lot of, of creative, uh, content people, writers, uh, journalists, uh, people in our space basically. 

[00:26:24] Daryl Cagle: Well, uh, we’re facing a lot of threats with the decline of newspapers and, uh, newspapers deciding they don’t want to run editorial cartoons at all, and newspapers not wanting to have, uh, opinions from right versus left.

[00:26:39] Daryl Cagle: Um, it’s one more threat. Perhaps, uh, will be brought down by the other ones before this one gets us. 

[00:26:45] Rivers: Yeah. And the next cartoon that you’re gonna show is actually, I think, my favorite, uh, simply because it, it’s, if you saw, if, if you saw the movie 2001, uh, you remember that that monolith and the monolith kind of represents the, the, the beginning of something new.

[00:27:03] Rivers: The, the beginning of a new age, the, the transformation of, at that time, of course, it was primates and uh, suddenly they, they evolve and they become primates that learn how to use tools. And I think that AI represents that kind of, future, like we don’t know what it is, we’re staring at it. We we’re, we’re kind of, , a little bit curious about it, a little bit, uh, scared because we know what it, it, it could represent.

[00:27:31] Rivers: Um, it could also represent, um, uh, something else, you know, uh, it may not be the end of humanity, um, but it, but it definitely is, is very transformative and, and something that, um, we’re all gonna have to live through, obviously. 

[00:27:47] Daryl Cagle: Oh, it’s a metaphor that we’re not used to, uh, seeing, which makes it more powerful as a cartoon, you saying?

[00:27:52] Daryl Cagle: Well, I was 

[00:27:52] Jeff Koterba: gonna, I was gonna riff on that too. Yeah, I, I’m wondering Rivers, uh, you know, I, I love the cartoon. I, I worry about using, you know, kind of off topic briefly, but symbols that, uh, there’s a whole generation that won’t understand it. And it’s, it’s, you know, we used to have all of these, this, this, uh, encyclopedia of common.

[00:28:10] Jeff Koterba: Common references and we don’t really, we can’t really draw palmat as much anymore. No pun intended. So I’m wondering if, uh, if you had anybody say, well, what is, what is this thing? Or do you think it’s still. You know, clear, clear enough to the general public, you know what I’m saying? Yeah. Like the younger generation that, well, 

[00:28:26] Rivers: I think 2001 has, has some longevity left.

[00:28:31] Rivers: Um, uh, certainly like there was a cartoon I drew, uh, recently that involved, um, um, What’s that guy? The, the, the the blind guy? Um, uh, Mr. Magoo. Right? And, and I, and I drew it and I realized, and I knew, you know, I’m drawing it, I’m thinking to myself, half the people that are are gonna look at this, uh, aren’t gonna recognize who this guy is, right?

[00:28:54] Rivers: Because anyone under 40, even maybe even people under 50, uh, aren’t gonna know who Mr. Magoo was. Um, but, you know, obviously he represents, uh, For us, you know, the, the stereotypical blind guy. Um, and, and so you’re right, you’re totally right, Jeff. Um, uh, there, there are, there are times that you use references that, that may be lost on some of your audience.

[00:29:18] Rivers: And, and sometimes you kind of hope maybe when you’re drawing a cartoon that you can educate, like you’re part of, part of your job is to educate people, because there’s always gonna be people that might look at a cartoon and go, I have no idea what this means, but. It might, it might make them want to Google perhaps, uh, what, uh, 2001 Space Odyssey was about and maybe learn, you know, what the metaphor was and, and, and why it was significant.

[00:29:45] Rivers: Uh, You know, a social commentary. So, um, and that’s, and, and being so going to myself being a right wing cartoonist, half of my job is, or at least the way I see it, is to educate people because I kind of find that, uh, the advantage is for the people with the mainstream because the, the narrative has already been set.

[00:30:09] Rivers: But when you’re working from my. Perspective, you’re always having to kind of, you know, present the news in a new way that people aren’t probably familiar with. 

[00:30:19] Daryl Cagle: Of course, if conservatives could only do a better job of educating us as liberals would all agree with you. 

[00:30:26] Rivers: Well, um, I don’t even know what to say about that.

[00:30:29] Rivers: Uh, 

[00:30:30] Daryl Cagle: okay. Hey, we’re moving on to Andy Singer. Andy, your, your stuff is just wonderful and, um, uh, you’ve been with us for, for many years and I think you’re great. And I wish that your cartoons just fit that wide editorial. Cartoon space because, uh, I think that you would be, uh, uh, successful in the editorial cartoon space.

[00:30:55] Daryl Cagle: But, uh, hey, you are a gag panel guy who thinks like an editorial cartoonist, and I love that. And I love the look of your stuff. So it’s, uh, a pleasure to have you on this. Well be more when 

[00:31:05] Andy Singer: y’all were worried about AI eliminating our job. I feel like my job’s been eliminated for a long time. Um, so I, I don’t fear AI, 

[00:31:15] Daryl Cagle: you know, I do think of you as a altie cartoonist and the, all the altie newspapers have kind of disappeared.

[00:31:21] Andy Singer: Yeah. There used to be tons and tons of them. People, people, you know, it used to be a big deal to be in the Village Voice, so the San Francisco Bay Guardian are these papers and they’re all gone. 

[00:31:30] Daryl Cagle: That’s so sad. Yeah. 

[00:31:33] Andy Singer: The predictability of how humans would kind of destroy themselves with their own technology, um, Mary Shelley wrote about this.

[00:31:42] Daryl Cagle: I should describe this for people who can’t see it. Sure. Uh, it’s, uh, two panels, the history of technology. You’ve got the cavemen on the left sitting in a bucolic situation saying, “Me not happy.” When the world is all pretty and, plants and animals and flowers. And then on the right you’ve got a guy sitting on his pile of, technological garbage with pollution, and he says, “Still not happy.”

[00:32:09] Daryl Cagle: Yep. I, I like this. This is deep. 

[00:32:12] Andy Singer: Yeah, I mean that all of this stuff, we’re building all this crap and we’re not even enjoying ourselves with it. And that’s sort of sad. Um, but also just the idea of, um, technology’s not gonna make us happier necessarily or bring us happiness, even though that’s how it’s sold to people.

[00:32:31] Andy Singer: Um, by the, the technological proselytizers like Elon Musk or other people are like, oh, you know, if we just have driverless cars, we’ll solve all these problems. Or, um, you know, whatever it is, we’ll solve all these problems and make life easier or more wonderful, or we’ll all have more free time to, I don’t know, do what.

[00:32:50] Andy Singer: and they just accelerate problems. They create as many problems as they solve. 

[00:32:56] Daryl Cagle: Okay. Andy, you’ve got two scientists in there dissecting the neck of a songbird, and one scientist says, “Wow, we’ve figured out how birds sing.”. Uh, this is, this is great. You know, beauty dissected is ugly. I’m impressed with this cartoon. 

[00:33:14] Andy Singer: Yeah, I mean, again, this sort of worship that we have for science and the fact that, um, we treat science, uh, as a kind of religion really.

[00:33:25] Andy Singer: and we do stuff to, uh, the natural world just to find out if we can do it or, or out of this curiosity. There’s a certain force that’s driving the creation of AI that’s just like, oh, can we do this? You know, can, can we be god’s, um, and create artificial life? Um, and that, that kind of drives us and it’s, um, an element ultimately of human nature.

[00:33:50] Andy Singer: But it’s, it’s kind of ugly or crazy. 

[00:33:53] Daryl Cagle: I thought this one was cute. You’ve got the caveman, teaching to a room full of robot students and he’s, uh, teaching them algebra. I guess that’s where we are. 

[00:34:05] Andy Singer: Yeah. Except the students will be kicking our butts shortly. 

[00:34:09] Daryl Cagle: And, uh, here is the robot standing conquering the world that he just shot dead. it’s a world that’s bleeding oil. 

[00:34:17] Andy Singer: Yeah, this was, um, this was actually like a cover for, La Décroissance, which means, in French, like “de-progress” or, “de-growth”. And there’s a lot in economics right now, internationally, there’s, uh, a lot of economists and people who are looking at what are called de-growth economies because, we’re reaching a point where you can’t keep growing.

[00:34:39] Andy Singer: And Japan, for example, has had a, um, a, uh, a steady or de-growth economy for a long time. And people, they managed to provide people with a good quality of life. But Décroissance is sort of an environmental magazine devoted to this idea. And, again, you know, it’s, it’s sort of predictable that, we evolve these technologies, which we claim are gonna sell all things or save things like electric cars or what have you.

[00:35:06] Andy Singer: Um, and they just create more, they, they make the en, they accelerate environmental problems. 

[00:35:13] Daryl Cagle: Well, excellent cartoon here. You’ve got a six panel cartoon with the guy working on the robot, puts his head on click, robot turns alive. Robot. First thing he does is shoot the guy that just built him, it’s the Terminator.

[00:35:28] Andy Singer: Yep. Yeah. Again, or Mary Shelly, Frankenstein. Yeah, it’s, it’s the classic parable of humans in technology. 

[00:35:38] Daryl Cagle: The robot, dropping the human baby into the trash can. This is iconic. Yeah. Very nice. Here you’ve got the robot sitting on a pile of, dead exotic animals and people, in the position of Rodan the Thinker.

[00:35:53] Daryl Cagle: I think that’s great fun. Was this another magazine cover? 

[00:35:56] Andy Singer: Yeah, this was also for La Décroissance, I’m less worried about my job being eliminated than the planet being eliminated. 

[00:36:05] Daryl Cagle: All right, now we’re moving on to some of our other cartoonists in the group.

[00:36:08] Daryl Cagle: Here’s Aaron Van Dam from, uh, the Netherlands. He’s got a guy sitting at his desk watching the robot janitor sweeping, and then the next panel, the robot’s at the desk watching the human sweeping. that again is the parable of our times. 

[00:36:25] Rick McKee: Somebody said, uh, I thought that, you know, robots were gonna take over all the menial tasks so that we could do poetry and art, and the robots are doing all the poetry and art and we’re stuck with the menial jobs.

[00:36:38] Andy Singer: Yeah, I think, I think actually that’s a really good point. It’s the task that can’t be digitized that actually require like human labor, that actually, that have, you know, continued or persevered and like, um, things, anything that could be digitized even before, um, ai you could outsource to wherever.

[00:36:59] Andy Singer: I mean, you could, um, have somebody in Brazil do that illustration and um, email it back to you. Um, and other, other kinds of work like that. 

[00:37:08] Daryl Cagle: Here’s another John Darco. You’ve got the giant baby wreaking havoc, baby’s labeled artificial intelligence. And uh, dad says “We need guardrails for this technology”. Well, it’s still in its infancy. Uh, nevermind.” As artificial intelligence rams through his baby crib. Artificial intelligence just works as any kind of monster.

[00:37:31] Rivers: I think the diaper is full too, if I’m not mistaken. 

[00:37:34] Daryl Cagle: Here’s Chris Wyatt with a big threatening AI robot, which again has a human brain inside of its robot head.

[00:37:41] Daryl Cagle: And that’s a synthetic human brain, just like mine. Yes. And, uh, two tiny, uh, scientists plugging it into a giant plug. One says, “What if we can’t control it? What’s our backup plan?” The other one says, relax. I’m sure it will think of something”. 

[00:37:58] Jeff Koterba: I love the visual element of this, how Chris has laid this out.

[00:38:01] Jeff Koterba: Just you’ve got the ai, upper left hand corner, this imposing figure, inferring that it’s a big figure without actually having compared to rivers compared to your, uh, Viking, which I loved so much, but it’s looking upwards and still giving you that sense of height. And here Chris is taking a different approach.

[00:38:18] Jeff Koterba: It’s always interesting to me how cartoonists take, you know, which angle they use just to infer the difference between height and size. Right 

[00:38:25] Rivers: contrast. So mine would’ve been called a worm’s eye view and his would’ve been called a bird’s eye view. Right. 

[00:38:31] Daryl Cagle: I wonder if you have any, more things to say about ai 

[00:38:35] Rivers: We’re all gonna 

[00:38:35] Rivers: die. 

[00:38:36] Jeff Koterba: Well, that’s true either 

[00:38:37] Daryl Cagle: way. 

[00:38:38] Rick McKee: Yeah. 

[00:38:39] Daryl Cagle: Well, supposedly with ai, 

[00:38:40] Rick McKee: we’re not supposed to die. I mean, uh, if it goes, if it goes well, we’ll live forever. 

[00:38:46] Daryl Cagle: Well, there have been too many movies telling us we’re gonna die.

[00:38:50] Daryl Cagle: Yeah, 

[00:38:51] Rick McKee: I kind of tend to lean towards we’re all gonna die. 

[00:38:54] Daryl Cagle: Okay, gentlemen, thank you for joining me today and, uh, 

[00:38:57] Andy Singer: thanks for having us. Thank you. 

[00:38:59] Daryl Cagle: Thank you for, uh, joining us today and remember to subscribe to the Caglecast.

[00:39:04] Daryl Cagle: Subscribe to the Caglecast. The Caglecast is presented in both audio and video format. So if you didn’t see the cartoons, go to or Apple Podcast. Or YouTube or Spotify to see the cartoons . And join us for the next Caglecast. And, next we’re gonna talk with, Rick McKee about, some AI cartoons that he’s been doing.

[00:39:24] Daryl Cagle: That will be a special extra podcast. So keep an eye out for that extra podcast with Rick and, gentlemen, thank you again, uh, for joining me today. Thank you. 

[00:39:35] Andy Singer: Thank you. 

[00:39:35] Rivers: Thanks for having us.

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About the Author
Daryl Cagle is the publisher of and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc, which which is a major distributor of editorial cartoons and columns to newspapers and digital publishers. See Daryl's blog at:, see his site at: get permission to reprint his cartoons at: