Matt Wuerker

American editorial cartoonist

Matt Wuerker (born 1956) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American political cartoonist and founding staff member of Politico.

Matt Wuerker in 2017


  • For people who want to question whether America has a racist history, just go back and look at the political cartoons. The history is horrible.
  • Admit it-the world is mighty wacky. Dan Quayle is a heartbeat away from bravely leading us into the New World Order. Our intelligentsia are running around declaring that we have reached both the End of History and the apex of political evolution-we're the kings of the global jungle. At the same time, sensing new opportunities, the forces of reptilian nationalism-from Pat Robertson to militant mullahs, from David Duke to the ancient reactionary movements of Eastern Europe-are crawling out from under their rocks, getting facelifts, and learning how to use teleprompters and Stinger missiles. Meanwhile, back in the cradle of democracy, the "opposition" response to all this is to offer a choice between Jerry Brown and None of the Above.
    • Standing Tall in Deep Doo Doo, A Cartoon Chronicle of the Bush Quayle Years (1991)

Interview with Washington City Paper] (2010)

  • I was lucky as a kid to get to meet Paul Conrad who lived in my hometown. He is a giant in editorial cartooning, winner of three Pulitzers and even more impressively he won a place on Nixon‘s enemies list. He was a huge influence. Starting out I also spent a lot of time looking at Ron Cobb, an insane crosshatcher who drew for the alternative press in the ’60’s, as well as David Levine, Ed Sorel, and R. Crumb. I also love Steinberg‘s visual elegance and innately whimsical voice. Red Grooms is another guy who took cartooning wonderful places. There are also a number of 19th-century cartoonists whose mad drawing skills and ability to create rich visual worlds always impressed me. A.B. Frost, T.S. Sullivant, Joseph Keppler are often overshadowed by Nast, but in many ways they were more adventurous graphically. Geez, maybe I am an anachronism. I also want to throw in here how great it is to work in D.C. There’s a great circle of cartoonists here and being in their orbit is a daily inspiration. Opening the Post to Toles and Richard Thompson (Richard’s Poor Almanac is the best and most original cartoon in the country and sadly known mostly only to those lucky enough to be in range of the Post;, Cul de Sac is pretty good too). And then there’s Ann Telnaes’ animations that appear in the Post online—-truly inspired and the wave of the future, as well as Beeler, Galifianakis, Bill Brown, and others. It raises one’s game to be around all these folks.
  • The thing I like most about political cartooning is the relevance of the work to the real world. And if you do this long enough you get to look back and see yourself in historical context, sometimes on the right side and sometimes on the wrong. But I’m proud of the work I was doing in the runup that bamboozled us into the Iraq War and that horrible chapter where Cheney and Bush drove the country into the ditch, the one we’re still in.
  • There’s too much pessimism about the future for political cartooning. I think the future’s very bright. You see more and more sites like Politico that aggressively deploy cartoons on the homepage. I think the media is becoming increasingly visual… and increasingly made to match our shrinking attention spans. The business model for cartooning is going through a rough transition now, but in the long run the thing we cartoonists do—-deliver simple-minded political messages in short easily digestible bites—-is the direction the media in general is heading. We’re living in a media landscape that seems to get more infantile and politically simple-minded all the time—-look at the huge popularity of Glenn Beck…and I saw someplace recently that Jon Stewart is now the most trusted man in America. The clowns seem to be taking over the circus. This may be bad for governance, but it can only be good news for cartoonists. The interesting part will be what the platforms are going to be, cell phones, iPads, the iChip in my forehead, whatever it is, I’m sure the combination of visual metaphor and incisive humor you find in good cartoons will adapt and evolve and really thrive in the future.
  • Funny Times is the best little cartoon monthly out there

interview in Attitude) (2002)

  • The virtuosity and visual humor of people like A.B. Frost, T.S. Sullivant, and Thomas Nast of course, have so much depth and innate humor that I couldn't really resist cross hatching. Later day cross-hatchers like Ron Cobb and Bill Plympton were also early influences.
  • Many of the smartest people and most creative talents are working for the brainwashers, using dazzling images, sex and violence to rob us of our sanity.
  • Imagine how the last presidential campaign would have turned out if instead of the marketing circus that we were treated to, we were just given a weekly round table discussion between Bush, Gore, and Nader for a couple months running up to the election. No staged rallies, no TV images with flags flowing in the sunset, no pollsters. No marketing. Bush would have been luck to get two percent.
  • The self-righteously bitter cartoons that appear in sectarian magazines are fine if all you want to do is preach to the choir, but I believe you can reach a lot more people with humor.
  • Globalization is part of modern reality. How you define it is where the conflict is. Some of us think that it's civilized to provide people with water by putting up public drinking fountains. Other people think that drinking fountains need to be eliminated so as not to undercut the market for $2.00 bottled water.
Wikipedia has an article about: