I won’t get into the weeds of why this subject is relevant, because we all, hopefully, know that this year’s election is very important. The American midterm elections occur on November 8, meaning that all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be examined. These results will determine the 199th United States Congress, and will likely affect issues such as abortion, immigration, gun laws, and the economy.
And while the season of voting can stir up an ubiquitous sense of inevitable dread, it’s also a time when political cartoons are at their peak. Today, in honor of the upcoming midterm elections (VOTE!), I’m sharing five political cartoon accounts that just might shed light on a perspective you’ve never thought about.
Niccolo P. | @superingat
Niccolo Pizarro is a cartoonist and designer from Queens, New York who runs two webcomics: Super Ingat! and Moonshot. The work you’ll find on Pizarro’s account is seemingly inspired by a blend of ’80s anime aesthetics and modernized pixel art. It feels fresh and accessible while highlighting a remarkable combination of original expertise. While Pizarro’s work isn’t highly provocative, it does push back at societal “norms” by inspiring readers to consider its standards.
Mattie Lubchansky | @mattielubchansky
Mattie Lubchansky is a cartoonist most often featured on The Nib, and a good amount of their work strikes a delicate balance between lighthearted and heavy-hitting. They love to play with surreal, sci fi-inspired concepts, and have a knack for making dystopia feel at least a little funny. Their work is thought-provoking from all angles and rewards close inspection, often creating jokes about jokes in previous panels. Lubchansky’s comics draw you in with an approachable style, with messaging likely to leave you thinking long after the fact.
Derek Ballard | @derekmballard
This Mobile, Alabama cartoonist has lived an intriguing life, created storyboards for Adventure Time, and worked for clients like Netflix and HBOMax, amongst other significant projects. His resume is quite impressive, and his Instagram feed does a great job of visually highlighting his expertise. Each post within his feed is a black-and-white sketch that feels like a peek into the mastermind’s brain. There’s an admirable consistency to the lines and silhouettes of his cartoons, and his imaginative shaping definitely differentiates his work from other artists. He covers a range of topics well, but I especially appreciate his contempt for the American education system.
Eli Valley | @elivalley
Eli Valley makes the kind of political cartoons that get under your skin and stay there. He’s well-known for challenging, often vulgar work that comes off like nightmare caricatures, stretching public figures into grotesque, exaggerated versions of themselves. While Valley’s satire is intense, his aim is true, with a purposeful ugliness that makes powerful statements against hate speech, callous politicians, and the rising tide of fascism. His work is not for the faint of heart, but serves as a welcome reminder that sometimes art should be provocative.
Jen Sorensen | @jen_sorensen
Jen Sorensen’s comics and illustrations have been featured in many publications, including The Nation, NPR.org, Ms. Magazine, The Progressive, Politico, Daily Kos, Fusion, The Nib, Truthout, MAD, and The Los Angeles Times. She’s also won numerous awards, and was a Pulitzer Finalist in Editorial Cartooning in 2017. Sorensen’s Instagram account is clever, engaging, and makes complex headlines feel a bit more digestible.