Back in 1973, as a freshman at the State University of New Your at Buffalo, I worked on the student newspaper. That was when what I wanted to be when I grew up was a journalist of the Pete Hamill or Jimmy Breslin mold, handing in three opinionated slice-of-life columns each week. (I never had to desire to be a writer of fiction when I grew up because I always was a writer of fiction; it wasn't anything I ever thought I had to become.) Tom Toles was also on the staff of the paper, the resident genius. And even though he was brilliant, he was also a nice, sweet guy with no ego. How often do you see that? So he was loved by all, and everybody wanted to get him to illustrate their stories.
I got lucky once. I crossed the border into Canada to attend Cosmic-Con, a Toronto comic-book convention, and convinced my editor at the paper to let me do a feature on the event. (That boss? Howard Kurtz, whose name you may recognize now that he's a political talking head and the host of CNN's Reliable Sources.) Tom drew this piece to go with the article. [Click on the image to view at a larger size.]
So for one brief (very brief), shining moment, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Tom Toles was also a superhero artist.