Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Doug Marlette was killed in an auto accident yesterday. Marlette, 57, was killed when a truck he was riding as a passenger in hydroplaned in heavy rain and struck a tree outside Holly Springs, MI.

Marlette was a cartoonist, author and playwright. While he was known for his comic strip Kudzu, celebrating Southern culture, he recently wrote a pair of well received novels, The Bridge and Magic Time. His career as an editorial cartoonist included stints at the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat, Newsday of Melville, N.Y., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. At the time of his death he was at the Tulsa (OK) World.


Marlette is survived by his wife, Melinda, and his adult son, Jackson.


And more reactions.


  1. Doug Marlette was one of the few cartoonists to succeed at both editorial cartooning and comicstrips. His cartoons about the PTL helped expose the hypocrisy. His Kudzu strip, set in the small town of Bypass, Georgia, commented on small town American culture. The characters were somewhat stereotypical, but allowed for humor and commentary on a wide range of topics. It was a worthy successor to Pogo and Li’l Abner.
    He wrote an excellent memoir about his career, about ten years ago, while he was still at Newsday. One of my favorite quotes comes from the introductory strips for Kudzu. Kudzu, finishing his tour of Bypass, remarks, “It’s a good place to be from. The sooner the better.”
    Thank you, Mr. Marlette, for making me laugh and making me think, sometimes at the same time. You made the news a little less bleak and depressing.

  2. In contrast to my comments when Johnny Hart died, I will genuinely mourn Marlette’s loss. Despite the injection of the occasional bit of piety, Marlette seemed to have it all in proper perspective, plus he was a pretty decent editorial cartoonist, to say nothing of a more nuanced line than Hart could ever claim.

    Man, it’s too bad for Frank Cho he isn’t trying to get “Liberty Meadows” picked up by more papers these days; between the losses of Hart and Marlette he’d have stood a better chance now than by dancing on Schulz’s grave. Syndicated “Sinfest,” anyone?

  3. Growing up on Long Island with Newsday Marlette was like a local celebrity cartoonist which was really cool to me. I got to see him do a guest lecture when I visited CW Post for their annual Newsday sponsored young reporters event. Real shame to hear about his passing.