Tag Archives: Editorial Cartooning

Squeaky Wheels, Grease, Funny Papers ~ And Airlift Mike

Walt Handelsman’s fun take on the whole Bill Cosby tragedy – courtesy the New Orleans Advocate

It’s long been said that the squeaky wheel will always get the grease. You also used to hear in those prehistoric days before the internet and digital, when the Sunday comics really hit home on an issue – “Hey, I’ll see ya in the funny papers!”

I’m reminded of these two thoughts every time I check out the New Orleans Advocate newspaper in print or online, because they’re fortunate enough to have corralled the outrageously and wickedly talented WALT HANDELSMAN.

The art of editorial cartooning has always fascinated me with it’s power, reach and stunning clarity. With it’s unique ability to cut through the bullshit and take us to the heart of a matter or issue – with humor.

Walt’s inspired take on the poker-hot issues of the legacy of Dixie, the flag, and N’awlins own Lee Circle on Saint Charles Avenue

Walt is simply the best-of-the-best in the editorial cartooning field! Accomplished, eerily insightful, and always entertaining, this two-time Pulitzer Prize winning genius plies his trade daily to the delight of New Orleans readers in need of a hearty laugh in hard times.

While these days our interaction seems relegated to Twittering each other (is that legal in LA?), in the ’90s Walt and I worked together at the Airlift Productions now-the-stuff-of-legend Iberville Street location.

Walt Handelsman caricature of that Mike McCann (Ziants) guy on an old Airlift Productions note pad – 1994

He was launching an effort to promote his convention outreach program wherein he would stand in front of a convention crowd with an overhead projector and actually interact with the conventioneers and draw cartoons for them LIVE –  along with their input. 

Yours truly, Airlift Mike, was selected to help tell the tale.

Contracted by Lenny Delbert of Pan Am Communications, I worked with Walt across a remarkable afternoon to narrate his promotional video to help get this idea across to potential New Orleans convention meeting planners. The word “fun” hardly captured the whole experience.

In fact, enough with the introductions, MEET the inimitable genius of Walt Handelsman here ….

Squeaky wheels? Funny papers? Howzabout one more line?

It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Yeah, I know, I get that. But this dude has raised it to an art form.

WaltHandelsmanAutographToMichealZiantsAirliftProductionsNOLAAnd, yes, even – and especially –  Walt would appreciate the pun.  🙂

Airlift Productions – helping to tell America’s Great Stories … from NOLA since 1984.



The New Cuba, Walt & Airlift Mike

New Orleans Advocate’s WALT HANDELSMAN does His take on the USA normalizing relationships with Cuba – December 19th, 2014 ~ Too Funny!

You know, when you’re in the company of greatness, you just know it, you know what I mean?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Walt Handelsman (today with the New Orleans Advocate, lucky dudes they are) visited the Airlift Productions Studios years ago at the now-the-stuff-of-legend Iberville Street haunts mid-city and what a recording session we had.

This guy had it! Magic! Inventive Genius! Walt possesses a rare gift – the ability, through pen and ink, to ‘speak Truth to Power’ … to throw a few sacred cows on the barbie’ – without even opening his mouth! 

That’s why, though, he came to Airlift to record with me.

Walt Handelsman Testimonial Autograph To MichealZiants “Airlift Mike” during our recording sessions on Iberville back in the day

Contracted by Lenny Delbert at Pan Am Communications to help Walt out that day, I was tasked to record VoiceOver for a video to help promote his convention services – Walt would stand, pen in hand, at a drawing pad projected to a big screen, and lay-out a cartoon panel LIVE to amazed conventioneers!

I was merely the guy extolling Walt’s virtues and dazzling talents, and telling the tale.  But, what a party it all turned out to be.

At this time, 1994, Walt was cranking them out for the Times-Picayune, had yet to win one – let alone two – Pulitzer Prizes for excellence in the field of editorial cartooning, leave New Orleans to work for NewsDay – and then return to N’awlins (thank God) to resume amazing us all daily from the New Orleans Advocate.

Who knew this dude had all this greatness in him? I sure did.  That day. And as to this day? Well, the cartoon at the top of this blog (from today’s 12-19-14 Advocate) is a testament to Walt’s relevance, timeliness, timelessness … and runaway Genius!

Oh, and Walt, if you just so happen to be reading this … the Rolling Rocks are cold in the fridge, and we’ve got some catching-up to do, my brother.

Walt Handelsman’s impromptu caricature of Airlift Productions proprietor Micheal Ziants, beer can on head and all! Thanks for the laughs, Walt, see ya’ in the funny papers!




Airlift Productions VoiceOver & Recording Studio ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans …. since 1984!