Several years ago, Las Vegas Sun publisher Brian Greenspun received a call from his friend Bill Clinton, who wanted to know about Mike Smith. The former president was in California and had picked up the San Jose Mercury News to find a Smith cartoon poking fun at him.
But Clinton wasn’t calling to complain; he wanted to know what happened—why had Smith left the Sun? Mike hadn’t gone anywhere. The Mercury News had simply picked up his nationally syndicated cartoon, which has attracted a loyal following of readers.
For three decades, readers have enjoyed Mike’s creative blend of insight, humor and opinion. Artistically, he is something of a minimalist, but don’t let that fool you—his efficient style moves the reader quickly to the point. His work is clear and crisp; his ideas are fresh and funny. His keen intellect, shaped by a Jesuit education, delightfully melds with his Joe Sixpack sensibilities, and it makes him a unique commentator on America life.
The result is a cartoon that readers understand and identify with, whether it’s a former president or a local gadfly. It’s no wonder that over the years his cartoon has appeared in hundreds of print and online publications across the country, including The New York Times, USA Today and Time. In addition, “Good Morning America”, “Oprah”, and “Meet the Press” have broadcast Smith’s cartoons. His work is nationally syndicated by King Features Syndicate and is regularly recognized in compilations, including the Washington Post’s best cartoons of 2012.Although his political views are typically left of center, there’s a refreshing libertarian streak that breaks to the contrary, meaning he isn’t easily pigeonholed. In that regard, he’s an equal opportunity offender—he tweaked both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney throughout the year.
Readers love it. Or loathe it. Sometimes they change their minds by the day based on his targets. They’re engaged and write letters, comments, emails, tweets and Facebook posts because Mike knows how to hit home. Literally.
Mike is also well-known and highly regarded in NASCAR for his weekly Stockcartoons feature chronicling the sport that he draws for the Sporting News.