STEVE INSKEEP, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep with Renee Montagne, who's been reviewing 2005 as seen and sketched by two editorial cartoonists.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Home base for Mark Peters is the Dayton Daily News. Mike Luckovich draws The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

And hello.

Mr. MARK PETERS (Dayton Daily News): Well, it's...

Mr. MIKE LUCKOVICH (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution): Yes.

Mr. PETERS: ...a great joy being here, Renee.

MONTAGNE: You have with you an example of your cartoons. And I have some...

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Yeah, right.

MONTAGNE: ...in front of me. If we were going to start from the biggest story of the year, obviously, we would probably begin with Katrina. Why don't we start with one that you drew, Mike Peters?

Mr. PETERS: OK.

MONTAGNE: It's a picture of President Bush standing on the roof of the White House which is...

Mr. PETERS: Oh, God.

MONTAGNE: ...flooded.

Mr. PETERS: And he's holding a sign that says `Send Leadership.' You know, I swear, we sat there watching these visions on TV of all these people standing there and trying to get help. So many of these people were not rescued for a long, long time. In fact, some of them are still not rescued, from what I understand.

MONTAGNE: Mike Luckovich, you had to turn your hand to this as well. What would be, say, your best cartoon or your favorite?

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Gosh, you know, I did one that people got a little bit upset about. I looked at what had happened in New Orleans, how it sort of exposed the problem of race and poverty in America. And so I did a cartoon. It's just a bus vertical, up and down, and half of the bus is filled with water, and that's all African-American people in the back of the bus. The front of the bus, the top of the bus that's above water, are white people. So I just entitled it "Back of the Bus."

Mr. PETERS: That's great. That's great, Michael.

MONTAGNE: Let's talk about one other big issue that came up this year and it's really going to affect people, Mike Peters--gas prices.

Mr. PETERS: Yeah. I have this one where I had a father and son and the father is saying to his college-graduate son, he said, `I saved up a long time for your graduation gift and I left it sitting on the driveway.' And he runs out and it's a little gas can.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: Well...

Mr. PETERS: You know, it's not a car, it's just a little gas can, you know?

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Yeah.

MONTAGNE: Mike Luckovich, another...

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Yeah.

MONTAGNE: ...subject that came up that you did a cartoon on was when the Vatican banned homosexuals from the priesthood.

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Yes, I'm Catholic and occasionally the Catholic Church does things that I don't agree with, so I always sort of try and avoid the monsignor's eyes when I go in to Mass. But I drew a couple of priests, and one priest has got these frilly vestments on and he's talking to the other priest and he's looking down at his vestments and he's saying, `Does this make me look gay?'

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: You know, every year when we talked before, you know, it comes up that you get complaints, you know, readers writing in saying, `How could you...

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Right.

MONTAGNE: ...do that? How could you do that?'

Mr. PETERS: Oh, yeah.

MONTAGNE: Would Katrina have been the story that drew those types of letters or was there a different one?

Mr. PETERS: Well, first of all, we cartoonists get in trouble all the time. We don't wear a bracelet that says `What would Jesus draw?' We try to go out and hit people. Whenever I do any cartoon about Bush, all the pro-Bush people say, `You can't do that about the president.' And I know Mike does the same thing.

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Right. Right. The cartoon that I got the most comment on for this year was when the 2,000th American soldier had been killed in Iraq, I wrote `Why?' with all the names of all the 2,000 soldiers very small...

Mr. PETERS: Yeah.

Mr. LUCKOVICH: ...and the cartoon was run full size. It took a half a page on the editorial page.

Mr. PETERS: You know, laughter is our weapon. I mean, that's the only reason why anybody would ever stop and look at our cartoon because it first makes them laugh, and then it gets them angry or it makes them think.

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Right. And what you can do with a cartoon is you can use humor, you can make people laugh and still be hard-hitting. And I think that for Mike and I, that's what we base our--whether we succeeded or not. When we look at a cartoon, if it's funny and makes a good point, then we've really done our job.

MONTAGNE: Mike and Mike, thanks for joining us and have a happy, happy new year.

Mr. PETERS: And happy new year to you, Renee.

Mr. LUCKOVICH: Happy new year to your, Renee. And, Michael, you, too.

MONTAGNE: Mike Luckovich is an editorial cartoonist with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Mike Peters is a cartoonist for the Dayton Daily News.

INSKEEP: And you can find some of Mike and Mike's favorite cartoons by going to npr.org.

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