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Background about Dwane Powell


In 1944, while his father was fighting Hitler in the Battle of the Bulge, Drexel Dwane Powell Jr was born in Lake Village, Ark. After returning from the war, his dad moved the family to Mc-Gehee, Ark., to grow cotton, rice and soybeans and to raise an eclectic mix of whiteface Herefords, Brahma bulls and Angus cows.

Powell was soon doing all the things expected of farm boys: mowing the three-acre lawn when he was old enough to chin the mower handles, driving a small tractor, helping his dad shovel rice levies and herding the stubborn cows around on his quarter horse, March.

Graduating from high school in 1962 with the same 60 kids he'd started first grade with, Powell went to the University of Arkansas at Monticello. While browsing in the stationery department of The Advance Monticellonian with the intent of purchasing paper for an English theme, he was approached by the editor, Frank Jackson. Powell had a reputation as a prolific doodler, leaving stacks of napkin drawings all around campus.

Jackson coaxed Powell to try his hand at political cartoons, and his first attempt was picked up and published on the op-ed page of the statewide Arkansas Gazette. He drew one cartoon a week during his last year of college, finishing with a degree in agri-business in 1969. Powell turned the weekly exposure the Gazette had afforded him into a full-time job at the Hot Springs Sentinel Record.

While there he married the former Jan Lovell, and they moved on to San Antonio in 1972, where Powell worked as the political cartoonist/staff artist for the San Antonio Light. Then he read an article about the retirement of Cincinnati Enquirer editorial cartoonist L.D. Warren and fired off a portfolio. After a brief stint at the Enquirer, Powell joined The Raleigh News & Observer in 1975. He drew there until 2009.

At The N&0, Powell won the Overseas Press Club award for Excellence in Cartooning and the national Headliners Club award for Outstanding Editorial Cartoons. He was also named Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater. He has published three collections of his work, along with a book of Jesse Helms quotes containing his cartoons.

Powell's cartoons also were an important element in The News & Observer's Boss Hog series, which won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Powell lives with his wife and daughter in Raleigh.

Dwane Powell's Editorial Cartoons are distributed to newspapers by Creators Syndicate.

E-mail Dwane Powell.


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