March 28, 1988 12:00 PM

by Jack Ohman

Of today’s politically oriented cartoonists, Ohman, of the Oregonian in Portland, is probably the most uncompromising, the most wicked and the most pointedly funny. While Herblock often seems merely curmudgeonly these days, Garry Trudeau drifts off onto post-yuppie tangents about buying lofts and baby-sitting, and Paul Conrad sometimes seems determined to be grim, Ohman maintains a consistent right-for-the-jugular clarity. This collection of cartoons from 1980 to ‘1987 holds up well despite the inevitable topicality of his work. He lampoons Defense Department procurement practices with a drawing of an ashtray labeled “A Tactical Theater Airborne Combat Combustion Containment and Storage Unit—Unit Price $659.” He shows an ersatz poster for a movie musical starring Mike and Raisa Gorbachev called Camelotski! A fantasy about Pat Robertson in the White House (titled “The 1600 Club”) shows Robertson planning his day, which includes changing the weather and proposing a bill to outlaw premarital handshakes. A boatload of lawyers from the firm of “Leach, Vultcher, Skavenger & Perisight” approaches the Titanic search ship, calling out, “We heard there was a disaster. Any survivors down there?” The author’s blurb notes that Ohman, at 27, the youngest of the nation’s syndicated political cartoonists, “draws, writes, slices, dices, gives speeches, goes fishing and doesn’t give his yard the attention it deserves.” All concerned, including his crabgrass, should encourage him to keep up the good work. (Fireside, paper, $5.95)

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