Funny that: 20 years of the MaltaToday cartoon, in book format

Publication celebrates work of Mikiel Galea and Mark Scicluna for MaltaToday and Illum newspapers on MaltaToday’s 20th anniversary

Cover art features a take by Mikiel Galea on Fuseli’s ‘The Nightmare’... with Muscat, Schembri and Mizzi as main characters
Cover art features a take by Mikiel Galea on Fuseli’s ‘The Nightmare’... with Muscat, Schembri and Mizzi as main characters

One way to describe the journalistic journey of a newspaper is take a close look at its editorial cartoons.

On the 28 November, MaltaToday hosted an exhibition of 40 selected cartoons and the book ‘20 Years of MaltaToday – The Cartoons’ at The Villa, Corinthia, H’Attard, with around 200 guests in attendance.

Welcoming the guests Saviour Balzan reminisced on the last 20 years and told the invited guests: “There is and has always has been a very clear link between what the editor is thinking and the cartoon itself. MaltaToday is no exception, and different editors have had different perspectives, beliefs, fears and pet hates. The cartoonist in our case follows more often than not the direction given to him by the editor.”

MaltaToday’s longstanding editorial cartoonist is Mikiel Galea, known as l-Stordut, who started off with MaltaToday in 1999 and works for this newspaper until this day. Mark Scicluna also served as cartoonist before taking up illustration in Scotland. The works of both cartoonists are represented in both the exhibition and the book which displays over 155 cartoons.

Scicluna and Galea have different styles, but their cartoons are often not only a caricature of a political or cultural occurrence that coloured that particular moment in time, but more often an extension of the editor’s perspective. 

The editors and cartoonists in general reflected the mood of the moment. This collection of cartoons are taken from three newspapers in the MediaToday stable, MaltaToday, MaltaToday midweek and Illum. They are not randomly chosen but specifically selected to highlight a thematic subject that were shown in the print stories of the day.

 “Looking back, it is not too difficult to conclude that the state of affairs has not changed dramatically. We remain a polarised society, we still have ugly bouts of racism, environmental degradation is still a serious concern and politicians are reasonably well-versed in the art of double standards,” Balzan told guests.

“In general most of the protagonists or targets embraced the cartoons and the spirit of the cartoon and took them in their stride. Politicians surely were flattered to be given so much attention.  And most of the subjects in our cartoons always bragged about their appearance in a cartoon.”

20 Years of MaltaToday – The Cartoons is published by MediaToday and goes on sale at €20