Famed Philadelphia political cartoonist retires after 35 years

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Since 1985, Signe Wilkinson has been recognized by her signature on some of Philadelphia's most eccentric and scathing cartoons. Now, 35 years later, she is retiring from her official posts at the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer.

"A lot of the stuff we react to is beyond words," said Wilkinson, who has doodled an indelible inscription on the city of Philadelphia. "It goes to a different part of the brain and sometimes the heart. And that's both for good and bad."

Wilkinson has provided commentary on the city's violence by sketching the skyline as if it were composed of knives and pistols. She has illustrated the inequality of school funding with a school bus stopping at a cliff's edge.

"Haven't made a big dent in it but I keep after it," she said.

She has also been there for the celebrations, such as when Pope Francis visited in 2015 and when the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2018.

"I've experienced a lot of what's gone on in the city and that of course makes me care for it more and want it to do better," said Wilkinson.

In 1992, Wilkinson became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. In fact, at the start of her career, she says she was only one of five women nationwide who had that job title.

In the year 2021, she still has plans to return to the drawing board. Although she won't be employed by either of her flagship newspapers, Wilkinson will still cartoon current events such as the January 6th, 2021 riot in the U.S. Capitol Building. Those pictures will be picked up by publications nationwide.

"Every single rights movement in this country has depended on free exchange of information," said Wilkinson, a self-proclaimed free speech advocate who opposes censorship. "We can stand up to bad speech, more speech, better as long as people have a chance to hear it."

To learn more about Signe Wilkinson's career and view her works, view her Twitter account.

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