Matt Bors
Comics, Politics & Ridicule

Bors Blog

Archive for Illustration + Design

The Book Of Obama

Ted Rall’s latest book is out and, as with his last offering, I designed the cover.¬† The Book Of Obama: From Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt is a collection of cartoons and writing on the Obama years. Here’s a look at the full wrap.

Rall recently passed through Portland on his book tour and we both sat down with SW Conser of “Words and Pictures” on KBOO to talk Obama, editorial cartooning, and comics journalism. You can listen to the show here.

Public Service Announcement

We all know breast cancer needs more awareness raising, and what better way to reach women than through mainstream superhero comics. It’s a good thing the captions on those are about breast exams or I’d think they just plucked out random panels from recent comics.

I thought male comic readers needed their own PSA campaign for prostate exams, so I decided to get the ball rolling.


I drew this at last week’s Occupie event thrown by the Portland Mercury.

No Spec

Ted Rall points out a recent solicitation he received for unpaid illustration work from the American Caner Society, an organization with a $350 million annual budget.

Obama’s Spec Contest

Obama is soliciting unpaid design work for a campaign poster promoting his jobs plan. Those of us who make our living from freelance projects are predictably livid. Design contests are a particularly insidious and annoying justification for free labor. (it’s fun and contest-y, you get exposure!) Especially for a project about creating jobs. Especially for a billion dollar campaign.

A Huffington Post article on the matter quotes me.

Syndicated cartoonist Matt Bors said the contest represents “the opposite of jobs.”

“Everyone’s time is wasted except for the winner, and they’re not even compensated,” said Bors, whose work has appeared in The Nation and The Village Voice, among other outlets. “It brings down rates for everybody. Just imagine this scenario with any other profession. You don’t have contests with your plumber.”

And yes, I’m aware of the irony of HuffPo writing on this subject. I made sure to mention to the writer (a staffer, I believe) that Arianna constantly uses unpaid labor by offering writers and cartoonists “exposure” while she rakes in millions.

You could argue that donating services to a campaign is perfectly legit. And in some cases you would be right. Phone banking and canvasing, however, actually use the labor of the volunteer. This contest pulls in hundreds of hours of unpaid labor that will never even be used under the insulting guise of a contest. Only professional level designers could possibly win. It’s simply an excuse to crowd source their¬† labor without paying.

If you aren’t convinced, ask yourself if a campaign would hold a contest for its bus driver, plumber, speech writer, or any other conceivable professional level position. No. They would simply hire the person they need and pay them in money.

The Obama campaign knows the value of a campaign posters, having been associated with the most famous one in modern history. (It was donated.) They should pay a professional designer to do their work and get professional results, the same way they do with with their television spots and, you know, create jobs.

Illustration Friday

This is a movie poster I created for “Forget Me Not,” a short film by Matt Hyland. It will be showing at the Edmonton International Film Festival, the Orlando Film Festival and six or seven others. The story follows Walter, who works at the fictional Federal Archive of Autobiographies and fights to submit his own life story despite strict rules preventing employees from doing so.

20 Minutes in Portland

The Portland Review is a literary magazine put out by PSU that publishes poetry and short fiction from people all over the country . The editor, Chris Cottrell, was putting together a special issue for this Summer made up of only Portland contributors and asked me to do the cover.

It is a wrap around and looks like this.

The book features poetry and short fiction from a few dozen Portlanders, including local lit scene stars Kevin Sampsell and Monica Drake. It’s available on, probably the only place you can get it outside of physically buying it at a store in Portland.