Ventura My Way

By Noack, David | Editor & Publisher, February 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Ventura My Way


Noack, David, Editor & Publisher


GUV MAY WANT STRIP BARRED

Kevin Lenagh's work has already been called "cruel" and "demeaning" by the chief spokesman for his state's governor. And it could be all uphill from here. For Lenagh, a free-lancer, pens the weekly editorial cartoon for the St. Paul Pioneer Press called "VenturaLand," which depicts the exploits of Jesse Ventura, the controversial governor of Minnesota.

Even before the comic strip made its debut Jan. 28, Ventura's lawyers were threatening the Knight Ridder newspaper with a copyright- infringement lawsuit over the use of the governor's name and likeness.

Lenagh is aware that he is walking into a potential freeze-out with relations between the newspaper and governor as cold as a Minnesota winter. "I didn't know if I was really going to stir things up significantly or not," he told E&P just after the first cartoon appeared. "My opinions about the governor and how he does things are different than the newspaper's," said Lenagh, 47, a comic-book buff. He said he's not politically active, and admits that he cast a ballot for Ventura.

The name of the comic strip came from a friend who was on a trip to New York and heard a TV weatherman describe the Midwest as "Venturaland."

The idea of the Ventura editorial comic strip had been kicking around since he was elected in 1998, when the publisher broached the matter with Ron Clark, the editorial page editor. …

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