Introduction by Bill Watterson (C)1995

From the book, "Disturbing the Peace" by Jim Borgman

I saw my first Jim Borgman cartoon almost twenty years ago. I went to Kenyon College just after Jim graduated from there and had been hired by The Cincinnati Enquirer. Jim's collegiate and professional cartoons so impressed me that I decided to become an editorial cartoonist myself. Jim encouraged my early efforts, critiquing my work and offering advice throughout my college years. This flattered me into pursuing a career for which I had neither the brains nor the talent. That ruined several years of my life, and I still hold Jim responsible for it.

Fate loves a good joke, and upon my graduation, I was hired to be Jim's rival across town at The Cincinnati Post. In the few months it took my editor to realize I was a complete fraud, I had the opportunity to study Jim's cartoons every morning. As my cartoon ideas were systematically rejected, I looked to Jim's work in dumb amazement for answers. How did he think of that one? How did he think to draw it that way? I could see where he had gone, but the path eluded me completely. If I hadn't been run out of Cincinnati so quickly, I'm sure I'd have grown to despise his immense talent.

Since those days, Jim's work has only gotten better. After ten or twenty years, most cartoonists sink into predictable routines, plopping each subject into reliable formulas. Their opinions bore and their craft stagnates. Jim's cartoons, however, seem to develop greater subtlety and sophistication every year. He somehow adds new layers of reflection, insight and personality to his work, and makes it all look effortless under that wonderful draftsmanship.

Boy, can Jim draw. The bold compositions, the lively caricatures, the odd perspective, the imaginative distortions -- this is a cartoonist who takes full advantage of his medium. Jim's sharply observed and intimate domestic scenes delight me no end. That picture of the woman hopping around, trying to get into her jeans is one I'd love to have drawn myself. I love the obese dog, the hausfrau in stretch pants, the glass of wine on the floor, the cardigan sweaters, the peculiar artifacts on the bookshelves, the kitchen clutter, the kid about to pound away on the piano. These things are all around us, but it's the rare cartoonist who notices and can present them with such honesty and silly affection.

Which brings me pretty much back to where I started in 1976, marveling at what this guy can do with ink and paper. Look at these cartoons, and you'll marvel, too. But take it from me, it's nowhere near as easy as Jim makes it look.

-Bill Watterson, 1995