The Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and creator of Kudzu died yesterday when a car he was riding in hydroplaned in heavy rain and crashed into a tree in Mississippi. Doug Marlette, 57, worked for a series of newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and was known for his dead-on caricatures and cheeky challenges to those in power.
The Kudzu comic strip was once syndicated in 300 newspapers. One of Marlette's best-known editorial cartoons is of a bald eagle shedding a tear over the Columbia shuttle tragedy. Marlette, who liked to be known as an "equal opportunity offender," once called controversial cartoons the "acid test of the First Amendment."