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." (Read more cartoon stories.)