Bettwy’s progress impressive

Local cartoonist Bill Bettwy is now national cartoonist Bill Bettwy.

Bettwy has been contributing occasional editorial cartoons to the Mirror for the past five-plus years, but he got his big break recently when King Features Syndicate began to carry carry his comic strip, “Take it from the Tinkersons.”

It’s a family-oriented spoof that began running in more than 50 newspapers across the country, including the Mirror, last month.

Brendan Burford, editor for King Features, said the syndicate only adds about one strip per year, and competition is so keen that he said statistics suggest it’s more difficult to crack the cartooning world than it is Major League Baseball.

Either way, Bettwy’s achievement is a home run, and he deserves congratulations.

We’re proud that the Mirror played a role in helping to get him started, and a national audience can now also enjoy his artwork and humor.

Of the local politicians, Bettwy’s caricature of Altoona Mayor Bill Schirf may be his best. Even though one recent cartoon infuriated Schirf to the point that he paid a visit to the Mirror, he admitted he loved Bettwy’s depiction.

The Mirror doesn’t add and subtract comics too often, but we felt it was appropriate to add Bettwy’s strip – in part because it’s a great strip and in part because he’s local.

To make room, after discussion, the decision was made to drop “For Better Or For Worse,” which had been in reruns since 2010.

The transition has been smooth as complaints have been minimal – surely fewer than those enjoying Bettwy’s success with “The Tinkersons.”

Notable …

– You’ve no doubt noticed the onslaught of election letters, particularly in the race for Blair County judge, that have dominated the Opinion page for more than a month. In an attempt to be as fair as possible, we’ve tried to publish almost all of the letters during the week, rather than on Sundays, when our circulation is higher.

– This is the season in which the Mirror shines its spotlight on the community. We’ll stage our 20 Under 20 banquet, which honors top students who have combined outstanding academics with special artistic talents, Tuesday. Our 20 Under 40 will recognize business achievement and community servants under 40 in the June issue of Blair Living, and our 2013 high school athletes of the year will be named May 20.

– With spring upon us, we’re resurrecting “The Porch Tour,” featuring readers enjoying the Mirror on their porch. Call me if you’d like to be a subject – keeping in mind that, unlike one potential candidate a few years ago, it’s not because you’ve gotten new porch furniture.

Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or