Ink-stained genius: Film reexamines cartoonist Bill Mauldin

Many young people meet a legend. Most are starstruck, nervous, even afraid.

Not Christine Lund. She married the legend, political cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who was 27 years her senior.

Mauldin won the first of his two Pulitzer Prizes in 1945, before Lund was born. Age didn’t divide them, at least not in the beginning.

A newspaperwoman herself, she appreciated his genius and understood the demands of his work.

Their marriage lasted 24 years in Santa Fe and produced a daughter and a son before they divorced. Mauldin had six other sons from two previous marriages.

His private life was limited because of his high-profile job. Mauldin won admirers and tormented political enemies with cartoons that ranged from biting to poignant.

His life is reexamined in the documentary, Bill Mauldin: If It’s Big, Hit It. The movie screened Thursday night as part of the Santa Fe Film Festival at the Center for Contemporary Arts.

The film’s title refers to delivering the big story in one powerful panel. It comes from Mauldin’s professional credo.

Lund, now 73, saw his intensity from close range. She arrived as a summer intern at the old Chicago Daily News in 1969 when Mauldin was a nationally syndicated star at the Chicago Sun-Times. The newspapers were editorial rivals but shared the same building and owner.

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