History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Wisconsin - People - Bios

Robert D. Arnold



July 27, 1998
Primary Involvements:

Cartoon artist, Poet

Primary Location:

Milwaukee, WI



Robert D. Arnold's popular "Life's a Drag" cartoon was published in In Step for over ten years.

Arnold was born in Minneapolis but moved to Rice Lake, Wisconsin with his family in childhood. After graduating from high school, he attended Moody Bible College in Minneapolis for several years. Arnold's love of entertaining and his gift of musical talent landed him in San Francisco where he briefly embarked on a singing career, He later returned to the Midwest and settled in Milwaukee in the mid-1950's. Milwaukee remained his home until his death of liver cancer at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.

His passion for antiques and his sharp eye made him a regular at Walker's Point antique stores and Rummage-O-Rama at State Fair Park. Arnold loved creating beautiful things and was well known among his friends for designing fanciful, even elaborate cards and decorative pieces. He was able to work miracles with a handful of beads, a few feathers and felt markers.

Arnold wrote poetry that resonated with a deep compassion and profound wisdom. In 1997, selected poems by Arnold were published in the book, Words of a Miracle.

The stylized line drawings and accompanying one-liners of Arnold's cartoon, "Life's a Drag" quickly made it a popular feature in the pages of In Step. "His talent and humor will be missed," In Step editor William Attewell said. "I know that for many people, his cartoon was often the first thing looked for when the new issue hit the streets... Bob was a true original and can never be replaced."

(In Step vol. 15-16, August 1998)


First "Life's A Drag" cartoon
(In Step vol 5-17, Sept. 1988)

First regular "Life's A Drag" cartoon
(In Step vol 5-23, Dec. 1988)

"Life's A Drag" cartoon
(In Step vol 10-09, May 1993)

One of last "Life's A Drag" cartoon
(In Step vol 15-16, August 1998)

Credits: web site concept by Don Schwamb;
Last updated: March-2024.

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