Begin your Civil War sesquicentennial celebration by attending the panel “Political Cartoons of the Civil War and Their Role in Shaping History,sponsored by the National Archives. The War Between the States wasn’t all Glory, teary letters from home read in Ken Burns’ voiceovers, and valiant battles for a doomed way of life—-no, there was humor in the War of the Rebellion too. Four experts on the period will discuss Union and Confederate cartoons, hopefully explaining the wordy and now-incomprehensible images to a waiting audience, because outside of fish, nothing ages faster than an editorial cartoon. On the panel are Harold Holzer (The Lincoln Image: Abraham Lincoln and Popular Print), Joshua Brown (Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America), John Adler (HarpWeek and Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Magazines), and Richard West. West is a crack cartoon historian, having published the first and only history books on cartoonists Joseph Kepler and William Newman, and The Wasp magazine. A former resident of D.C., West also published Target: The Political Cartoon Quarterly magazine in the ’80s which featured covers by his friend Bill Watterson.

At the Newseum’s Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 7 p.m. on Jan. 6. Free.