From the Comics Reporter comes a story that Johnny Hart’s July 3rd “B.C.” strip may contain another thinly disguised knock against Islam. This two panel cartoon begins with the turtle character stepping on something in tall grass and ends with a question, “What makes a bite thats shaped like a crescent moon?” to which another character replies, “A lunatic.” The Crescent moon is a symbol of the Islamic faith.
Back in November of 2003, there was buzz that Johnny had made a veiled reference to Islam in a strip (see cartoon) featuring an outhouse with a crescent moon on it. Johnny denied the allegation made by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. I remember at the time defending Johnny on ToonTalk as the crescent is a common symbol/cliché used on outhouses and that people were inserting their own views into the strip, but now with this strip, I’m thinking that perhaps Johnny is capable of these clever puns (verbal or visual).
UPDATE: Dave Astor has caught up with Creator Syndicate to get the official response to the buzz around Johnny’s cartoon.
From Creator Editor Kathy Kei:
Although I thought many of the comments on the message boards were thoughtful, frankly, I’m surprised the strip is creating so much speculation. The gag is a straightforward play on words, intended just as it appears: ‘lunatic’ meaning a tick that makes a bite like a crescent-shaped moon.
And from a statement from Johnny himself:
It absolutely has no reference to Islam at all. It would be contradictory to my own faith as a Christian to insult other people’s beliefs.
I mean no disrespect to the people at Creators or hard feelings toward Johnny, but I think from now on, at least in my mind, I shall begin to call “B.C.” – “B.S.”