When the Cartoonists Remember 9/11 was announced last week, I had favorable feelings for it. It’s being spearheaded by King Features who has done similar group thematic work for National Breast Cancer Awareness and Earth day and a couple other good causes. I’m not sure I understand their motivation to do these collective work projects. I doubt it positively (or negatively) affects the number of comics they sell. My guess is that collectively the cartoonists generate favorable press and reminds people about the Sunday comics which is a very positive thing and I’m glad the effort is made. The Cartoonists Remember has receive A LOT of press from what I’ve observed. My hat is off to everyone involved for that reason.
But this morning as I flipped through the slideshow of the near 100 comics participating, I had a lot of mixed feelings. I suspect much of feelings are based on my own mixed feelings about the 9/11 commemoration in general. I found myself skipping quickly through the slideshow, stopping, assessing, feeling the same mixed feelings, and moving quickly on still confused why I was feeling the way I was. I’m not sure what I expected, but I was not being moved by the comics.
I caught a link to Dan Piraro’s blog that outlined why he opted not to participate in the comic commemoration. He was able to put into words what I was feeling.
I decided to decline for reasons I’m not completely certain of, to be honest. Somehow, it just didn’t feel right to me. I suppose I want Bizarro to be about humor as opposed to predictable, scheduled sentimentality. I don’t mean to diminish the suffering the event caused, of course, but I couldn’t very well make a “joke” about it (it just isn’t funny) and a somber, “never forget” cartoon seems hollow to me.
Of course it was horrible, of course our country will not forget, of course our hearts go out to the many thousands of people who lost someone they knew that day. It seems trivial to have a cartoon character announcing that. I think of Bizarro as being like a miniature comedy show. If I had something funny to say about 9/11, I’d have done it just as I would in a comedy show. But for people to come to a comedy club to see a stand-up comic make a patriotic speech commemorating a tragedy then walk off stage, would be ridiculous.
For those that contributed, I hope the participation was positive experience and you’ve achieved what you wanted. I continue to struggle with the proper role of cartoons in commemorating that horrible day. Hopefully the rest of the reader’s reactions were more positive.