Editorial Cartoon: It’s Election Season… Again

Well, after the Prime Minister’s shock announcement yesterday, I just had to make a political cartoon about the fact that there’s going to be yet another spring/summer election this year (there was the Scottish referendum in 2014, the general election in 2015 and the EU referendum last year). It almost seems to be becoming an annual event!

Unfortunately, I didn’t have room to include the Greens or the SNP in this cartoon. But, to be honest, neither of them have a vague chance of winning the election (yes, the SNP might win almost all of the seats in Scotland again, but they’ll never get an overall majority, given their limited focus on just one country of the UK).

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Editorial Cartoon – It’s Election Season… Again” By C. A. Brown

Editorial Cartoon: “Dangerous People”

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Editorial Cartoon - Dangerous People" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Editorial Cartoon – Dangerous People” By C. A. Brown

Although I often try to avoid politics (let alone international politics) on this blog, I just had to make a political cartoon about recent political events in America. Although this cartoon won’t exactly change the world, it was one of those moments where (if slightly belatedly) I felt strongly compelled to express a moral opinion about current affairs.

The fact that Trump could so casually cause chaos and fear for many families in America, that he could be so callous towards courageous Iraqi interpreters who have helped American troops (at great personal risk), that he bizarrely believes that Syrian refugees somehow pose a security threat [eg: They’ve been forced to flee from violent religious extremists. They probably hate both violence and the extremists even more than everyone else does!] etc.. is deeply chilling, regardless of who you may be. Trump’s preference for ruling by decree executive order and his willingness to ban people based purely on their place of birth is worrying for everyone, regardless of nationality or political views.

Likewise, in the UK, this decree executive order led to a situation where one of our most respected Olympic athletes, Sir Mo Farah, worried whether he’d be able to see his family living in the US. Where a member of parliament feared that he’d be unable to visit family members studying in the US. And where a vet from Glasgow was stranded in an airport in Costa Rica due to not being allowed a transit visa via the US. How any President could be deranged enough to think that these respectable Britons pose any kind of “security risk” is completely beyond me.

There was a lot of fanfare and press attention about the fact that Trump had moved the bust of Churchill back into the Oval Office. But, after this order, it seems clear that Trump has no sense of history. I mean, despite Churchill’s imperial past and conservative opinions, he was most famous for opposing things like extreme nationalism, undemocratic rule by decree etc…

Likewise, Trump’s order also means that the author/illustrator of one of the truly great graphic novels that I’ve read (“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi) could also potentially be banned from the US. Why any country would deny entry to such a talented writer/artist is completely beyond me. Hell, one of the things that reading this comic taught me was that – even in despotic countries with strict, fanatical governments – most people who live there are just ordinary people. Ordinary people who like to have fun, to listen to music, to fall in love and to dream. It’s a graphic novel that Trump and his cabinet would do well to read.

In Trump’s own words, all of this is extremely. Sad.

Editorial Cartoon: “Optimism”

…And I thought that Brexit was bad! Seriously, I’d planned not to say anything about the American election but when I looked at BBC News this morning and saw which way the results in the US were leaning, my first reaction was to utter a single four-letter word. My second reaction was to think “I have to make a cynical editorial cartoon!“.

Given how miserable I’d been feeling about Brexit yesterday and, given the choice between laughing at the horrible, unthinkably dystopian direction these parts of the world seem to be taking, or actually thinking about it seriously, I chose the former. Hence the cartoon.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Editorial Cartoon - Optimism" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Editorial Cartoon – Optimism” By C. A. Brown

Today’s Art (13th August 2016)

Woo hoo! My long-running “Damania” webcomic series has been resurrected for yet another mini series 🙂 You can catch up on the previous mini series here, here, here and here. Stay tuned for the next update tomorrow night 🙂

Yes, today’s comic is a cynical political cartoon. As regular readers probably know, I tend to make my art and comics quite far in advance and, the morning before I made this comic, I read this article about yet another British debate which had been censored before it even began.

The irony here is that the person who refused to debate is a left-wing NUS LGBT officer and the person she refused to share a platform with wasn’t some goose-stepping far-right extremist and/or some frothing fundamentalist, but none other than the one and only Peter Tatchell. Perhaps the most famous LGBT rights & human rights activist in current British history!

The reasons for this informal censorship were apparently because Peter Tatchell openly supported the right to free speech for a few narrow-minded people that he strongly disagrees with (and whom I strongly disagree with too). This NUS officer doesn’t seem to realise that free speech is for everyone or it’s for no-one. Democracy is based on debate, and debate requires free speech. I really hope that these modern “liberals” don’t end up in parliament in the future, since they’ll be in for quite a shock.

But, yes, it made me think of my debating days at university [a different one to the one in the news article] less than a decade ago (plus, I couldn’t resist the idea of drawing Harvey debating).

Back then, thankfully just before all of this modern hyper-censorious silliness really seriously took hold, the debating society was a place where people could put forward ludicrously controversial private motions just for the hell of it, and where you were just as likely to be arguing for the other side. It was the opposite of a modern “safe space” (which did exist back then, but it was only at the LGBT society’s events. Even then, it seemed like a rather novel thing) and it was an exhilerating thing.

But, yeah, with debates being constantly shut down by “liberals”, of all people, I despair for the future of democracy in this country. Hence this satirical cartoon.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "Damania Resurrected - Master Debaters" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “Damania Resurrected – Master Debaters” By C. A. Brown

Editorial Cartoon: “BORIS Is The New FOREIGN SECRETARY?!?!”

Although I often try to avoid politics on this blog, I saw a shocking piece of news earlier that compelled me to make a political cartoon. Boris Johnson is our new Foreign Secretary!

If you’ve never heard of him before, then he is one of the most undiplomatic politicians in current British politics (second only to Nigel Farage!). He recently penned a hilariously rude limerick about the Turkish Prime Minister President a couple of months ago, he made some rather Trump-like comments about Obama’s “part-Kenyan ancestry” less than three months ago etc… the list goes on..

The only logical reason why Theresa May picked him for this job is both to appease the “Brexit” crowd and because she knows that she’ll probably get to sack him within weeks because he’s probably going to say something monumentally stupid at some point in the near future.

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] "BORIS Is The New FOREIGN SECRETARY!?!?! WTF?" By C. A. Brown

[CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE] “BORIS Is The New FOREIGN SECRETARY!?!?! WTF?” By C. A. Brown

Why Do Webcomics Often Get Political ?

2016 ArtworkWhy  Webcomics get political  Article sketch

Although this is an article about why webcomics (and traditional syndicated newspaper comics) sometimes include political cartoons, I’ll start by briefly talking about an example of when this happened to me recently.

One of the strange things that I’ve noticed since I started making a webcomic mini series called “Damania Returns” (it’s a follow-on to these two mini series here and here) is that it has included a lot more political and philosophical stuff than I had expected.

But, first, here’s an example of one of the more political cartoons in my mini series:

"Damania Returns - Big Fictional Guns" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Returns – Big Fictional Guns” By C. A. Brown

This was originally just going to be a comic about how old First-Person Shooter computer games from the 1990s and early 00s were considerably more imaginative and well-designed than modern ones.

But, before I knew it, I’d remembered an article I’d read quite a while ago and soon the comic ended up turning into a surprisingly political tract about the arms industry – even though I tried to hide it by adding a contradictory joke at the end. Without thinking too much, my apolitical cartoon had become a political cartoon.

But, this is hardly something that is exclusive to me. Whilst some long-running print comics series have managed to remain pretty much apolitical (eg: Garfield, The Beano etc..), it’s surprisingly difficult to make comics – especially regular ones- that don’t involve politics. There are several reasons for this.

One of the reasons why politics turns up so often in webcomics and syndicated comics is because of the way that they’re made. Unlike traditional narrative comics which can take a long time to make and which tell a single self-contained story, with both webcomics and syndicated comics, the writers have to think of new ideas for stand-alone comics every day.

Thinking of new jokes and comic ideas every day (even when making short webcomic series, that are posted daily for 1-3 weeks) isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. As such, people who make comic strips regularly sometimes need a quick and easy source of interesting ideas. And, well, the writer’s/artist’s own opinions about the world and about politics are an easy source of ready-made comic ideas.

If you don’t believe me, try talking about a topic that doesn’t interest you for twenty minutes. It’s challenging, isn’t it? Now try talking about a topic that you have strong opinions about for less than five minutes….

In addition to this, webcomics can often sometimes become political for the simple reason that webcomic makers have far more freedom of speech than traditional newspaper cartoonists do. Because anyone can post pretty much anything on the internet in many democratic countries, there’s no editor or censor to tell you to tone down the political parts of your webcomic.

Likewise, there’s something uniquely powerful about expressing your opinions in cartoon form. This probably has something to do with the fact that comics are both a visual medium and a written medium. Because of this, comics can have twice the impact of either journalistic articles or films. When you make a political point in a comic, it just feels a lot more serious than it does if you’d just expressed your opinions verbally or in written form.

Finally, I guess that politics appear so often in webcomics for the simple reason that – unlike a TV show or a movie – most webcomics are only made by one or two people. As such, they often have much more of a “personality” than things made by larger groups of people do. And, well, most people’s opinions are a large part of their personalities.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Today’s Art ( 29th May 2016)

Woo hoo! My old “Damania” webcomic returns with all new episodes for yet another mini series. You can catch up on the previous two mini series here and here.

Well, this cartoon ended up being a bit more political than I expected. Originally, it was going to be just another cynical comic about how old FPS games are better than new ones. But, then I remembered this Eurogamer article I read a while ago about how some modern games companies pay large licencing fees to arms companies in order to include their guns in their games (it’s like a strange form of inverted product placement).

To get a little bit more political, I believe that this kind of stuff is only really a problem for gamers over the pond in America. Given that, in many other parts of the world (including the UK, if not especially the UK) game companies can advertise real guns as much as they want but people thankfully can’t usually actually buy them.

Still, it’s yet another reason why FPS games should return to the good old days of including a vast array of interesting, cool-looking and most importantly very much imaginary weapons.

I also made some visual edits to this cartoon after I’d scanned it. In most of the series so far, I’ve had to edit the dialogue for quality/flow reasons, but this is one of the most major visual changes. Basically, I removed a large dramatic-looking mushroom cloud from the last panel, since it accidentally made the accompanying dialogue imply that nuclear war was “cool”. Which it isn’t.

As usual, this comic update is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

"Damania Returns - Big Fictional Guns" By C. A. Brown

“Damania Returns – Big Fictional Guns” By C. A. Brown