(This cartoon was first published on The Nib.)
Mandolin has been after me for ages to do a cartoon where the year 2000, pro-Nader Barry would be confronted by a Barry from the future. So this one’s for Mandolin. :-)
This is one of my few cartoons that comes from a place of “this is funny,” rather than a place of “I’m angry about this issue!” But there is a real underlying issue here, which is how Republicans have gotten so much worse in my lifetime. Reagan seemed so awful, and the first Bush seemed similarly awful. But then Bush Jr seemed unimaginably bad – until Trump came along and showed us how much worse Republicans can get. The kicker panel is my attempt to think of where this trend might be heading.
The art for this was interesting to draw – first of all, because it felt so odd to be drawing myself over and over and over again. And also, as a character design challenge – I had to do three (four, counting the kicker panel) designs, all of which are easily distinguishable from each other for readers, but all of whom nonetheless could be the same person.
My appearance isn’t 100% accurate, because I prioritized character design over accuracy. In particular, I don’t think I really looked like that in 2000; that’s more what I looked like in 1990. But from a character design standpoint, using that look was irresistible to me.
Transcript of Cartoon:
CAPTION: The Year 2000
The scene shows a park or college campus scene. A woman stands in front of a table, listening with an expression of skepticism; the table has a big sign that says “NADER” hanging off the front. Behind the table, talking to the woman, is BARRY2000, who is clean-shaven and has big messy hair. Behind Barry2000, BARRY2008 appears, transported to the scene by a glowing purple ring in the air. Barry2008 is yelling in a panic at Barry2000. Barry2008 is wearing a vest over a t-shirt, has his hair tied in a ponytail, and has a van dyke beard and mustache.
BARRY2000: Nader is our only choice that isn’t a vote for evil!
BARRY2008: Barry, stop!
A close shot shows Barry2000 and Barry2008. Barry2000 is puzzled, Barry2008 is still intense and panicked.
BARRY2000: Who are you?
BARRY2008: I’m you! I’m Barry from 2008. I’m using a time machine to stop you from making an awful mistake!
Close shot of Barry2008, who is waving his arms and still looks panicked.
BARRY2008: George W. Bush is much worse than you think he’ll be! There was a terrorist attack, and we invaded Iraq, and it’s all awful!
Barry 2008 continues to talk at Barry2000. Behind Barry2008 BARRY2016 appears in a glowing ring of time travel, tapping Barry2008 on the shoulder. Barry2016 is wearing a striped polo shirt, has his hair in a ponytail, and his beard is trimmed short.
BARRY2008: I literally can’t imagine a worse Pres-
BARRY2016: Excuse me, I’m Barry from 2016.
Tiny “kicker” panel at the bottom.
BARRY2024, an older, balding Barry in a v-neck shirt, has appeared and is talking to Barry2016, who looks very happy.
BARRY2024: Hi, I’m Barry from 2024. We’re ruled by giant alien roaches.
BARRY2016: So it gets better!