Cat Pictures! Zephyr and Pete

Drawing of two tabby cats sitting and looking up.

Cat drawing! One thing I will always miss about Pete now that he’s gone is the way that he and his brother, Zephyr, hung out and cuddled.

This is one of the images I used in Scragamuffin, the chapbook I released as October’s exclusive Patreon reward. I thought it might be fun to release the pictures with the photos that inspired them.

This was hard to draw because there’s so much detail, especially on Zephyr’s side. When Zephyr was younger, he was spotted in places. It’s faded out to stripes or solid fur now. The angle on Pete is also strange; I ended up changing the shape of his breast bone so the image is more legible. I like the way the cats are looking up at the photographer (Mike) like, “…so, what do you want?”

Photo of two tabby cats sitting and looking up.

Posted in art, Cats, pete, zephyr | Leave a comment  

Cat Pictures! Wander Sleeps

Drawing of sleeping tabby cat.

Cat drawing! It’s so easy to snap pictures of the buggers while they’re sleeping. I’ve always thought this was a cute close-up of his contented face.

Photo of sleeping tabby cat.

Posted in artwork, Cats, wander | Leave a comment  

The Free Speech Absolutist


Please, please pass me that water, he said. Oh sure I said but first have you considered supporting my Patreon? Water for God’s sake just pass me the water he said. Absolutely! But by the way, you can pledge really low amounts, I’m talking just one dollar. God dammit I don’t care about your patreon I’m literally on fire burning to death here, he said. And doesn’t that make you want to support some swell political cartoons?, I asked. Then he died.


I’m sure there’s a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” out there who actually is concerned with free speech issues other than the ones that culture warriors most frequently argue about. After all, there are probably tens of thousands of “free speech absolutists,” and the dozen or two I’ve discussed these issues with are obviously not a random sample.

But still.

It’s not that I don’t see any “culture of free speech” concerns with issues like corporations owning sites like Twitter and Facebook, which are the most important “public square” that currently exists for public discussions. And I also see concerns with an overly judgement, unforgiving climate on campuses leading to chilled speech, and other so-called “cancel culture” issues.

But for so many “free speech absolutists,” these are the only free speech issues they know or care about. And it’s not a coincidence that these are the issues that impact some of the most privileged people in society, whereas free speech issues impacting the most marginalized people, like prisoners, are the ones that get ignored.


I was actually really confident I’d get this cartoon finished way sooner than I did. What happened? Well, partly, I had trouble getting started. But there was also this:

Six Steps To Making A Simple Cartoon Take Much Longer

Step 1: “I’ll take it easy, I’ll just draw two characters on a blank background. I’ve done strips like that before and they look good. Plus, it passes the Calvin and Hobbes test.”

Step 2: “Eh, this layout looks dull. I’ll just have them walking through a park instead. A couple of trees, it’ll take no time at all.”

Step 3: “Actually, wouldn’t it be neat if the first three panels formed a single continuous landscape image, with the characters walking through the landscape and getting closer to the readers with each panel?”

Step 4: “Might as well throw in an evergreen.”

Step 5: “That evergreen looks stupid on its own. Let’s throw in some more. And maybe some mountains behind the evergreens. And a house. And a bunny.”

Step 6: “Now that I’m almost completely done, what if I experimented with a new technique of doing the linework for the backgrounds? That could look cool, and how long could it take?”

The good news is that – for now, at least – I’m really proud of how this comic strip looks. I just hope that I don’t look at in and wince a year from now.


By the way, the next book collection is getting very close to being done. This one will have about twice as many cartoons in it as the previous collection.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels. Each panel shows the same two people walking through a hilly park area while talking.

One character, who I’ll call “Glasses,” is wearing glasses (imagine that!), a cable knit sweater, and black jeans with the cuffs rolled up. She has long reddish hair falling in front of her shoulders, and some of it is in a bun on top. The other character, who I’ll call “Hat,” is wearing a light green hat with a black band and a brim. She’s also wearing a button-down collared shirt, in off-white, and a black skirt.  She has curly black hair falling down the back of her neck.

PANEL 1

Glasses and Hat are walking on a path through a hilly park area, talking cheerfully as they walk. They’re walking one in front of the other, not facing each other.

HAT: I’m a free speech absolutist!

GLASSES: That’s great! Me too!

PANEL 2

Glasses is talking eagerly, while Hat shrugs, looking a little bewildered.

GLASSES: So you speak out against prison censorship?

HAT: I’m not sure what that is.

PANEL 3

Glasses eagerly raises a forefinger, as if to say “this is it,” while Hat (still not looking back at Glasses) has a neutral to bored expression.

GLASSES: Okay… So you want to stop copyright law being used for censorship?

HAT: Meh.

PANEL 4

Glasses now looks a little puzzled rather than happy, rubbing a hand against her chin. Hat glances back, now looking a bit annoyed.

GLASSES: Do you want labor laws protecting workers from being fired for off-work speech?

HAT: Nah. But the people criticizing the speech should shut up.

PANEL 5

A much closer shot of the two of them; in fact, Hat is mostly off-panel, and we only see the back of her head. Glasses is looking annoyed, and leans forward a bit towards Hat’s back to press her point.

GLASSES: Immigrants targeted by I.C.E. for their speech? Sex workers silenced by credit card companies?

HAT: Don’t know, don’t care.

PANEL 6

The “camera” pulls way out, so we’re seeing both characters in full figure. They’re on the top of a hill, with blue sky behind them. Glasses has shoved her hands into her pockets in a glum way, while Hat is grinning and raising her hands into the air, clearly energized and excited by her issue.

GLASSES: Er… So what makes you a “free speech absolutist?”

HAT: I want Twitter punished if they ban me.


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Free speech, censorship, copyright law, etc. | 7 Comments  

Cartoon: We’re Not Allowed To Say The Word “Woman” Anymore!


A cartoon by me and Becky Hawkins.


“But Mother” cried the Abbot. “If I’m not permitted to support these cartoons on Patreon, then there is no purpose to my life, and if it gets out there’s no purpose to my life, then the peasants will surely revolt and come for me with the rakes and torches, and–” But then the Abbot heard the crash of the front gates being smashed open.


In The Atlantic, Helen Lewis writes about “a new taboo on the American left: a terrible aversion to using the word women.” In the Washington Post, Megan McArdle  asks “Can the women’s movement be as effective without the word ‘women’?” In the Toronto Star, Rosie DiManno asks “Why can’t we say ‘woman’ anymore?,” a question Margaret Atwood echoed on Twitter.  The Times of London claims that “Midwives have been told to say ‘chestfeeding’ instead of ‘breastfeeding.'” Pamela Paul, in the New York Times, says “Planned Parenthood, once a stalwart defender of women’s rights, omits the word “women” from its home page.”

Gosh, that sounds troubling. Fortunately, none of it is true.

The word woman isn’t “taboo”; It’s trivially easy to find current examples of major pro-choice figures and organizations using the word “woman.”

Pamela Paul didn’t mention that Planned Parenthood’s front page is written entirely in the second person (i.e., “we believe your body is your own”), so wouldn’t be expected to use the word “women.” (PP’s been using “you” language on their front page for at least a decade.)

A google search shows that, as of this writing, the word “women” is used over 18,000 times on Planned Parenthood’s site. So although Pamela Paul didn’t technically lie, she certainly was misleading.

That hospital in England encourages staff to use the word “chestfeeding” in addition to – not “instead of” – “breastfeeding.”

The difference between “in addition to” and “instead of” is at the heart of all these deceptions. The truth – that trans-inclusive language like “pregnant people” is now available to use, but people can and do use whichever they please – isn’t catastrophizing enough for the anti-trans culture warriors. So they lie and suggest that “women” is being banned, when no such thing is happening.

Commenting on “why can’t we say ‘woman’ anymore?,” Sherronda Brown tweeted:

…This has the exact same energy as men who say shit like, “i guess it’s not okay to speak to women anymore” or “i will no longer work with/hire women” when they are told to stop sexually harassing women.

And journalist Katelyn Burns writes:

Anti-trans folks insist that using a catch-all gender-neutral phrase like birthing people instead of mothers erases women. But women are people too. This is about allowing people to define themselves within the complex world of sex, gender, and reproduction, rather than following a strict doctrine of biology as destiny.


When I wrote this strip, I had the dialog reversed in panel 1 – so that the same woman was using the word “women” in the first three panels. Or that’s how it was in my mind, anyway, but I didn’t make that clear in the script. Becky writes:

Barry’s and my gChats for the last 10 days alternate between questions about the political cartoon and gushing about the new A League of Their Own, but I was able to track down the process for this cartoon.

When Barry shared the file with me, it just had the dialogue and stage directions for “person at desk with papers they’ve been working on,” and “person standing next to desk.” Because the person standing was late (“There you are!”), and the person at a desk asked which stories “you guys” were putting out next week, I assumed this was a meeting in a newsroom, and various reporters were chiming in. I pictured a long table with a whiteboard or a powerpoint projected on a screen. (I’m glad I didn’t try to squeeze “Julie,” “Alice,” and a whiteboard into the panels before I checked with Barry!)

Becky: Are you picturing this as a news editor’s office? A meeting room?

Barry: I was picturing a coffee shop or a bar or maybe a cocktail party. But there’s a lot of flexibility there, obviously.

Becky [20 minutes later]: I think I may have ignored stage directions and switched around who’s talking in some of these, but with that caveat, a very rough sketch is up

I like the office kitchenette because it establishes the speakers as coworkers in an informal setting.

The script didn’t specify who said what, so I did some guessing instead of asking Barry. (Sorry, Barry.) It made sense to me that one person asked “Which stories are you putting out?” one person listed all the stories, and the first person got angry and said the final line. This posed a classic cartoonist problem: Person 1 needs to be on the left in Panel 2 in order to “speak” first, but they need to be on the right in Panel 4 in order to speak last. Working backwards, if Person 1 is just walking into the kitchenette, she has a plausible reason to move around a bit. This is apparently not at all what Barry had in mind. But I think it works, and I think the cartoon is stronger if both speakers use the word “women” with no repercussions before Panel 4.

I agree with Becky: the way it turned out is better than what I originally had in mind.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels.  Each panel shows the same two women chatting in what appears to be a breakroom/kitchenette at a workplace; there’s a fridge, and a coffee pot, a little round table with a couple of cheap plastic chairs, and an OSHA poster.

The first woman, who I’ll call DRESS, has below-the-shoulder blonde hair tied back loosely. She’s wearing a green dress with boots and is seated at the table, eating a sandwich. The second woman, who I’ll call JACKET (get it? “Dress Jacket”? This is high quality entertainment here!) has white hair, which is in a cool-looking style that’s short on the backs and sides and spikey in front. She’s wearing a green shirt, matching gray jacket and pants, and black clogs.

PANEL 1

DRESS is seated and eating her sandwich as JACKET walks into the break room, carrying a red coffee mug. Both women are smiling and look friendly.

DRESS: There you are!

JACKET: Sorry, had to go to the women’s room.

PANEL 2

Jacket has walked to the counter and is pouring herself a cup of coffee. Dress turns to face Jacket as she speaks.

JACKET: So what new stories are you guys putting out this week?

DRESS: Well, there’s my piece on “ten up-and-coming young women in publishing”…

PANEL 3

Dress continues to talk as Jacket moves to take a seat at the table.

DRESS: Julie’s got an essay on ways backsliding LGBTQ rights are a threat to women’s rights… There’s a piece on Black women leaders petitioning the President…

PANEL 4

Jacket suddenly explodes in over-the-top anger, waving her arms high, tossing her coffee mug into the air, flipping the table. Dress flinches back, surprised.

DRESS: And there’s Alice’s story about prosecutors targeting pregnant people – YIPES!

JACKET (yelling): “Pregnant people”? So we’re not even allowed to say “women” anymore?!?


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues, Transsexual and Transgender related issues | 2 Comments  

Cartoon: Kids Today Are So Lazy


If you like these cartoons, then you’re a terrible terrible person and you should definitely consider a mountain retreat to work on your spiritual size, say five to eight years of contemplating the pine trees, going barefoot and living only on barries. And since you’ll be saving so much money on food and shoes, why not support my Patreon?


From the Center For Economic Policy Research: “If the minimum wage did rise in step with productivity growth since 1968 it would be almost $21.50 an hour.”

The CEPR article includes this graph, showing that the minimum wage’s real value has been dropping ever since the late 1960s.

Activists have largely switched to demanding a “living wage” rather than a “minimum wage” because today’s minimum wage is so inadequate. But it’s worth remembering that decades ago, the minimum wage was a living wage!


In my original script for this cartoon, the older character was angry and mean. That’s sort of the default state of any of my characters who express right-wing views, which is sort of an inevitable byproduct of the simplifying exaggeration I use in my political cartoons.  And I’m okay with that.

Still, I was pleased when I realized that this strip would work just as well, and maybe better, if I had the older character be friendly at first and surprised at the end. It feels nice to break away from the default now and then!

I really like Frank Young’s colors on this strip, and especially how he colored the older character – the backlighting looks really nice. Check out how neat that character looks with my lines taken away!


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows two women on a sidewalk in a residential area, talking. The younger woman has black, straight hair, and is wearing  a short-sleeved blouse with puffy sleeves, black tights with some tears, and sandals. The older woman has big curly hair, and is wearing a light blue blazer over a black shirt and slacks, with black kitten heels.

PANEL 1

The two women are talking; the younger woman has an earnest expression, while the older woman is holding out a palm in a somewhat dismissive manner and smiling.

YOUNGER: $17 per hour is a living wage. Everyone should be paid at least that.

OLDER: Your generation just has to work harder. Like mine did!

PANEL 2

A close-up of just the older woman, She’s pointing at the younger woman, smiling and lifting an eyebrow.

OLDER: I started working in 1975. I got $4 and hour and felt lucky! Then I worked my way up! You should be paid what I was. You’d learn something.

PANEL 3

A longer shot of the two of them. The younger woman has turned away and is tapping on her smartphone.

YOUNGER: Hold that thought…

PANEL 4

The younger woman has turned back towards the older woman, and is grinning and pointing to something on her smartphone screen, which she’s holding up to display to the older woman. The older woman leans down to look at the smartphone, and she looks taken aback.

YOUNGER: $4 per hour in 1975 is $22 per hour in today’s money. You’re right, we should be paid like that!


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Economics and the like, Minimum Wage | 8 Comments  

Me interviewed on the Drawing Controversy podcast

I’m interviewed on the “Drawing Controversy” podcast! This was fun for me.

This was the first of two parts; in the second part, Becky Hawkins will join the podcast.

Posted in Interviews | Leave a comment  

Cartoon: A Brief Taxonomy of Pro-Lifers


Support me on Patreon or there will be no more cartoons,” said the Boy who Cried No Cartoons. But the people didn’t support him on Patreon, and yet there kept being more cartoons, and that’s how everybody knew the Boy Who Cried No Cartoons was bullshit. So everyone in town got together and dragged the Boy out of bed and beat the Boy with sticks, until the Boy burst open and hundreds of new cartoons burst out, and then everyone had all the cartoons they could eat and more they could burn for warmth and life was good.


I’ve been working on this cartoon gradually since the day the Dobbs decision (overturning Roe v Wade) was officially released.

This is the third cartoon of this format I’ve done – the previous ones were “The 24 Types of Libertarian” and “36 Annoying Anti-Feminists You Will Meet On The Internet.”

Of course, I didn’t create this format. I was inspired by some of Matt Groening’s “Life In Hell” comic strips, where he’d list “types” of people, like The 9 Types of High School Teacher. (I doubt Groening originated the format either – it seems like too useful a gag structure to have never existed before the 1980s.)


A few years ago, some folks on Tumblr spread the word that I was a racist who had plagiarized this format from a Black writer who did some of these “list” gags (although hers weren’t in comics form). I pointed out that not only did I swipe the format from Groening, who probably was using it before the writer in question had even been born, but in fact my “Libertarians” strip was published before the first list they were claiming I stole the format from.

Of course, once I appraised them of the situation, they apologized and posted retractions. I kid! They just blocked me so I couldn’t contact them anymore. Yeesh.


There’s not much for me to say about reproductive rights beyond the cartoon itself – especially since this the fourth abortion-related cartoons I’ve done since the Dobbs decision, so I’ve already written about this topic recently. But a few notes specific to this cartoon:

Panel two, “Woman’s Body Knower,” is a combination of things that sitting Republican congressmen have actually said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” was said by Representative Todd Akin. Representative Joe Walsh claimed that there isn’t “one instance” of an abortion being necessary to save a woman’s life. And during a congressional hearing about abortion rights, Representative Vito Barbieri had this exchange:

“Can this same procedure then be done in a pregnancy? Swallowing a camera and helping the doctor determine what the situation is?” Barbieri asked.

[Doctor] Madsen replied that would be impossible because swallowed pills do not end up in the vagina.

“Fascinating. That makes sense,” Barbieri said, amid the crowd’s laughter.

Since all three of the people I based the dialog on were Representatives, it would have made sense for the reporter to say “Thank you Congressman,” but there wasn’t much room and “Senator” has fewer letters in it. :-p


Panel 5, “Race Obsessed Whitey”: Why do so many right-wingers present their “evidence” in the form of YouTube videos that would take hours and hours to watch? If you’re a close friend of mine, then perhaps I’d be willing to watch a video that’s more than a minute wrong – perhaps – but otherwise, it’s not gonna happen.


Panel 6, “The Special One”: Many clinic workers have written about pro-lifers who protest abortion, then have one themselves when they get pregnant, then go back to protesting abortion.


Panel 9, “Justice is Shameless” is of course based on multiple conservative Supreme Court justices who, during their confirmation hearing, refused to say that they’d vote to overturn Roe but instead said platitudes about the importance of precedence.

They didn’t technically lie, and they never promised not to overturn Roe; but they were deliberately being less than candid, in a way that allowed allegedly pro-choice Senator Susan Collins to claim not to have voted for Judges who’d overturn Roe, even though she and everyone else knew she had.


Panel 10, “Poor oppressed male”: I probably shouldn’t bother making fun of men’s rights activists (MRAs), because they’re too obscure to be worth making fun of. But I can’t resist.

To be fair, although I have seen MRAs argue to ban abortion in the name of men’s equality, usually they argue the other way – they say fathers should be able to have “paper abortions,” also called “choice for men,” freeing them of all responsibility for their children. This is an idea which sounds okay on its face but gets worse and worse the more you think about it.


Panel 14, “Crisis Pregnancy Scare.” It took me so long to write this panel! It’s really hard to get a gag like this across in only 27 words, but there’s not room for more words than that in these teeny tiny panels.  So I rewrote and rewrote, trying to find a more concise formulation. And even so, I had to make the illustration tinier than it is in most of the panels, so I could fit in the dialog.


Panel 15, “Really Cares About Women.” I’ve used this punchline once before, but it’s been over five years and it really fits in here, so I decided that it would be okay.


While writing this patreon post, I looked at my previous two cartoons with this format, and saw that I didn’t color those. Probably because drawing a strip like this takes forever., even without the colors. I’m pretty pleased with how the art in this one came out, though (at least right now).


Thanks to my friend P.H. Lee, who made a suggestion to me that eventually turned into panel 12.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has twelve panels, arranged in a 3×4 grid. Each cartoon has a large caption, and below the caption, a character that the caption refers to.

At the very top of the cartoon, large letters in a friendly font say:

A BRIEF TAXONOMY OF PRO LIFERS

PANEL 1

A woman is weeping so copiously that the air around her is being filled with dozens of flying teardrops.

CAPTION: CRY BABY

WOMAN: Poor babies! Babies, babies babies! I’ll support anything to save babies!

WOMAN: (Just the unborn ones.)

PANEL 2

An older man wearing a suit and tie is speaking to an off-panel reporter (although we can see the reporter’s hand holding out a microphone. In letters so tiny no one will ever read them, a logo on the mic says “LOGO”).

CAPTION: WOMAN’S BODY KNOWER

MAN: In a rape the woman’s body just shuts that down, abortion is never needed to save a life, and if a woman swallows a pill it comes out her vagina. It’s just science!

REPORTER: Thank you, Senator.

PANEL 3

A man with a mustache holds up one hand, palm out, while his other hand holds a bible against his chest. He has his eyes closed and looks reverent. In the background, we can see some church-style fancy windows.

CAPTION: DEFINITELY NOT A THEOCRAT

MAN: I only want to force everyone to follow my religion’s rules. How does that make me a “theocrat”?

PANEL 4

A redheaded woman is, through a cartoon effect, turning her head rapidly and showing two different expressions. The first expression is angry (and she’s shaking a fist on that side); the second expression is extremely calm, and she’s holding up an index finger as if making an academic point.

CAPTION: THE SLUT SHAMER

WOMAN: DIRTY SLUTS MUST BE PUNISHED!

WOMAN: I mean, “take responsibility for their choices.”

PANEL 5

An angry white man, with messy hair and radiating waves of angry energy, is holding up his smartphone facing towards us, as he yells at us.

CAPTION: RACE OBSESSED WHITEY

MAN: Some Blacks have abortions which makes liberals the real racists MARGARET SANGER RACIST GENOCIDE!

MAN (smaller letters): Watch these videos they’ll only take 3 or 4 hours.

PANEL 6

A teenage girl looks at the reader with wide, sincere eyes. She’s holding a big sign which says “Abortion Murders Babies.”

CAPTION: THE SPECIAL ONE

GIRL: I’m different! I needed my abortion! My whole life could have been upended!

PANEL 7

A woman wearing a ringer tee-shirt with a smiley-face “Woman” symbol on it speaks angrily towards the viewer, waving her arms.

CAPTION: THE PRO-LIFE “FEMINIST”

WOMAN: Nothing’s more sexist than allowing women to make essential personal choices for ourselves!

PANEL 8

A handsome man with tidy hair is grinning hugely as he speaks to us. He’s sweating copiously and his tongue is hanging out of his mouth, both cartoonese for “this person is a horny pervert.”

CAPTION: SADIST BY JESUS-PROXY

MAN: BABY-KILLER! Jesus will burn you in hell for a million years! Endless pain in the flames!

MAN (smaller letters): heh heh heh yeaaah

PANEL 9

A man with well-coiffed hair, wearing a gray suit with a black tie, is sitting at a long table of the type Justices sit at during Senate confirmation hearings. He’s smiling and speaking into a microphone attached to the table.

CAPTION: JUSTICE IS SHAMELESS

MAN: If confirmed, I will overturn Roe, and we all know it. But I won’t be confirmed if I say that, so I’ll just say “it’s precedent.”

PANEL 10

A man with short-cropped hair and a small pointed chin-beard is typing furiously into a laptop. His word balloon points to the laptop, indicating what he’s typing.

CAPTION: POOR OPPRESSED MALE

MAN: Men can’t have abortions! So abortion has to be illegal! That’s what equality means!

PANEL 11

A hand is holding a smartphone. On the smartphone screen, we see a man with tidy hair and a worried expression cupping an ear with his hand, as if he’s miming listening to something.

CAPTION: DEAD BABIES LIVE MONEY!

MAN ON PHONE: Listen carefully and you’ll hear the unborn babies talking to you! They’re saying “donate $50 today!”

PANEL 12

This panel shows two people standing side-by-side, a man and a woman, speaking directly to the reader. They are both well-dressed, him in a suit and tie, her in a blouse with puffy short sleeves, and carefully done makeup and hair. They’re both smiling.

CAPTION 1: THE HUMANITARIANS

MAN: So our laws make doctors turn away victims of pregnancy complications and child rape…

WOMAN: Well, boo hoo!

PANEL 13

A woman stands alone in a field, talking directly to us with an angry expression while she points to something on her smartphone.  She has curly black hair and is wearing a black dress with a square-cut neckline.

CAPTION: MISS PRIORITIES

WOMAN: Sure, our abortion bans might kill people – but what’s REALLY horrible is that a columnist used the term “pregnant PEOPLE!”

PANEL 14

A young, wide-eyed teen is talking to an adult woman who is waring a white coat and has her hair in a bun. The woman is grinning but also pointing an accusing finger at the teen.

TEEN: Your ad said to come here for information about abortion?

WOMAN: We’re here to provide non-judgmental help! So tell me, why are you considering becoming a baby murderer?

CAPTION: CRISIS PREGNANCY SCARE

PANEL 15

This panel has two captions, a title caption at the top like the previous fourteen panels had, and a smaller caption floating in the middle of the panel. The panel is otherwise blank.

CAPTION 1: REALLY CARES ABOUT WOMEN

CAPTION 2: No examples found.


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Abortion & reproductive rights, Cartooning & comics, Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Feminism, sexism, etc | 24 Comments  

Cartoon: Pro-Lifers in Everyday Life


If you like these cartoons, then you probably like chocolate, because who doesn’t like chocolate? And, similarly, who doesn’t like my cartoons? They’re basically the same thing, Also, patreon link.


I don’t bring this up a lot, because it’s really just a weird thing about me, not a relevant policy argument. But I’m genuinely insulted by the pro-life idea that I – an adult human being with thoughts and desires and consciousness – am morally identical to, and no more valuable than, a fetus which not only lacks all those things, but is physically incapable of having any desires or thoughts or consciousness at all.

You need a brain for all that stuff. And until fairly late in a pregnancy – long after virtually all abortions take place – a fetus doesn’t have a functioning brain.

Many pro-life arguments emphasize that a “preborn” baby may have fingers and toes and eyes, often accompanied by photoshopped images of a fetus made to look especially cute. But none of that is relevant. A person born without fingers or toes or eyes is still a person. A mannequin can have all that stuff and it’s not a person.

Personhood is our personality, our thoughts, our selves. And all of that is contained in our brains.

I’m especially annoyed when the “fetuses aren’t morally different from any other human!” argument is made by referring to the Holocaust – “if we say fetuses aren’t people, isn’t that like the Nazis saying Jews aren’t people?”

Sure it’s like that, as long as we accept that Jews are brainless creatures incapable of having any consciousness at all. I myself am not prepared to accept that.


The non-personhood of the fetus is not, to me, the most important argument against the pro-forced-birth position. The most important argument, I think, is that it’s simply immoral to force people become involuntarily life support systems. (An argument famously made by Judith Jarvis Thomson in her “A Defense of Abortion” back in 1971). (I’ve done a couple of cartoons on that theme, like “Forced Kidney Donation” and “Fight Medical Tyranny“.)


This cartoon was oddly slow to draw. Looking at it now, I’m not sure why it took forever. It does have fairly detailed backgrounds (at least for me), and all the backgrounds were drawn with actual perspective lines, and that does take longer to do, but not that much longer.

Sometimes it just doesn’t go smoothly. But other strips come out of my stylus quickly and easily; I guess it all balances out on the imaginary cosmic comics scales.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a different scene of two people talking. A caption at the bottom of the cartoon says “PRO-LIFERS IN EVERYDAY LIFE.”

PANEL 1

Two women are talking in a store that has large displays of laptop computers – a Best Buy or something like that.  One woman, who is dressed a sales associate (skirt, vest over collared shirt, nametag), is grinning and holding up a laptop to display it. The other woman, who has an undercut and is wearing a zip-up hoodie and carrying a purse, is leaning down to look at the laptop skeptically. )

CUSTOMER: I’m not buying that – there’s no operating system or hard drive and the CPU is missing.

SALESPERSON: It’s still a computer!

PANEL 2

A man and a woman are in a home kitchen. The man, who is youngish but balding early, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt that says “Band Name” on the front, is basically squeeing with joy while looking at the woman’s plate. The woman, dressed in a flower print shirt and plaid pants, is holding a plate with an omelet on it and looking annoyed.

MAN: Wow, you got a chicken? What’s its name?

WOMAN (thought): Oh god not this again

WOMAN (aloud): It’s an omelet!

PANEL 3

A woman wearing a sleeveless shirt, and with a heavily tattooed arm, and her black hair in a messy bun, is holding a paint roller in one hand, while the other hand is on the rung of a ladder. She looks annoyed. Behind her, a man with glasses and a polo shirt is leaning in her window from outside and yelling at her.

MAN: That paint color isn’t the choice I’d make.

MAN (yelling): It should be banned!

PANEL 4

An annoyed man stands in the door to his house, arms folding, blocking the way. He’s staring down at a tiny child on the front step. The child looks surprised.

MAN: You expect me to take care of you even after you’re born?


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Abortion & reproductive rights, Cartooning & comics | 34 Comments  

Cartoon: The Adventures of Timmy the Six Week Fetus!


This one’s a collaboration with Kevin Moore.


Tonally, this is very different from my usual strip, but I hope the change-up is fun.

I literally dreamed this up while lying half-asleep in bed. When I imagined the drive-by shooting done by lefties on bicycles, I laughed aloud, and that woke me up enough to get out of bed to write the idea down.

I wish they’d all come this easily!

I knew Kevin Moore’s wonderfully slightly-grotesque characters would be just right for this cartoon. Kevin’s had less time for drawing cartoons lately, due to a shiny new job, but happily he had time for this one.


Kevin says:

“What I enjoyed most about drawing this strip was the variety of absurd elements: a talking fetus, a tut-tutting Jesus, an antifa drive-by shooting — I even forgive you for making me draw bicycles and machine guns, Barry!

This is a very silly strip on otherwise serious issues of reproductive rights and gun violence. Right wing ideology has such upside down priorities — how can you not mock them?”


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has six panels.

PANEL 1

This panel shows two teenage boys. One of them, John, has floppy blonde hair and is wearing a red t-shirt with a big horizontal yellow stripe. The other, John’s friend, has messily-cropped orange hair, zits, and a blue t-shirt.  John is rolling his eyes and looking aggrieved.

JOHN: I’m going out to hang with the boys, Ma!

MA (off-panel): John, you can go if you take your little brother.

JOHN: Aw, Ma, do I have to? Timmy’s such a drip!

PANEL 2

This panel is mostly taken up by the title, which is written in a big, cheerful-looking font that’s colored red and pink, with shiny white highlights.

THE ADVENTURES OF TIMMY THE SIX WEEK FETUS

Below the title lettering is a drawing of Timmy, a six week fetus, which looks sort of like a red lizard curled up into itself. Timmy has a little cartoon smile. A little curly label pointing to Timmy says “1/4 inch.”

TIMMY: I’m just like any other kid!

PANEL 3

John’s friend, in the foreground, is leaning forward and peering through a magnifying glass. In the background, John has his hands shoved into his pickets and is pouting.

FRIEND: You brought your stupid little brother with you, John?

JOHN:  It sucks! Ma made me take him!

PANEL 4

This panel shows two men with bandanas covering their lower faces riding by on bikes. They’re each holding a machine gun of some sort (I’m sure that someone will let me know that it’s not really a machine gun, it’s technically an [insert specific type of gun here], and let me assure you in advance that I really don’t care) , which they’re firing towards the sidewalk. Sound effects by the guns read “brapp brapp brapp.”

CAPTION: Suddenly… A random drive-by Antifa shooting!

ANTIFA DUDE: Ha ha ha! Take this!

PANEL 5

A shot of John, looking shocked and frightened. A bullet is on a path to hit John in the heart, but Timmy (who is too small to be seen, but we can see the zip line indicating his path) jumps in front of the bullet, which bounces off Timmy to the side.

JOHN: Gasp! Timmy jumped in front and took the bullet for me! And now Timmy’s dead!

TIMMY: Gak!

PANEL 6

In the foreground, John is kneeling, holding his cupped hands in front of him, as if he’s holding Timmy’s invisibly tiny body in them, and has raised his face towards the sky. John is weeping hard.

In the background, on one side of John, we see John’s friend lying on the ground in a spreading puddle of blood. The Friend has little “x”s for eyes, indicating that he’s dead. (I told Kevin that he could choose drawing the friend alive but shocked and sad, or dead, but I was 99% sure Kevin would go for the corpse option.)

Also in the background, on the other side of John, is Jesus Christ, with his arms folded across his chest, looking very stern.

JOHN: Why didn’t I love you like you deserved, Timmy?

JOHN: WAAAAH!

JESUS: I’m so disappointed in you, John.


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Abortion & reproductive rights, Cartooning & comics | 2 Comments  

Cartoon: The Secret Private Lives of Teachers


Another collaboration with Becky Hawkins, who really went all-out with drawing classroom environments!


When you support the Patreon, you not only get the warm feeling of supporting the making of more swellish policartoons, you also get the warm feeling of an extra arm growing out between your shoulderblades, and admittedly I can’t think of a single situation in which that would be pragmatically useful but what a conversation piece!


If I hadn’t argued online with a few people who are claiming that “back when we were kids” we didn’t know anything about our teachers’ home lives, I wouldn’t have believed there was anyone like that out there. It’s simply such a ridiculous thing to say. Just calling a teacher “Miss” or “Mrs” told us something about their home lives!

I think Becky may have been the one to suggest doing a cartoon about this. The neat idea of having the teacher in panel 4, be there as Billy’s classmate in panels 1-3, was definitely Becky’s idea.


Becky writes:

This comic was personal to me because as a former kid, WOW I hate being admonished to “let kids be kids” when that translates to “Stay in the closet around kids, and encourage all kids to act like they’re cis and straight til they’re no longer kids!”

I like drawing historical *cough* haircuts and clothing. I thought of Billy and his classmate Susie as my peers when I read the script, so I sketched early-90s outfits and hair in panels 1-3 without thinking. Then I read the caption for panel 4, which originally read “Fifty years later.” I did the math and realized that panels 1-3 would take place in the early 70s. It’s true that a lot of the people freaking out about “teachers bringing their personal lives into the classroom” are too old to have elementary-school-aged children. (I encountered one on Facebook shortly before drawing this comic!) So that would be realistic. But I also assumed that Billy was in the classroom in panel 4 as a parent. After checking with Barry, purely for my drawing preferences, I changed it to “forty years later.”

I looked at a lot of bowl cuts and feathered hair last week. The feathered hair gave me grief, actually. I haven’t drawn it much before, so I had to figure out how to try and capture the shapes with simple lines. A lot of the men’s haircuts that popped up on Google Image search were for boldly-coiffed musicians or actors. For the teacher in panel 2, I looked up “NASA engineer” because I figured that an old NASA photo would be an accurate “desk-dweller who doesn’t have time for fashion.”


Last month, a group of parents in Orlando, Florida, demanded “consequences” against sixth grade science teacher Robert Thollander. His crime? Thollander acknowledged his marriage at school.
“He married a man. This alone is not an issue. Sharing the details … with all his 6th grade students is the issue,” the parents wrote in a letter sent to their children’s school board, which was shared with NBC News. “It was not appropriate. Many of these students felt very uncomfortable with the conversations and shared this with their families.” […]
Thollander denied having discussed his marriage since he and his husband tied the knot in March of last year, aside from acknowledging it when he was asked. […]
But legal experts have said the broad language of the law could open districts and teachers to lawsuits from parents who believe any conversation about LGBTQ people or issues is “inappropriate.”

TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a schoolroom, although not always the same schoolroom. There’s also a tiny “kicker” panel under the bottom of the strip.

PANEL 1

A schoolroom (I know, I know, I just said that). In the background, A freckled, red-headed little girl wearing a red shirt is peering into a fishtank. There are big windows, and outside the windows we can see the tops of green trees.

In the foreground, BILLY, a reddish-blonde-haired little boy, is smiling as he talks to the teacher, Billy’s wearing a black v-neck tee shirt and green shorts. The teacher, MRS ABEL, is also smiling, leaning down to talk to Billy.

All three of them have feathered early-80s hair.

BILLY: Do you remember me from last year, Miss Thompson?

MRS ABEL: Of course, Billy! But I got married this summer, so now you should call me Mrs. Abel.

PANEL 2

A different classroom and a different teacher – but we’re still looking at Billy and his freckled classmate. They’re both leaning on the teacher’s desk; Billy is pointing to a framed family photo on the teacher’s desk. Freckles is wearing a red vest over a collared shirt, and Billy is wearing a green shirt.

The teacher is smiling and gesturing with an open hand as he replies to Billy. In the background, there are large classroom windows, and out the windows we can see the trees are yellow and orange – it’s now Fall.

BILLY: Mr. Smith? Who are the people in this picture?

MR SMITH: They’re my family, Billy!

PANEL 3

We’re back in Mrs Abel’s classroom, looking at the same people as panel 1 – Billy, his freckled classmate, and Mrs Abel. But time has passed; the trees out the window are green again. Also, Mrs Abel is now very obviously pregnant, and has a hand on her belly as she talks to Billy. It looks like Freckles was playing with a toy school bus, but she’s paused to listen to Billy and Mrs Able.

The girl in the background is wearing a red shirt under jeans overalls, and Billy is wearing the same green shirt, but with different pants.

BILLY: But why won’t you be teaching us next month, Mrs Abel?

MRS ABEL: Because I’m having a baby, Billy!

PANEL 4

A caption box at the top of the panel says “BILLY, FORTY YEARS LATER.”

An adult Billy, with a tidy beard and mustache and his hair going white at the temples, is in a classroom, yelling at a teacher, waving his arms. Billy has green pants.

The teacher, who has short red hair, freckles, and is wearing a button-up red shirt, is leaning back against her desk, away from Billy. She looks unhappy and surprised. On her desk, there’s a photo of her with a woman, presumably her wife, and two children.

BILLY (yelling): When we were kids, we never knew anything about teachers’ private lives!

TINY ADDITIONAL PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

Adult Billy is talking to the panel 4 teacher, looking a bit histrionic.

TEACHER: But we always knew about–

BILLY: We didn’t! That would have destroyed our childhood innocence!


This cartoon on Patreon

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues | 2 Comments