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I hope you like this cartoon! Labor rights is an issue that too often drops out of view on the left, and that’s a shame. There’s been no greater boon to Republicans – and to corporate power in general – than how U.S. unions have become weaker over the decades.
Drawing this one, the challenge was definitely finding ways to make a person sitting at a desk talking and doing nothing else for six panels, visually interesting. I was trying for an effect of increasing fakeness as the cartoon went along. Begin with the character looking warmly at the viewer, then show him on a TV screen (one level of fakeness), then a TV in a room full of employees who are being forced to watch the video (two levels of fakeness), then a side shot showing that the CEO has very professional A/V equipment surrounding him (a third level), and finally back to the original shot for the ending.
Did it work? I guess that depends on the reader. But it’s interesting to me to try.
After I was finished drawing this cartoon, I realized the CEO looks like a caricature of “Principal Snyder” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who was played by the wonderful character actor Armin Shimerman. But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. (There’s a picture of Shimerman as Principal Snyder at the bottom of this post.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has six panels.
This panel contains nothing but the title of the cartoon, in large, friendly letters.
TITLE: CEOs, EXCEPT WITH SUBTITLES
This panel shows a friendly-looking man, seated behind a desk, wearing a three-piece suit and talking directly to the viewer. He is the CEO. In this panel, and in all the following panels, the CEOs dialog is at the top of the panel in a comic book font, while there’s a subtitle “translating” what he’s saying in a more mechanical font at the bottom of the panel.
CEO: Greetings! As CEO, I want to talk to our entire company family about a serious issue: Unionization.
SUBTITLE: Listen up, serfs!
The panel shows a wall-mounted flatscreen TV; on the TV, the CEO, in the same shot as panel 1, is talking, his right hand on his chest over his heart.
CEO: I think of us as more a family than a business.
SUBTITLE: A family where papa gets paid 271 times as much.
A room is filled with people watching the CEO on a wall-mounted TV. The TV is flanked by a security guard on one side, and a manager-looking woman on the other, both watching the crowd in an unfriendly manner. On TV, the CEO has raised his hands and looks angry.
CEO: We don’t need union outsiders in our family!
SUBTITLE: “Outsiders” like pro-union workers who have worked here for decades.
A shot of the CEO in his office. We’re now off a bit to one side, so we can see the camera the CEO is talking to, a boom microphone, and the corner of a big photography light aimed at the CEO. The CEO is raising an index finger and looking stern.
CEO: The consequences of unionization could be terrible for all our company’s workers.
SUBTITLE: We will be illegally firing union organizers.
The same shot as panel one, with the CEO looking straight at the viewer and smiling, his arms folded on the desk in front of him.
CEO: In closing, to the union, I say: You don’t scare me!
SUBTITLE: In all the universe, nothing frightens me more than unionization. I literally just peed my pants.