Cartoon: Equally Bad!

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Back in August, a racist drove to El Paso, Texas and shot up a bar, killing 20 people and leaving behind a political manifesto railing against immigration – with “invasion” rhetoric strikingly similar to rhetoric used by President Trump.  The shooter told police that his intention was to shoot Mexicans.

Shortly after, the forces of bothsiderism – both centrists and right-wing – wrote tweet after tweet and thinkpiece after thinkpiece arguing that we must not let the El Paso shootings – or the many, many other explicitly right-wing shootings we’ve seen this decade – distract us from the danger of liberal violence.

Their examples? Another shooter seemed to have been a democrat – although there’s nothing at all indicating that his motivations were political (one of his victims was his own brother). And antifa punches people, and throws milkshakes on them.


Look, of course some left-wingers are violent. But we are a thousand miles away from equality on that score. In the U.S., right now, there’s a regular pattern of right-wingers committing mass shootings while endorsing views held by some of the most influential and powerful conservatives, including the President. There is no equivalent on the left. Pretending that things are equivalent isn’t being balanced; it’s being deceptive.

Looking at this cartoon now, I’m wondering why I put the right-wing dude on the left, and the left-wing woman on the right? I mean, I can see why – because from the perspective of the centrist, the right-winger is to her right, and the left-winger is to her left.  But it probably would have made more sense to consider the readers’ right and left instead.

That aside, I had a lot of fun drawing this strip. The extreme close-up in panel five, and of course the dancing in panel six, are both things that I hardly ever get to draw. I’m pleased with how it came out in black and white, and I haven’t yet decided if I’ll add color or not.


This cartoon has six panels; two rows containing five panels between them, and then a final row with just a single large panel.

Panel 1

Three people stand on a city sidewalk talking.  There is “Mr. Right,” a bald white man wearing a dress shirt and a tie; a woman wearing glasses, a white collared shirt and a floral skirt; and “Ms. Left,” a black-haired woman wearing a hoodie and jeans.

Glasses has turned to her left, to address Ms Left.

GLASSES: Whats’ the worst thing you do, Ms Left?

MS LEFT: Well,.. Some of our extremists punch people, and not everyone punched is a Nazi.

Panel 2

Glasses has now turned to her right, to ask Mr Right a question.

GLASSES: And Mr Right, what’s the worst thing you do?

MR RIGHT: Oh, you know… Forced child separation, inhumane detention camps, and mass shootings inspired by the violent rhetoric of our highest elected leaders.

Panel 3

A close-up of Glasses, who is holding up a hand with a “stop!” gesture and looking upward as if thinking.

GLASSES: But if you both do violence… Then that means…

Panel 4

An even tighter close-up of Glasses. Her hands are up on her face, and her eyes are wide, as if she’s having a startling realization.

GLASSES: That both of you are…

Panel 5

A very tight close-up of Glasses’ face – her entire head doesn’t even fit in the panel.  She’s grinning too wide and sweating and looks very intense. Her dialog in this panel, rather than being contained in a dialog balloon, is done in huge, happy letters superimposed over the image.


Panel 6

A large panel, showing Mr. Right and Glasses grinning and dancing joyously while they sing. Musical notes fill the air around them. On the far right of the panel, Ms Left is facepalming.

MR RIGHT (sings): Equally bad! Equally bad!

GLASSES (sings): Equally bad!

MS LEFT (thought): Why do I even talk to centrists?

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8 Responses to Cartoon: Equally Bad!

  1. 1
    Doug S. says:

    Well, there was that one guy who got killed trying to storm an ICE facility… We left-wingers *suck* at terrorism these days. :P

  2. 2
    Gracchus says:

    I get why left is a woman and right is a man, but why is the centrist a woman?

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    No special reason. One of the pundits that inspired this cartoon is a woman.

  4. 4
    Gracchus says:

    Fair enough.

    I just imagine that final panel and think what it would be like if it was two men celebrating while the women suffers… it would give it some extra oomph, and would really drive home the important point that it’s women who suffer when the right is ascendant.

  5. 5
    Mandolin says:

    By the same logic, the leftist should be visibly brown, queer, poor, and disabled. I see no reason to favor gender here.

  6. 6
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Plenty of women on the right celebrate while women suffer too.

    Also, the woman in the comic is not suffering, she’s exhasperated.

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    Gracchus, honestly, there are a lot of comics I “cast” in exactly the way you suggest. Possibly most of my comics.

    But some years ago, it began to feel stale to me that I was ALWAYS doing it that way. Plus it meant that I was drawing white men more than anyone else, since when I draw a strip with only one character in it, like here, it usually makes thematic sense for that strip to be about a white man.

    I didn’t want to just reverse it, since having a woman of color as the villain while white men are the heroes would just feel ridiculous and false, given the political realities. But I have started looking for strips where it feels okay to have both characters be women or both characters be POC, or to mix it up in some way.

    (I also try to be diverse in other ways – including fat characters, including genderqueer characters, etc. But I could be doing better on that front.)

  8. 8
    Gracchus says:

    @Amp: I love those cartoons, thank you for sharing them :-D