Cartoon: Why Aren’t You Wearing A Mask?

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I posted this cartoon on patreon a little over a month ago, but it resonates differently now, with President Trump sick with Covid. I don’t want Trump to die, but the phrase “you brought this on yourself” very much applies here.

I generally create “evergreen” cartoons – cartoons that are about ongoing, often underlying issues, rather than about a passing news stories. But sometimes I can’t resist doing a cartoon about current events, and this cartoon is one of those times.

(At least, I really hope the need for people to mask will be a passing thing.)

People refusing to mask really infuriates me,  because it’s not just about them. All of us are in more danger – and all of us are further away from a return to anything approaching normalcy – because of people refusing to take coronavirus seriously.

It’s unbelievable, but every panel of this cartoon is based on things real anti-maskers have said. For instance, a citizen at a public meeting about covid, in Canyon County, Idaho, said that if God wanted us wearing masks we’d have been born with them. (This was reported by Don Day on Twitter.)

That medical authorities – or “the deep state” – is purposely delaying progress on covid until after the election, in order to hurt President Trump’s re-election chances, is believed by many on the far right, including President Trump himself, because Republicans really, really wanted an delusional narcissistic ignoramus to be the most powerful person in the world.

The “Chinese globalist Bill Gates bioweapon attack” idea comes to us from megapopular far-right pundit Alex Jones.

One of these panels, however, is based on a personal encounter. I needed to go the pharmacy, so I took the bus. Portland buses are usually very good – everyone masks (there are free masks available for anyone without), the seats are marked off for social distancing, and there’s a hand sanitizer dispenser by the door. But this time, a man a couple of seats in front of me was yakking on his cell phone, with his mask pulled down around his neck.

I’m very non-confrontational in person, largely because I have a phobia of being punched in the mouth. But this time, as I was exiting the bus, I turned back to the man (we were at least six feet apart) and reminded him that we’re required to wear masks on the bus. He grinned and said “I AM wearing a mask,” pointing to the mask around his neck. He clearly thought this was very clever.

This cartoon is in one of my favorite formats, which I haven’t done in a while – a different character in each panel, all talking directly to the viewer about the cartoon’s theme.  Not having to be consistent from panel to panel, either in character design or in setting, makes these cartoons a lot of fun for me to draw.

I was having trouble drawing the hands in panels four and six, so I took reference photos with my webcam. I tried to imitate the expressions I’d drawn on the characters, but without much success.


This cartoon has six panels. In each panel, a different white person speaks directly to the viewer. In addition, a seventh, small “kicker” panel is underneath the final panel.


Most of this panel is taken up by a large caption. In big, friendly lettering, it says “Why aren’t you wearing a MASK?”

Below the caption, an older-looking man in a polo shirt and wearing a “MAGA” hat holds up his hand dismissively, an angry expression on his face.

MAN: Why bother? Once Biden wins, they’ll announce a “cure” the next day.


A man with a wide grin, wearing a fleece vest over a long-sleeved shirt, has a mask down around his neck, which he is pointing to with one hand.

MAN: I am wearing a mask! Around my neck IS wearing it!

MAN: Ha-HAH! You’re wiggling in the mighty claws of my invincible logic!


A woman with long blonde hair, wearing a shirt with short, puffy sleeves and a red skirt with a pattern of white dots, stands with her arms folded, looking angry. Behind her is a stone wall, with some trees visible above the top of the wall.

WOMAN: Early on scientists said NOT to wear masks. When scientists change their minds because they’ve learned more, that PROVES they can’t be trusted!


A man with very round wide eyes, and a huge wide grin, holds up a forefinger to point at the sky. There are clouds in the background; coming out of one of the clouds is God’s head, drawn as an older Black woman, looking down at him.

MAN: If God wanted us to wear masks, we’d be born wearing masks, right?

GOD: Nope nope that’s totally wrong.


A hand holds a smart phone. On the phone’s screen, a young man in a plaid shirt over a black tee-shirt speaks with a wide mouth, waving his arms in the air.



A balding man, wearing a collared shirt with a necktie and an open vest, speaks angrily, pointing to himself with one of his thumbs.

MAN: A MASK? Do I LOOK like a woman to you?


The “do I look like a woman to you” man, looking a little confused, is speaking to Barry the cartoonist. Barry is wearing a surgical-style mask.

MAN: Toxic mascu-WHAT now?

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12 Responses to Cartoon: Why Aren’t You Wearing A Mask?

  1. 1
    Chris says:

    Excellent. The only change I would have made is having the guy in Panel 4 wearing glasses, for maximum irony. But I love your interpretation of God!

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    D’oh! I wish I’d thought of glasses!

    (And thanks!)

  3. 3
    Görkem says:

    I love how god is a Latinx womyn :-D

  4. 4
    a says:

    Hi Barry,

    I assume you are going to terminate my posts here because I disagree with you, but Trump left the hospital today and will probably not die. So your kind-of-hidden-but-not-really fist pumping at his sickness doesn’t really hit it. Sorry I couldn’t be a follower of your absolute sickeness. Keep the record clean by deleting me.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    I assume you are going to terminate my posts here because I disagree with you, but Trump left the hospital today and will probably not die. So your kind-of-hidden-but-not-really fist pumping at his sickness doesn’t really hit it. Sorry I couldn’t be a follower of your absolute sickeness. Keep the record clean by deleting me.

    Dude, this is your 22nd comment on Alas. I have deleted none of them. And (although I haven’t gone back and checked each one), I think I’ve disagreed with all of them.

    Your own experience disproves the “Amp bans everyone who disagrees with him” theory. If that were true, I’d have banned you about 19 comments ago.

    I don’t know why you’re so desperate to be banned. If you don’t want to be part of the comments here, just stop posting comments. It’s not difficult.

  6. 6
    Petar says:

    For the life of me, I cannot see how this cartoon has anything specific to do with Trump’s getting Covid-19, or how him getting over it makes the cartoon less relevant.

    It’s not if everyone who falls sick gets the care that Trump got. Drugs not everyone gets, and no, not the hydroxychloroquine he was pushing, anti-body rich plasma transfusions in an amount Joe blow can’t dream of, and care that hardly compares to the way some poor people in New Orleans and New York were sent home to die.

    And it is not if those infected by dumbasses will all have outcomes as good as the dumbasses’.

  7. 7
    Regina says:

    Over here, people will also tell you that “everything in Germany is normed, however masks are not. How can I be sure that my mask works?” Which is ridiculous for several reasons: (a) While it was difficult to get “normed” masks for some time in spring and while people were actually asked not to buy the type of single-use “normed” masks used in medical settings because there were too few of them and the ones available were needed for nursing home and hospital staff, this is not the case any longer. (b) Your “not normed” mask might not help or might not help much, then again, not wearing a mask is either equally ineffective or worse. It cannot be better. (c) I can think of a number of other situations when you are asked to wear something that is “not normed”. For example, you will be asked to wear a swimsuit at the public pool – both for hygiene and decency reasons. Swimsuits are not normed and yet no one complains.

    Another ridiculous argument I have heard is that some/many people are unable to properly clean their multiple-use masks, therefore bacteria might accumulate in them and might make them sick. Yet, similar to the swimsuit issue, most people seem to be perfectly able to wash their clothes. Why should the same people not be able to wash their masks at 60 degrees Celsius after each use?

    And of course, there are the people who will tell you that a sizeable part of the population will not be able to breathe properly while wearing a mask…

  8. 8
    Görkem says:

    “I don’t know why you’re so desperate to be banned.”

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    For the life of me, I cannot see how this cartoon has anything specific to do with Trump’s getting Covid-19,

    Me neither.

    This cartoon was completely written and drawn before Trump’s diagnosis. (I post the cartoons on Patreon weeks before I post them in public.)

  10. 10
    Corso says:

    My experience with masking is that it’s very localized, and I think that has a lot to do with the relative success of managing case load; In the community I live in, there was a relatively serious outbreak at a local hog plant (something like 100 cases) and so the locals here are pretty good about masking. last week, I saw a contractor at a local lumberyard, he’d slit his mask so he could smoke with the mask on…. Which tickled me, because it’s probably the least healthy way to do an already unhealthy thing, but he was trying.

    Drive 200ish miles North of that to where my mom lives, and there hasn’t been a confirmed case in the city of Dauphin since the epidemic started. The entire community is like stepping into a time machine back into March. If you ask a local why they aren’t masking, they just don’t see the need. I hope they never do.

    Compare that with basically anywhere in America though, and it’s craziness. I’m not sure whether it’s a population density thing, or a cultural thing, or what, but your rates are exponentially higher than ours, I don’t see how people could look at those rates and not adjust… something.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    Yet another excellent toon, man!

  12. 12
    Görkem says:

    I am sure there are some isolated communities in the USA where the coronavirus hasn’t hit yet. It is a big country and although its population density is higher than Canada’s it is still pretty low by international standards.