This cartoon is a collaboration between Becky Hawkins and I.
Sadly, but I’m sure to the surprise of no one reading this, each of the first three panels refers to a real-life news story in which angry men got violent because they hit on women they didn’t know and got turned down.
Sometimes I stress out about character design when I draw political cartoons. I want to draw hairstyles and clothes that look current enough, but that won’t look super dated right away. Every once in awhile, my Twitter feed makes fun of cartoonists who draw everyone in fashion that was trendy when they were in high school (aka a couple of decades off). For this character’s hair, I did my trick of “open Facebook and draw the first hairstyle I see.”
In panel one, Barry’s script said she was folding laundry, but didn’t say anything about the setting. At first I was going to set it in a basement laundry area, like the one I’d done laundry in earlier that day. Then I thought about drawing a newer washer/dryer unit squeezed into an apartment hallway or closet. But I think that a laundromat fits better with the public spaces in panels 2-3. Also, I have irritating memories of the TV blaring in the laundromat near the Brooklyn apartment I once lived in. Having the words in panel 1 come from the TV also illustrates that this woman isn’t choosing to consume “true crime” stories 24/7, as you might assume if all the stories came from personal headphones and speakers. I’ve drawn a laundromat before in this cartoon, so I made sure the woman’s pose and the camera angle were different.
I was patting myself on the back for bringing my rich personal experience to the New York scenes, until Barry gave this feedback:
Barry: I think it would be a good idea if there was a suggestion of dirtiness or grit or something on the floor in panel 1. Or shadows being cast. Right now it looks a little like a blank field.
Becky: Crap! I forgot to make NY gritty!
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Every panel focuses on the same central character, a red-haired woman with her hair in a bob, but each panel shows a different scene.
The woman is in a public laundromat, picking up something out of one of the rolling baskets they have. She’s wearing dark gray leggings and a long blue shirt. We can see rows of washing machines or driers with round windowed doors on the front, and a table with some folded laundry on it. There’s a TV on the wall, showing a reporter speaking. The woman is looking at the TV with mild alarm – she has a “!” floating over her head.
TV: …shot by a co-worker after she repeatedly turned him down…
The woman is now sitting near the corner seat of a New York City subway car. A man is standing near to her, leaning forward to peer at a subway map on the wall. The woman is wearing some nice-looking brown boots, jeans, and a brown leather jacket. She’s leaning away from the map-reader a bit. She’s balancing her backpack on her lap with one hand, and holding up her phone to read it in her other hand.
PHONE: …when the woman ignored his advances, police say he dragged her off the subway and…
The woman is walking along a city sidewalk. It looks like NYC again – we can see, across the street, fire exits over a sushi restaurant. A bike delivery person pedals by, wearing a big blocky backpack that says “SNAX” on it. Across the street, a man in a white tee shirt is turning and calling something; he’s smiling.
The woman doesn’t seem to hear him. She’s wide-eyed now, listening to her phone through earbuds. She’s wearing jeans, brown high-top sneakers, and a red plaid shirt.
PHONE: …five year old boy was thrown off a third floor balcony at Mall of America. The man was angry because multiple women at the mall had turned him down…
The woman now appears to be at home, in her kitchen; she’s sitting at a table, leaning on one hand and looking attentive but also tired. She’s wearing a blue tee shirt. On the other side of the table, a blonde man with a full beard – probably a husband or boyfriend – is grinning as he waves a hand dismissively.
MAN: If someone hits on you, just tell him “no.” What’s so frightening?