If the pen is mightier than the sword, what is the power — then — of a hundred pens?
Many of the world’s cartoonists are determined to find out.
Last week, Comic Riffs put out an open call to cartoonists: Now is the time for the brethren of the drawing board to pick up their pens and paintbrushes and digital pads in support of Ali Ferzat . This came after Ferzat, Syria’s popular political cartoonist, was adbucted and viciously beaten after criticizing the brutal regime of al-Assad; the photo of Ferzat in bed, his battered hands raised, quickly became as much of a visual lightning rod as a cartoon by Ferzat himself.
In response, Comic Riffs soon heard from many cartoonists, including Politico’s Matt Wuerker — who also represents the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists — and Bill Day of Cagle Cartoons. We also spoke with cartoonist Matt Bors , who helps run the excellent comics-journalism site Cartoon Movement.
Within the comics community, you could sense the groundswell. Commentators the globe over helped beat the drum of outrage, and the U.S. State Department even pointedly condemned the attack. But it was from among cartoonists that eventually sprung the rallying cry: “We Are All Ferzat.”
And from that groundswell, we now have “1000 Ferzats.”
Over the weekend, Comic Riffs began linking to some art within the steady stream of cartoons. Today, we offer a gallery to spotlight eight of the most eye-catching artworks:
1. NEXT MEDIA ANIMATION:
The Taiwan-based animation house is, essentially, responding to the cartoonist responders themselves. Featured in this video are some of the actual pro-Ferzat cartoons, including those by the aforementioned Wuerker and Day.
2. MATT WUERKER:
(MATT WUERKER – Politico) Politico’s Pulitzer-Prize finalist was among the first-responders who devoted his deft ink and watercolors to the Ferzat cause.
3. BILL DAY:
(BILL DAY – Cagle Cartoons) Day contacted Comic Riffs last Saturday to expressly answer the open call. Since then, his pointed cartoon has deservedly received wide exposure.
4. SHERIF ARAFA:
(SHERIF ARAFA – Alittihad newspaper) Comic Riffs interviewed the talented Egyptian cartoonist during the Arab Spring, and he continues to be a pen to be reckoned with from his political hot-spot. On the Cartoon Movement comment thread, Arafa wrote: “Ferzat inspired me when I was a child, I owe him a lot.”
5. NATE BEELER:
(NATE BEELER – Washington Examiner) The Washington Examiner’s gifted cartoonist offers this powerfully rendered work of art.
6. TJEERD ROYAARDS:
(TJEERD ROYAARDS – Netherlands / Cartoon Movement) The Amsterdam cartoonist wrote on the Cartoon Movement comment thread: “I actually Googled for cartoons first because I was afraid someone had already thought of this idea…” No, Mr. Royaards — you’re the first we’ve seen to spin the pen/weapon metaphor with such satiric firepower.
7. GIACOMO CARDELLI:
(GIACOMO CARDELLI – Italy / Cartoon Movement) The talented Italian writes: “The fall of Bashar al-Asad is only a matter of time (and human lives ).”
8. RICK MCKEE:
(RICK MCKEE – Augusta Chronicle) Through his own line, the Augusta Chronicle cartoonist captures the power of a hundred pens. “We Are All Ferzat,” indeed.