I take the comics way too seriously. I was very pleasantly surprised yesterday when I read through what each artist had put together for the tenth anniversary of 9-11. With very little exception, the terrorist attacks that occurred ten years ago were commemorated in some way by the comics. There were many that were very touching, some were quite sobering, and a few just made you think for a couple of minutes. I wanted to take just a bit of time to recognize a couple of those comic strips.
It was amazing to me how uniform almost all the artists were in covering this. You wonder how a strip like BC, set in “caveman days”, The Wizard of Id, Hagar the Horrible (set in Norway), or even Spider-Man could cover this all-encompassing theme that we all experienced. Yet they did it. Spider-Man comic strip had the webslinger swinging over Ground Zero at the time of the commencement of a memorial service. In BC, Wiley the one legged poet writes an appropriate piece of poetry. Hagar the Horrible’s son, Hamlet, asks him what a hero is. He responds with the characteristics of being loyal, brave, and putting others first. Even Brewster Rockit, in outer space, views two towers extending up into space from planet earth.
So many strips touched me that it’s hard to pick out winners, but that’s what I do with the comics on occasions like this. So I want to recognize three. The most Christian that I read was Heaven’s Love Thrift Shop. They are in a church service reciting the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. Mutts was very thought provoking, but quite simple. With the New York skyline in the background, Earl the dog is being walked by his owner. Earl turns around and says “Heal” to his master. But the one that really captured how I think we all feel is Curtis. Ray Billingsley draws one of the best strips out there. His eye for detail is top notch. The character interaction is always great. But to make his strip work for 9-11, he has to create an anachronism. Greg (the dad) is explaining to Barry and Curtis what exactly happened on that day and how it impacted the lives of all the citizens of the United States. Greg tells Curtis that he was only one year old at the time, which gives us the age of 11 for Curtis. The anachronism comes because Curtis is an unaging character in a strip that has been running since 1988. It doesn’t matter though. The effect that Greg’s story has on Curtis and Barry (and us) is so moving that we can overlook this easily. The last panel shows the family sitting together looking somewhat somberly at the television programming which is dedicated to remembering what occurred. Great job Ray Billingsley! You really captured it.
I wonder when the next time we will see the artists united again like this. The last time it happened was even more unanimous, and that was on the day they all paid tribute to Charles Schultz. To see our country united in such a way, it helps me to see the blessing in tragedy. And yes, I remember the day it happened exactly. But that would be another post for another time.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman