We’re living in turbulent times politically and although we may feel that our love of comics is a way to escape the harsh realities of real life, they can also be a fantastic medium for exploring the issues of the world around us. A great example of how comics can be politicised for good is the newly launched Draw the Line, a lively, visual guide to positive political action that anyone can take that has been compiled by more than 100 comics artists and illustrators from around the world, including big names like Dave McKean, Steven Appleby and Woodrow Phoenix.
A reaction to dramatic social, environmental and political changes in the USA, Europe and across the world, the Draw the Line project offers more than 100 comics illustrating different ways that active citizens can help to change their community, politics and the world.
Draw the Line is the brainchild of comics artist and activist Myfanwy Tristram, who has brought together a cast of international artists, including veteran and award-winning artists like Dave McKean (Sandman, Coraline), Steven Appleby (Normal Life, Loomus), Karrie Fransman (The House that Groaned), Lucy Knisley (Relish, Displacement), James Harvey (Masterplasty, Bartkira) and Woodrow Phoenix (Nelson, Rumble Strip).
“Like many people, I found the political upheavals of 2016 pretty scary, and I was looking for positive ways to push back.”, said Tristram.
“When things are looking bleak, it can be hard for people to picture a better world. That’s where comics artists can come to the rescue, showing people how they can make that change happen.”
Taking inspiration and advice from social, political and environmental movements like Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March and Standing Rock, Draw the Line compiled more than 100 positive political acts. These range from the traditional to the cutting-edge, and the gentle to the radical, but they all share a desire to change the world for the better.
In one image, two women furtively sew labels into clothes in a high street shop, reading “Made in Sweatshop Conditions”. In another comic, a literal gorilla brightens up his beleaguered street with acts of “guerilla gardening”. An absurd tabloid cover blares “Six out of ten migrants are secretly squirrels”, highlighting the need to question “fake news” and check sources.
Comics artist Karrie Fransman said, “Draw the Line is an uplifting demonstration of what a hundred talented comic artists and activists can accomplish with blood, sweat, ink and a belief in justice and equality. We hope these actions will inspire thousands more.”
Renowned cartoonist Steven Appleby said, “Drawings and words together give ideas greater power than either alone. Maybe if humans came together, too, we would all be stronger and happier.”