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Comics A.M. | Pepe the Frog Designated a ‘Hate Symbol’

by  in Comic News Comment
Comics A.M. | Pepe the Frog Designated a ‘Hate Symbol’

Comics | The Anti-Defamation League has officially designated the cartoon character Pepe the Frog as a hate symbol, alongside the swastika and the (((echo))) symbol. Cartoonist Matt Furie created Pepe for his comic strip “Boys Club,” which featured a quartet of anthropomorphized twentysomething animals. Memes featuring the cartoon frog became popular on internet message boards such as 4chan and Reddit and then spread to larger social media platforms. However, a self-described white supremacist told The Daily Beast that 4chan users deliberately conflated the frog with Nazi symbols in order to “reclaim Pepe from normies.” “We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” he said. The next step was to link it to Donald Trump, and from there, it became a tool for baiting and harassing journalists and others. Nonetheless, as the ADL says in its database, “the majority of uses of Pepe the Frog have been, and continue to be, non-bigoted.” [NPR]

Editorial cartoons | The publisher of the Southern Illinoisian newspaper has apologized for running a syndicated cartoon by Chris Britt showing police pointing their guns at a bloody black man lying on the ground; one of the officers is saying “His hands weren’t high enough,” while another has a fist raised in a salute. Local police officers, including one who was recently shot in the line of duty, reacted strongly to the cartoon on social media. Southern Illinoisian publisher Craig Rogers posted a statement saying he regretted choosing that cartoon, adding, “The syndicated cartoon was offensive to law enforcement and those of us who support law enforcement. Though we respect diverse opinions, we do not believe this was in good taste, nor constructive for dialog at the national or local level.” He also said “Though editorial cartoons are rooted in satire to provoke thought, the selection of this cartoon was not vetted through our usual editorial process. We have implemented measures to prevent this in the future.” [WPSD]

Creators | Michael Cavna interviews the Iranian cartoonist who goes by the pen name Eaten Fish. Cartoonist Rights Network International in awarded Eaten Fish its 2016 Courage in Cartooning Award for his depictions of his life in an Australian detention center in Papua New Guinea. The cartoonist, an Iranian refugee, has been held in the camp for three years, during which time he says he has been abused and denied medical care. [Comic Riffs]

Creators | German creator Line Hoven uses a scratchboard technique to create her comics. Her first graphic novel, “Love Looks Away,” is a collection of stories about her family, including her parents, who married despite their families’ disapproval, and her grandfather, who built his own radio but could not listen to foreign broadcasts because he was a member of the Hitler Youth. Hoven was interviewed in India, where she is visiting as part of the Goethe-Institut’s Long Night of Literature in New Delhi. [The Hindu]

Graphic novels | Psychiatrist Philippe Brenot, director of sexology at Paris Descartes University, discusses his graphic novel “The Story of Sex,” illustrated by Laetitia Coryn. The book was published in France earlier this year, and an English version will be published in October in the United Kingdom. “We were all surprised by the way in which ‘The Story of Sex’ was received in France,” Brenot said. “Laetitia and I worked every day for a year on a long history of humanity and sexuality. We had no idea of the importance of the volume which we were in the middle of writing … [But] it was reprinted before its release … and reprinted a month later.” [The Guardian]

Graphic novels | With not one but two graphic novelists receiving MacArthur genius grants this year, Rob Salkowitz declares the culture wars over — and comics, he says, have won. [ICv2]

Retailing | While they don’t get talked about much in the comics blogosphere, Scholastic book fairs are a huge outlet for graphic novels. Heidi MacDonald posts some photos of one of the fairs with annotations about the graphic novels on display. [The Beat]

Exhibits | A Paris exhibit of the work of Tintin creator Herge does not shy from the creator’s “dark side,” including his work for a newspaper that collaborated with Nazi occupation of Belgium and his frustration at being known as a cartoonist rather than a fine artist. [The National]

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