When Miss Annes went full NAZI
An editorial cartoon, an animation, and a meditation on the term "Karen"
This cartoon, as seen at Comics Kingdom, is free. But paid subscribers can scroll down below the subscribe and comment buttons to view an animation of the cartoon’s creation.
I never know what’s going to upset a reader. I’ve created cartoons I was sure would tick people off, only to find nothing but positive feedback. I’ve drawn cartoons I felt were 100% apolitical and innocuous, that have sparked days or weeks of venomous backlash, and created the occasional online stalker who spends the next decade or more shit-posting beneath my work everywhere it appears.
I can be pretty sure what parts of my work the members of the extremist, fascist, Hitler-quoting group Moms for Liberty would find offensive (all of it).
When a friend of mine called today’s editorial cartoon “a crowd of Karens,” it reminded me of one such surprisingly-enraging cartoon. In 2021, I drew a Candorville strip in which Karen, one of Susan Garcia’s staffers, came back to work for the first time after the COVID lockdown, after more than a year of working remotely. I thought it was a harmless way to poke fun at the anxiety millions of us shared when the country began opening up again.
One reader didn’t feel it was innocuous at all. She wrote this letter to the editor:
In my own defense, I was unaware that wearing ducky floaties to avoid disease was one of the commonly-used Karen tropes. I felt bad, though, so I wrote another comic strip and published it a few weeks later, as an apology:
My mom’s name happens to be Karen. She’s the hero of my new graphic memoir THE TALK. She’s the one who cautioned me that the world would be different for my brother and myself than it would be for others. She’s the one who fought to win justice for her sons when I was too young to fight my own battles. Maybe it’s time we reclaim the name “Karen,” and instead revive the original version, “Miss Anne.” Right after I call them Ku Klux Karens.
Okay, I’m done.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Political Cartoons & Comic Strips by Darrin Bell to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.