If, as the Toronto Sun’s Andy Donato puts it, the role of a cartoonist is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” then where does #CartoonistsAgainstCovid fit in?
The initiative by the Association of Canadian Cartoonists (ACC) — which can be found at acc.format.com –– finds the group posting COVID-related cartoons from across Canada in one place.
The goal is to remind people they can still laugh in these tough times.
“Nobody was making an effort to collect the work and then put it in one location,” said ACC President Wes Tyrell, who helps puts out a daily COVID cartoon on social media.
“And we felt like since Canada has it’s own particular way of looking at humour, it behooves us to collect all of it in one location.”
Donato, who was in the U.S. when the lockdown first occurred, said coming home to Toronto’s deserted streets and a 14-day isolating period at home made the pandemic all the more real.
“It’s the magnitude of it,” said Donato, 83, who still draws cartoons three days a week for the Sun.
“And pretty scary when you’re my age. They’ve hit 200,000 deaths in the states now. The other side of it is, there’s always funny things you want to do but you’re always a little worried that you’re going to offend somebody.”
Donato said the role of cartoonists remains important even if they are “a dying breed.”
“My favourite is a cartoonist is like a javelin thrower at the Olympics — he doesn’t get a lot of recognition but he always has the crowd’s attention,” he said.
Tyrell, meanwhile, said it’s time “to really lend a helping hand, humour-wise, to Canadians,” as they cope with the pandemic.
“And we take that very seriously,” he added. “It’s not just one and done when we do our cartoon. Ultimately, as an association, it’s imperative that we spread bonhomie. The Canadian version of humour that’s looking a the COVID problem.”