Comic strip artists plan 9/11 tribute

Syndicated comic strips including Doonesbury, Zits and The Family Circus are banding together to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Syndicated comic strips are banding together to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. ((The Associated Press))

Syndicated comic strips including Doonesbury, Zits, and The Family Circus are banding together to mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The major comic syndicates have rallied their cartoonists to dedicate their strips on Sept. 11 to "pay homage to that dark day in American history." Examples include Blondie and Dagwood saluting the American flag, and Spider-Man stopping to praise a firefighter.

All of the nearly 100 participating comic strips, many of which appear in colour in Sunday newspapers, will feature a remembrance theme. They will also be hosted in an online gallery.

"We value the opportunity for the artists to use the comics platform to make a powerful, cohesive statement. It’s important that no one forget what happened on that day in history," Brendan Burford, comics editor at King Features Syndicate, said in a release.

The other syndicates joining King are Creators Syndicate, Tribune Media Services, Universal Press Syndicate and Washington Post Writers Group. These groups feature some of the most popular cartoonists, whose comics are featured in the world’s most influential newspapers and websites.

Jim Borgman, the co-creator of Zits with Jerry Scott, about a permanent teenager and his parents, called the upcoming anniversary something that could not be ignored.

"As a cartoonist we would have all been wondering 'Is it OK to deal with this topic in our work?' Of course you can, but there is something comforting about the thought that a bunch of us are going to be struggling to say something on that day," he said.

"My colleagues — cartoonists —are an astonishingly varied and talented group of people. I fully expect we'll see a broad range of approaches that day."

In addition to the newspaper tribute, King Features has partnered with several museums to host special exhibits featuring the cartoonists’ commemorative works.

Tony Rubino, who writes Daddy's Home, said that the cartoonists' efforts are bound to be noticed, even among the din of anniversary coverage and programming.

"The comics are different. I think it's a chance for people to see a perspective on this anniversary that they wouldn't see otherwise," he said. "They're going to get a million television programs, but this is a unique way of looking at it."

(With files from The Associated Press)