Not Forgetting

By Jeremy Meltingtallow

Bizarro is brought to you today by September 11th.

If you’ve looked at today’s comics online or in the paper, you will have noticed that a large number of them are commemorating the 9/11/01 attack on NYC. Months ago, all of us in the industry were asked to do something in today’s comic for the anniversary. I suspect most cartoonists complied, though I’ve only seen a handful of them so I can’t be sure.

I decided to decline for reasons I’m not completely certain of, to be honest. Somehow, it just didn’t feel right to me. I suppose I want Bizarro to be about humor as opposed to predictable, scheduled sentimentality. I don’t mean to diminish the suffering the event caused, of course, but I couldn’t very well make a “joke” about it (it just isn’t funny) and a somber, “never forget” cartoon seems hollow to me.

Another aspect of it, I think, is that I’m not affected by sentimentalist patriotism in general. I usually find that kind of obvious display a little insulting, to be honest. Of course it was horrible, of course our country will not forget, of course our hearts go out to the many thousands of people who lost someone they knew that day. It seems trivial to have a cartoon character announcing that. I think of Bizarro as being like a miniature comedy show. If I had something funny to say about 9/11, I’d have done it just as I would in a comedy show. But for people to come to a comedy club to see a stand-up comic make a patriotic speech commemorating a tragedy then walk off stage, would be ridiculous.

I live in NYC and have since spring 2002––just six months after the attack––so I’ve seen a lot of the effects of this tragedy first hand. My wife was less than a mile away from “Ground Zero” when it happened, knew several of the victims, and has shared with me her memories of that day and the weeks that followed many times. I do not disparage my colleagues who participated in today’s comics commemoration; we each have our own views and act accordingly. But something about the concept made me uncomfortable from the beginning. This post has been my first attempt at trying to articulate why I didn’t participate. Thanks for listening. If you have thoughts about today that you’d like to share, your comments are welcome.

By the way––hope you got a smile from the anthropomorphic tooth gag.