PANDEMIX: Cartoonists respond to Covid-19

A benefit for The Hero Initiative

PandemixAs the press release says, “At a time when many in the comics industry were told to put their pencils down, a group of diverse cartoonists have raised theirs to tell timely, personal stories in a new benefit anthology, PANDEMIX: Quarantine Comics in the Age of ‘Rona. The 56-page full-color digital anthology will become available July 21 at for $5. All proceeds go to The Hero Initiative, which aids comics creators in need.”

As one would expect, it’s an eclectic mix of styles and foci by a group of creators, most of whom live in New York. The first story is particularly compelling if you watched the news about New York City in April, or some southern cities right now. Josh Newfield tells about a hospital worker trying to find Personal Protective Equipment for hospital staff and to figure out what to do about the dead. The protagonist, who is Josh’s brother Jake, eschews the label of “Supply Chain Superhero.”

Marguerite Dabaie decides that “It’ll Be Alright” during her lockdown in Brooklyn, even in those moments when it’s not. Peter Rostovsky’s “The Storm” suggests we’ve seen this movie before, and we’ll get through this film as well. Joan Reilly appreciates her “New Normal.” N. Steven Harris’ “‘Rona Routine” is among the most visually pleasing and namechecks the George Floyd protesters.

“Skin Hunger” by Kristen Radtke had been in the New York Times back in March. I surely relate to missing touch. Whitney Matheson spends a page celebrating “My Pandemic Boyfriends”, such as Stuart the Soap. Morgan Pielli’s “Protection” is an effective, wordless paean to the possibility of love.

Curated by Dean Haspiel

Dave Proch’s “Plague Fashion” page segues into “Plague Journal”, six days in April and May that Jen Ferguson creates in somewhat different styles; I found it compelling. Yes, J.J. Colagrande and George O’Connor, it is “Why We Are All Doomed.”

Ellen Lindner had me wondering if I ought to take things “One (COVID) Day at a Time,” as they (sort of) say in Alcoholics Anonymous. I’d hate to think that “Iterations of the Apocalypse” by Jeffrey Burandt and C. Cassano is all there is.

“Currency of the Community” by Dean Haspiel I was genuinely touched by, probably more than any other story aside from the first one. Incidentally, Haspiel, an Emmy- and Ringo Award-winning cartoonist, edited the collection with Whitney Matheson. Finally, Owen Brozman has a wordless “Quarantine Age Dream” we can hope for. The anthology features cover art by Peter Rostovsky and a Star Wars-inspired back cover by Mike Cavallaro.

As noted, all proceeds from PANDEMIX – five bucks! or more if you’d like – go to The Hero Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that helps comic book creators with emergency medical aid and/or essential financial support. “PANDEMIX will be promoted via Twitter (@pandemixcomix), Instagram (@pandemixcomix), and The Hero Initiative.”

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