Cartoon critics Phil Witte and Rex Hesner look behind the gags to debate what makes a cartoon tick. This week our intrepid critics take a look at covid vaccines.
They’re coming, they’re coming! No, not redcoats or Russians—vaccines, and not a moment too soon. Many Americans have already rolled up their sleeves to do their part to stem the pandemic. Others are waiting patiently or impatiently for their shot. Still, others resist vaccination, demanding their right to infect themselves and others.
In a salute to the brilliant medical researchers who developed the various vaccines, Ali Solomon offers a cartoon that shows them at work before the big breakthrough … or perhaps on the cusp of a breakthrough on a different front. Today, a cure for ED—tomorrow a treatment for baldness and a pill that melts away fat while you sleep. Science marches on.
Creating the vaccines was step one. Distributing them was step two through picking a number. With demand high and supply scarce, people reset their priorities. Kim Warp spoke for many young lovers last Valentine’s Day with this cartoon.
With people desperate to get immunized, it’s easy to imagine a black market in dubious vaccines springing up. The guy who peddled fake Rolex watches apparently saw an opportunity to diversify his product line in this cartoon by Phil Witte, co-writer of this blog.
Unless you’ve scored a Johnson & Johnson shot, you’ll need a second shot for maximum protection. Those who have been lucky enough to get their first dose make damn sure they keep their appointment for their second dose, come hell or high water—or at least high water, if Peter Kuper’s cartoon is accurate.
We’ve learned that the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at a very low temperature. In this cartoon by Ron Hauge, we get a peek inside the freezer to see what else might be stored in there. If Carl is one of the weary pharmacists or other injection site workers, he deserves a shot of a different sort, preferably not during his lunch break.
Of course, getting a shot at the doctor’s office was a common cartoon setup long before Covid-19. In this early Harry Bliss cartoon, the pediatrician feels no obligation to mince words. The darkness of this cartoon, in terms of both style and subject, suggests the work of Charles Addams. That Pikachu poster adds a bizarrely whimsical touch to this sinister scene.
Zach Kanin, whose humor celebrates the absurd, offers a different scenario involving kids and vaccinations. The doc inflicts emotional, not physical, pain with his needles. You might think the kids would wise up after a few pops, but not in Kanin’s world.
The anti-vaxxers are an oddball collection of conspiracy theorists, anti-science adherents, and inconsiderate egoists. Hermits get a pass, but anyone who endangers the lives of others, especially their own children, deserves to be the subject of cartoons like this one by British cartoonist Neil Bennett.
Paul Fell offered still more pointed criticism of the anti-vaccine movement in this cartoon. In 2019, when he created it, the public health concern was measles. One can almost feel nostalgic for those days.
How to bring the vaccine-averse into the fold? Trevor Spaulding offers a unique approach. While this cartoon dealt with flu shots, the concept applies to Covid vaccines. People have used the “I-know-a-guy” strategy to obtain scarce products for generations. To that pharmacist, we say, “Well played.”