A website now exists that is long, long overdue: CartoonMovement.com, a site solely for journalism-webcomics & webcartoons. (With an accompanying Twitter account! @cartoonmovement) The concept of journalism in the form of comics-- pioneered largely by the intrepid Joe Sacco (the comicsmith behind the brilliant and achingly painful "Palestine")-- has finally gone digital and there is fine work being done over there.
For example? The recent post entitled "BOOM!" written by David Axe (@daxe) and drawn by Ryan Alexander-Tanner (@ohyesverynice). A story about a single explosion on a lonely road in Afghanistan. Axe has done a marvelous job of reportage in recounting what it felt like to be isolated with only a few soldiers on a desert road and of the painful alienating effects drifting into his civilian life from the minor brain damage received as a parting gift from the incident. Alexander-Tanner's cartoony style is awkward at times but he translates Axe's experience into his rounded-black-lines-on-white world with grace.
The storytelling is focused and small when it needs to be small and encompasing and large when it needs to be large:
And effectively so.
The two tiny plates of metal colliding to create the circuit that sends the electricity to the cocktail that ignites and explodes. Action. Reaction. Panel 1. Panel 2.
The storytelling on the next page, in which we experience the explosion a second time, from within the armored vehicle-- and within the outlines of the "BOOM" sound effect-- is masterful. Not only dominating the page, but the six characters present in the main cabin of the vehicle, and the piece as a whole.
We must choose to care about these things, we must put our eyes on the situations unfolding from the choices of the few as they effect the many, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant the effect to one individual's quality of life. Comics like this one help me to do that better.
All of which leads me to the thought: Yes, this is good. Yes, this is important.
You should read it.