See You In The Funny Papers

by Janice Christensen

Starting Sept. 18, 2005 the New York Times Magazine introduced a 10-page “Funny Pages” section.

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons depicting Muhammad last September, I remember thinking, “Are cartoons going to start World War III?”

Closer to home, from April 29 through August 13, the Milwaukee Art Museum hosted Masters of American Comics, referred to as “the first art museum exhibition to examine comic strips and books on this expansive scale.”

In June, Currents, Inc. launched Undercurrents, its new twice-monthly calendar, arts and entertainment publication. Each issue features a page of comics, plus the Currents still offers its monthly page of color comics. In all, twelve cartoonists are featured every month, including a panel by Bill Sanders. Some of you will remember him as the veteran Journal-Sentinal political cartoonist who skewered public officials for decades.

Since the beginning of this year, the Riverwest Currents has run three “sequencial art” features, including this month’s piece on the very important developments in Garden Park.

So, what’s with all the cartoons?

For us, it’s not funny business. It’s serious business.

We think people pay attention to cartoons in a different way than they do to print articles.

We hope a combination of words and visuals can help make complicated issues interesting and understandable.

And we want to add a little fun to our lives. Right now, we could all use some of that.

So I hope you enjoy our offering this month. We’d like to do more like it. I think cartoons just might be the perfect medium to chronicle the strange history of the Riverwest neighborhood.

So maybe sooner than you think, we’ll be seeing YOU in the funny papers!

Riverwest Currents online edition – August, 2006