On Speechlessness and Fundamentalism

I was about to proudly announce that my graphic novel Religion: a Discovery in Comics will be published this year by NBM – when the attack on Charlie Hebdo happened and left me speechless.

This might not be the best time to promote a work that puts pictures and religious thought together. Or maybe it is the best of times, now that there’s this enormous graphic surge of cartoons that cry out for freedom of speech.

I don’t know. But here are two pages of my upcoming book that have some bearing on all that is happening.

fundamentalists

Charlie Hebdo: Our thoughts must go to the French cartooning community

I am absolutely in shock over what happened at their offices.

Wolinski and Cabu I can tell you are giants in cartooning and comics history in France. All of these people that died are now

MARTYRS

Martyrs to Free Expression

How can one defend oneself against such senseless attacks? do we shut up, like Sony did on The Interview? To express one’s opinion or to parody something means risking our life?

I remember how the French comics community, among others, immediately e-mailed me on 9/11 expressing their shock and solidarity. I am giving back now, as we all should in our comics community.

France has always been a leader in championing free expression. Much of our ideals come from the French revolution. Charlie Hebdo embodied fearless no holes barred satire, screw the consequences. They had been firebombed in 2011 and obviously showed no submission as a result. That takes real courage. Those Islamic extremists have only accomplished the contrary of what they wanted.

My thoughts are with you, Charlie Hebdo, and France in general.

Charlie Hebdo: may your next issue skewer Islamist extremists to the max.