NEW YORK — Fans of newspaper comics will instantly notice something missing in many comic books this Friday — pants.
More than 25 cartoonists behind comics ranging from “Blondie” to “Zippy the Pinhead” are celebrating the quirky No Pants Day holiday in a way that helps charities get clothes to those in need.
Participating artists draw their characters without pants and urge readers to donate clothes to thrift stores and thrift stores hit hard by COVID-19.
“It was a great way to help bring communities together, but also to have a little laugh,” said Tea Fougner, comics editor at King Features Syndicate. “Just the idea of no pants day, I think, is something that everyone can feel a little closer to this year than in previous years.”
No Pants Day, held on the first Friday in May, was reportedly started by a group of University of Texas students who thought leaving the pants at home on the first Friday in May would be a fun way to complete the semester. . A winter spin-off was created called No Pants Subway Ride.
Comic creators have noticed that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s ability to source clothes and charities have not received as many donations as usual.
In a gracious move among comic book distributors, King Features reached out to fellow syndicators Tribune Content Agency, Andrews McMeel Universal and Washington Post Writers Group to organize Friday’s event.
“We may be business competitors, but we’re all part of the same family,” Fougner said. “We all love comics and we love our communities. And, at the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about. So we want as many cartoonists as possible to participate in initiatives like this. »
Artists were contacted in February about the project, and completed comics began arriving in March. In some cases, the artists needed a quick brainstorming session to come up with ways to address the request.
Not Bill Griffith, the artist behind “Zippy the Pinhead.” “He emailed me right back and he said, ‘Well, not wearing pants is Zippy’s thing,'” Fougner said.
Organizers have left it up to individual cartoonists – some other participating bands include ‘Shoe’, ‘Arctic Circle’, ‘Hi and Lois’, ‘Rhymes with Orange’, ‘Mallard Fillmore’ and ‘Sally Forth’ – how to incorporate the message . Bands range from medieval knights to modern office workers, all sporting underwear.
“You’ll see a variety of cartoonists who have taken a very direct approach where their characters in the comic donate clothes to people,” Fougner said. “And some people just depicted the characters wearing no pants or put a happy little No Pants Day message in the comic.”
Olive Brinker’s ‘Rae the Doe’ has a character who donates clothes to an LGBT center while ‘Dennis the Menace’ urges readers, ‘Donate to a charity that helps people who need clothes, like Room to Grow.”
The event is the comics community’s latest attempt to help society. Last year, more than 70 comic strips and signs banded together to hide six symbols in the artwork to honor workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
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