Today we are two years old. Although our second year was probably not as eventful as our first (Arab Spring, Occupy, a trip to Haiti – read about all we did in 2011 here), we did some pretty cool stuff. It was also a difficult year for us. Cartoon Movement launched in a period when funding was readily available for innovative ideas in the Netherlands (our base of operations), but the crisis in the eurozone and austerity measures have had a severe impact on our financial base and outlook. One of our aims when we started with the platform was to become financially independent as soon as possible. Economic developments have forced us to redouble our efforts to reach this goal, and although the future remains uncertain, we are busy with numerous cartoon-projects that will allow us to keep Cartoon Movement up and running for the foreseeable future.
2012 started with Haiti week, showcasing Haitian cartoons and Haitian comics journalism about life in the tent camps, two years after the earth quake. Also very impressive was the video (featuring animation) about homophobia in Haiti. After Haiti week, we opened an exhibition at the London School of Economics, showing a series of cartoons we produced to illustrate their research project on justice and security in post-conflict areas.
Haiti's Scapegoats by Caroline Bins
In February we published the first chapter of the impressive 100-page non-fiction graphic novel Army of God, that explores the history of the Lord's Resistance Army. All eight chapters were published throughout the year. Army of God wasn't the only impressive comic to be published this year. One noticable development is that more and more comic artists take advantage of publishing online by including photos, videos and audio files in the comic. See some great examples here and here. The subjects ranged from undocumented immgrants in the US to the London Olympics. On of the highlights of the year was Tibet's Sacrifice: Exiled Lives by Dan Carino, which caused Cartoon Movement to be censored in China.
And of course we also published some great cartoons. Our community has expanded to over 200 professional cartoonists, and they have contributed to some amazing projects in the past year. These projects often focus on broader themes such as peace, freedom and poverty, but also more specific subjects like the elections in Mexico. New this year is that we're using social media to crowdsource topics for cartoons. Your Peace Retweeted pioneered this new approach, and our new project 360 Degrees is centered around a weekly Twitter debate on a certain theme, inspiring cartoonists to visualize the different perspectives.
We are more than thankful for all the support we have received from artists and from our audience, and we're committed to being around for a long time to come. In 2013, we hope to expand our community further, both artists and audience. We might venture into the field of animation, because lots of people have been nagging us about it (and it seems a logical thing to include on the website). We hope we can count on your continued support. If you want to help our effort, consider buying a t-shirt; and if you work at or know an organization or publication that would benefit from a cartoon or comic project, send us an email. We'll gladly discuss the possibilities.
Tjeerd Royaards - Editor-in-Chief, Cartoon Movement