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Graphic Journalism by Dan Archer

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Honduran Coup

RTV Interview

Last night I was interviewed about my work, graphic journalism, human trafficking as well as the Graphic History of the Honduran Coup (blast from the past, back from 2009) on RTV’s “Breaking the Set”. You can watch the segment here. I’m on at 14:45 mins.

The Honduran Coup: one year on

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the back story to the coup in Honduras that happened a year ago today, here’s a short and sweet video synopsis for you. The music is “Innocence” by “Working for a Nuclear Free City” off their “Businessmen and Ghosts” album.

Please digg/tweet/FB/fwd the link on and here’s to the ongoing struggle for justice that rages on in the face of continued repression.

More hardhats

For more information about this story, or to read from the beginning, visit the Hardhats page. New visitors to the site, become an Archcomix fan here, or order your hard copy of the Honduran coup comic using the button the sidebar. News below.

Latin American Solidarity meeting in Seattle, Honduran comic in the Danish Press and more Japanese pages up

For those of you in the Seattle, Washington area tomorrow, be sure to check out the NW Latin American Solidarity Organization conference, where the first copies of the Honduran Comic will be making their technicolour debuts. The rest of you will be pleased to know that copies have left the printers so should be with you in roughly two weeks. Another first is in order on Tuesday when the comic will appear both in print and online for Denmark’s The Daily Worker. Staying on the translated tip, more pages of the japanese translation can now be found at the bottom of the Honduras page.

Honduran coup comic in spanish and japanese, a Palestinian cartoon and Google’s living stories

I’ve finally come good on my promise to translate the rest of the Honduran coup comic into spanish, which the polyglots amongst you can read here. Feel free to send me any corrections, suggestions or translation errors that may have slipped past my iron-clad grammatical grasp. I’ve also added a Honduran comic thread to the discussion forum on the Archcomix page, so click here and get posting on it. The other big news is that Ryuhei Okada of the Caracas Cafe blog has offered to translate the Honduran coup comic and Right to Return into japanese, so big thanks to him.

Lately I’ve been looking into how animators around the world have been combining narratives with a journalistic message to give a different perspective on news issues and show us what life is like in typically inaccessible parts of the world. One striking example is Fatenah (left) from Palestine, telling the story of a young girl of the same name who’s grown up in the Gaza strip.

Speaking of bringing stories to life, I also recently came across Google’s living stories, part of an online experiment that houses all the contextual information to a specific news story in the same template, similar to a google wave document in a lot of ways. Granted, it still suffers from the same scroll down beyond the break ad infinitum of standard online news sources, but it’s certainly a start. Let me know what you think in the comments section. More cartoons and sequential journalism later on tomorrow.

Oscar Romero, Jon Stewart and the School of the Americas

UPDATE: Scroll down if you haven’t read today’s post for the backstory on Oscar Romero’s assassination, 30 years ago today. For those of you that have, check out this video from the Daily Show’s recent segment on the Texas board of education members who are essentially in charge of dictating the national curriculum, given that their state orders the most copies of school textbooks. The worrying part involving Oscar Romero begins at 2:50, and shows Patrica Hardy from the Texas State Board of Education arguing that Romero should be omitted from text books…because no one knows who he is.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of Salvadorean Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered by paramilitary troops at the altar as he celebrated mass, and commemorated in the above snippet from my comic that featured in the latest issue of Presente! To read the comic, click back to the Archcomix archive here, or order your copy of the Honduran Coup: A graphic history using the button on the right sidebar. Here’s the report from the BBC.

Many have linked Romero’s murder to the work of Roberto D’Aubuisson, far-rightist national guardsman who is alleged to have led deathsquads during El Salvador’s bloody civil war, apparently earning him the nickname ‘blowtorch bob’. Here’s his obituary from the NYTimes, which quotes former Salvadorean President Cristiani as labelling D’Aubuisson, “a fighter to open political spaces and look for a democratic path in the country”. Is ‘opening political spaces’ a diplomatic term for “leading a deathsquad”? Use your readerly judgement. Either way, it’s better than “a pathological killer”, which was US Ambassador Robert E. White’s epithet for him. One thing that is undeniable is D’Aubuisson’s links to the School of the Americas (now WHINSEC), placing him in the company of a veritable who’s-who of Latin American military top brass who had a similarly proactive attitude towards “opening political spaces”. Visit the School of the Americas Watch to find out more and get involved.

Below is footage from multiple witnesses of the shooting, eerily chronicling the turn of events from both the shooters’ and the congregation’s perspectives. Thanks to Tim’s ElSalvador Blog for the video.

Honduran Comic Cover: The premiere

Voila, the cover to the Honduran Coup comic, destined for the printers later this month. News, non-lethal weapons and Hillary Clinton in Honduras below.

Cover poll still open, SOA comic in print, and Chile

In case you missed it, voting is still open for your favourite cover design of the four that I posted on Friday – scroll down to view them, then leave a comment or vote using this here link.

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The School of the Americas comic is now in print as the full-colour centrefold (now then) of the latest issue of Presente!, the School of the Americas Watch newsletter. Here it is in all its tactile glory on my desk. Order your free copy and find out more about the SOAW here.

And in case you’ve had your head in the sand the last few days, or are an ardent global warming naysayer (not that there’s much of a difference, admittedly), spare a thought for the poor souls in Chile, who are reeling from one of the strongest earthquakes in recorded history that has destroyed 1.5 million homes and left 700 dead, with the toll expected to rise. It turns out that the strongest ever earthquake (a massive 9.5 on the Richter scale) also hit Chile, some 50 years ago, making it the go-to place for seismologists to conduct research. So thankfully, emergency procedures and containment plans for recovering from such a disaster were already in place and no doubt saved a large number of lives. More on this from the BBC here.

Naturally, comparisons have immediately been drawn between the devastation in Haiti and Chile. Despite Chile’s quake being 5 times stronger, the damage is considerably less than January’s quake, largely due not only to the fact that the epicentre of the Haitian quake was much closer to the surface, but also to the far more advanced construction of Chilean buildings (for reasons outlined above). Another point also worth bearing in mind is the rapid, efficient response of Chilean President Michele Bachelet to the disaster: she held off immediate foreign aid for fear of complications; ordered police to allow victims free access to essential supplies from supermarkets; and was soon offering minute-by-minute updates on the recovery efforts. A far cry from the debacle in Haiti, where international efforts were complicated by the US unilateral takeover of the main airport and subsequent diversion of non-US approved flights, plus the worrying number of US troops (reportedly around 10,000) who were deployed ‘for security purposes’. Surely emergency disaster relief is the UN’s chief role? So it would seem on their website.

Saddest of all is the ‘satire’ of Pat Robertson’s now legendary diatribe against Haiti, which some eager blogger cut and pasted to fit the latest Chilean disaster. Sadder still is that so many in the blogosphere fell for it (here’s the full summary), taking it as a real report. Staying with Chile, below is a comic from the archive that I put together about the US involvement in the 1973 Chilean coup that ousted Salvador Allende. My thoughts, condolences and best wishes go out to those affected in Chile.

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Hanging out with Nick Abadzis and vote on the Honduran coup comic cover

img_0406Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the day with visiting graphic novelist Nick Abadzis, creator of the Eisner award-winning Laika. He visited the Stanford Graphic Novel class on Weds, offering some great advice on our atomic bomb story and how to get your work seen by publishers. Later that night he then gave a fascinating talk on his research process and the steps he took from the original idea behind Laika all the way through to finished artwork – including a visit to Moscow to get a feel for his backdrop.  Yesterday he, Adam Johnson and I went down to Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where Nick offered similar wisdom to the students there, as well as signing the odd dozen copies, each with a meticulously crafted (not to mention lightning fast) dedicated illustration. Here’s the man at work – note the blurred brushpen. A true cartooning gent and top dog (groan). Thanks Nick!

And now, the chance for you to get involved in the creative process of Honduran Coup comic. Below are 4 potential designs for the cover. Have a look at the four different options below and then register your vote for the favourite one using the poll I’ve created here. I’ll announce the results next week. This is a first-time experiment for me, so depending on how many votes come in I’ll expand more interactivity into this site in the coming months. Anyway, back to the voting options:

Number 1                                                               Number 2

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cover2

Number 3                                                    Number 4

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I’m leaning towards number 1 at the moment, which features Zelaya (Z), Micheletti (M), Clinton (C), Romero (R), riot police and Zelaya supporters in a line, outside the Brazilian Embassy and United Fruit factory (for its historical connection to US interests in Central America). Cover 2 features a line of said riot police, no.3  focuses on the reflection of supporters in the protective visor of a riot police officer (my second choice) and no.4 is more of a boxing showdown-style setup with Zelaya facing off with Micheletti, leaving the rest of the ensemble cast in the background.

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