LAST FRIDAY, “Candorville” offered one of the most poignant cartoons Comic Riffs has seen this year. As part of a weeklong story arc, the strip imagined “every possible life” of Trayvon Martin had the Florida teenager not been fatally shot in February.
In Comic Riffs’ April 2 Q&A with Darrin Bell, the “Candorville” creator said creating that strip brought a feeling of catharsis. “I felt like somewhere there is justice,” he told us, “even if it’s only in Lemont’s dreams.”
After the Trayvon Martin cartoons ran — and prior to shooter George Zimmerman being charged with second-degree murder yesterday — numerous readers said they felt similarly moved, sometimes to tears, by last week’s “Candorville.”
Here’s a sampling of the reader response.
(If you have your own opinions about Bell’s “Last Ride With Trayvon” series, feel free to share them.)
While I frequently laugh out loud while reading the comics in The Washington Post, I don't remember ever crying over them. But Friday's strip [April 6] brought tears to my eyes. It was poignant, sensitive, and beautiful. And I think it got right to the heart of the matter. Trayvon Martin's death wasn't about hoodies or Skittles or ridiculous Florida laws. It was about a young man's life cut tragically short. Thank you for the idea of a Starbucks at the end of the world where kids who die too soon can live their possible lives.
Your work is often brilliant and insightful, but your April 6 strip was your most moving and meaningful ever. Thanks again.
Well, Darrin, I hope you’re happy... here’s this 63-year-old, retired white guy who managed to tune out all of the craziness in the media about Trayvon’s murder and then your inspired strip ... reduced me to a blubbering fool. I don’t think in all the discussion that has gone on, anyone made a more eloquent statement on this tragedy.
[TRAYVON MARTIN: The 9 Most Striking Cartoons About the Florida Tragedy]
Why in hell are you trying to make me cry with the comics page?
I’ve never sent an e-mail to a comic strip but this time I felt I must. You are genius. “Candorville” is a complex strip and I enjoy it very much. The writing is intellectual and the art is fantastic. Though an atheist, I’m particularly fond of the “Train to the Afterlife” series, and this one was particularly moving. Thank you.
I've enjoyed your beautiful, quirky and thought-provoking comic strip ... for a long time, but my appreciation of your work found a new dimension with your touching tribute to Trayvon Martin last week; [April 2-7]. The final strip moved me to tears as I came face to face with the ongoing reality of the enormous loss we all suffer with his death. That final strip was somehow a comfort, at the same time. ...
I couldn't think of that strip later on, without getting wet eyes all over again. My deep thanks to you. Hey, my eyes are drying up just writing this!
Thanks for having the [fortitude] to deal with the recent [tragic] slaying of Trayvon Martin. I can't imagine what his family must be going through and can't fathom why the authorities seem to think this is a case of self-defense. It is quite obvious to me that a young man with his entire future ahead of him has been taken from his loved ones and our country. I truly respect and appreciate the way you dealt with such a volatile subject. I enjoy your work and read your strip every day. ... Keep doing what you're doing and I'll keep reading.
A middle-aged, balding, blue-collar, middle-class, beer-drinking American
I am a 60 y/o Blackman [sic]. I have never, in my life, cried after reading a comic. You’re incredible. Thank you.
Crying is not what I usually do when I read the comics each morning. You got me every day this week. Your strip put the Trayvon Martin tragedy into a new and touching context. Thank you.
I read and enjoy “Candorville”every day in the L.A. Times, but today I was completely caught off guard. [The] strip featuring [Trayvon] Martin living the lives that he might have had, choked me up, and I cried for a half-hour... I am a 59-year-old man with a somewhat cynical view of our society.
This is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt strips I have ever seen. You have topped yourself.