CAST YOUR eyes across many of King Features’ comic strips and you’ll see a theme: The syndicate encouraged cartoonists to draw whatever moved them in the spirit of International Women’s Day.
“Our editorial team came up with the theme ‘Empowering Our Daughters’ as a starting point for our creators,” King Features President CJ Kettler tells The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs, “but we opened it up to any topic that resonated with them.”
“Given where we are as a culture today,” the syndicate president says, “this event seemed like a great way for us to reflect the current zeitgeist and dialogue around issues that matter for women.”
One of the first cartoonists to sign on was Terri Libenson, creator of “The Pajama Diaries.”
“Terri’s poignant comic about the protagonist Jill, and her daughter, Amy, is an insightful look at what it means for a mother to share her own beliefs about women’s equality with the next generation of daughters,” Kettler says.
In the multigenerational spirit of that strip, the campaign aims to “share messages of strength and confidence with young women around the world.”
A few creators, Kettler notes, were already planning to mark International Women’s Day in their features.
The rotating roster of talent behind the feature “Six Chix” — Isabella Bannerman, Benita Epstein, Martha Gradisher, Susan Camilleri Konar, Mary Lawton, and Stephanie Piro — devoted a week of comics to addressing a range of themes. And “Curtis” creator Ray Billingsley wrote a special weeklong arc featuring the title character’s kind young friend named Chutney.
“I’m the mother of three girls — now young women — and there is an unending opportunity to surface issues for discussion that matter to us as women in general,” Kettler says. “Humor, especially, in the way that comics reflect our current culture, is a particularly heartfelt way to bring certain topics into a conversation that may otherwise be buried or avoided.”