Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 18, 2012

Time Names Ali Ferzat To Their Most Influential People List

Matt Weurker has the write-up for Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat's inclusion on the Time Top 100, a yearly feature they do to spotlight influential political and cultural figures. I thought Ferzat was clearly comics' man of the year last year, and the story of his beating at the hands of pro-government thugs the art form's top story by a wide mile. I mean, I like high collars on my superheroes as much as anyone, and I'm grateful for the 52 cans of Mountain Dew shoved down the throat of the near-catatonic Direct Market because I like comics shops and the people who depend on that avenue for a living and a lot of the art that they make, but let's get serious: they tried to break his hands.

Ferzat strikes me as an interesting man. My understanding is that he was always pretty regionally influential, due to the regularity with which he published, his art gallery, and his efforts supporting cartoonists in other countries like Egypt. That was one reason why his decision to speak out on the treatment being dealt the Syrian people was a significant one: he was transferring his authority as a truth-teller to a kind of truth that few wanted told. I also greatly admire how he's conducted himself since that vicious attack. That Ferzat and his family released photos of the reality of what happened to him that day is an astonishing thing that should be appreciated just as much as the raised-figure cartoon that ended up not being his work was. Ferzat's support for his country during this horrible time and his expressed desire to return have been wonderful to hear when he's had that opportunity. He's a really good cartoonist, too, and I hope that everyone with an interest in cartooning as a vehicle for communicable truths has his web site in their bookmarks.
posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

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