A free Brooklyn-based comics newspaper called Smoke Signal — the same magazine that partially inspired Seattle's late, lamented Intruder comics paper — is publishing a special anti-Trump comics paper called Resist! Published in time for Inauguration Day and with a print run of over 30,000 copies, Resist! ought to make a splash as one of the first artistic protests of President Trump. Resist! is edited by Raw co-founder Françoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman, and it seeks to publish (mostly women-produced) comics "on the theme of political resistance to the forces of intolerance."
Some of the strips to be published in Resist! are already up on the paper's site. Margaret de Heer's cartoon of two women in bed discussing the future of freedom in Donald Trump's America is a gorgeous cartoon that charms with its specificity — one of the women is nude while the other is in a t-shirt and underwear, which feels like a dash of realism — even as it makes a hopeful point. On the darker end of the spectrum, My Ngoc To's strip demonstrates the difficulty of getting out of bed in the days since the election. Shreya Chopra's surreal strip depicts a world awash in menstrual blood. (Menstrual blood is a recurring theme, which makes sense, given our incoming president's commentary about Megyn Kelly bleeding "out of her wherever.")
One of the high points of the Resist! comics featured on the site so far is Seattle cartoonist Tatiana Gill's "The Stages of President Trump." The black and white comic consists of tiny panels illustrating the 15 steps Gill experienced after Trump's election, including "Grief" and "Anger" and "Frenzy" and "Excessive Dog Cuddling." The tightly drawn panels evoke the kind of emotional constriction that many of us in Seattle have felt since November, a kind of claustrophobia of the mind that keeps our thoughts cycling through tiny circles of despair. It's a terrific example of emotional representation through the form of comics, and it echoes the larger themes of addiction and recovery that power Gill's strongest work.
Copies of Resist! will be given out at the women's march on Washington DC on Inauguration Day, while other copies will be shipped to comics shops around the country. But if you'd like to support the publication and distribution of Resist!, you can order a copy for $10 — shipping included — on the Resist! site.
Comics aren't going to erase the Trump presidency from American history. But by publishing smart, funny comics by a diverse group of women, Resist! is laying out a blueprint for the future of artistic resistance for the four years to come. This is accessible protest art, a clear message that travels far and wide on sheets of cheap newsprint.