On the heels of its pioneering Holocaust-themed “motion comics,” Washington D.C.’s David Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies is launching a major initiative enlisting comics luminaries to educate Americans about the Shoah and other genocides.
Comics Creators for Holocaust Education is bringing together artists, writers and editors from the worlds of comic books, animation, and science fiction, according to its fundraising material. And the response — from towering figures like Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, Harlan Ellison, and Art Spiegelman — has been “overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic,” said Rafael Medoff, the Wyman Institute’s director.
The initiative will let the Wyman Institute expand its program of creating Holocaust-themed cartoons for print and online media, which have included work by Spiegelman in The Washington Post and Sal Amendola in The New Republic; artists will also explore new ways to disseminate cartoons across platforms. And Medoff plans to use Comics Creators for Holocaust Education as a platform to reach a much broader audience.
“Now that we’ve created an initial body of work — including editorial comic strips for major newspapers and the ‘They Spoke Out’ DVD with Disney — we’re going to be introducing these materials to the comics world, to teachers, and to the general public,” he said. “We’re holding workshops and panel discussions at major comic conventions, such as the recent San Diego Comic Con, which 150,000 people attended, and the upcoming New York Comic Con, which will have over 100,000. At the same time, we’re actively networking with teachers around the country to have these materials used in classrooms. And we’ll be communicating to the public as well, in the same way that the daily editorial cartoons in major newspapers use cartoon art as a vehicle for commenting on serious issues.”