PROTEST COMICS

In 2021, infuriated by the UK’s government’s crackdown on the right to protest in the
Police, Crimes and Sentencing Bill, I spent the month of October drawing a different protest placard every day. 


This was the first seed of an 80-page book, Sorry For The Inconvenience, We Are Trying To Save The World, which you can now buy here.

Sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to save the world by Myfanwy Tristram

As source material, I used photographs from recent protests and from historic ones, finding far more examples I wanted to include than there were days in the month.

The slogans were witty, thoughtful, persuasive — and when seen together, are demonstrative of how protest, far from being solely about anger and violence, can actually bring out the best in dissenting citizens. 

Woman holding a sign saying 'pro-choice anti dickheads'. Image by Myfanwy Tristram.
Woman holding a sign saying 'this planet cannot sustain this system'. Image by Myfanwy Tristram.
Woman holding sign saying 'girls just wanna have fun..damental human rights'. Image by Myfanwy Tristram.

When the month ended, I carried on until I had fifty good examples, and could have drawn many more.

Placards are an artform in themselves: having seen the collection of embroidered banners at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, I know they are also valuable and often beautiful records of social history.

An older woman holding  sign saying 'I can't believe I still have to protest this fucking shit' .Image by Myfanwy Tristram.
A woman in a sixties minidress holding a sign sating 'Up from Under women unite'. Image by Myfanwy Tristram.
A woman holding a sign saying 'Respect my existence or expect my resistance'. Image by Myfanwy Tristram.

And I carried on, drawing more material to cover my memories of CND, poll tax and Section 28 protests from childhood, the Brexit marches of the last few years, and thoughts about the Bill as it was still going through Parliament.

When it was all ready, I got it printed up. What I’d intended to be first a quick Instagram exercise, then decided would be a hastily-compiled zine, had – because I found I had so much to ay on the subject – finally become an 82-page book.

XR protesters sitting down in the road - something the new Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill aims to make illegal. Image by Myfanwy Tristram.


You can purchase the book here. This is a first iteration. The placards are timeless, but politics is ever-moving and the pages written while the Bill went through Parliament will eventually stand as historic records.

Future editions might replace these pages with a more retrospective look, or more timeless content. And I would very much like to develop this project into a fuller length book: if any publishers are interested, please do get in touch.

ACTIVISM

I am interested in how comics can encourage activism and make real political change. While political cartoons are a familiar feature in our newspapers, I do not believe that research has ever been conducted into what tangible effects they have in the real world. Read more.

SOCIAL MEMOIR

I am drawing a graphic memoir that is based on two periods of my life: my teen years as an Eighties goth in rural Devon, and my middle age in which I come to terms with the events of that time. Read more.

FASHION AND POP CULTURE

As an ex-goth who can’t quite give up a fascination with clothes, I love drawing all aspects of fashion – and, along the way, recording some aspects of our shared social history. Read more.

We are nature Naked Bike Ride Brighton 2019 poster design by Myfanwy Tristram

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