The creator of the now-infamous “Tea Party Comix” has spoken. The response, sent to Comics With Problems’ Ethan Persoff last week, ends speculation by some that the black-and-white comics featuring a racist caricature of President Obama might be a liberal parody gone wrong (or just misunderstood). In the rambling email sent early Thursday morning, the unnamed creator of the comics (the name was withheld by Persoff) suggests that they were created out of anger at Obama, but — according to the creator — not out of any intention to make a racial statement.
“I do not understand the connection with ‘big ears’ and ‘racism’, and I do not understand how a ‘dark face’ implies racism,” the creator of the comics wrote to Persoff. “The accusation of ‘Hate’ is true, but it is the hate of an IDEOLGY [sic], not a of race of people….. I understand that the ideology has captured 80 or 90% of the race(s) in question, but it is STILL a AN IDEOLOGY and NOT a “race” that this comic book attacks.”
Despite the denial of any racist intent, the creator told Persoff the comics are just too hot to handle and are being removed from sale.
A number of tea party leaders disavowed the comic books last week, claiming that they’re an obvious plant by tea party opponents.
Read the full email from the creator of the comics, as posted to Persoff’s website (note, emphasis/spelling are original from author):
Subject: TEA PARTY COMIX Thursday, July 29, 2010 5:23 AM
From: [Name and email address redacted by EP.TC]
To: Ethan Persoff
I have taken all TEA PARTY COMIX OFF of [Internet marketplace]. I hope you are happy and I hope the world is a little bit better better place in which to live now. ….I do not understand the connection with “big ears” and “racism”, and I do not understand how a “dark face” implies racism…… The accusation of “Hate” is true, but it is the hate of an IDEOLGY, not a of race of people….. I understand that the ideology has captured 80 or 90% of the race(s) in question, but it is STILL a AN IDEOLOGY and NOT a “race” that this comic book attacks…. Cartoonists have historically drawn “the enemy” in a negative light… Please search cartoons of Reagan and Bush for instance ( and please see my caracature of Janet Napolatano in Tea Party Comix #2!)….. Think, and you will have to admit there was NO LIMIT placed upon these depictions…. But somehow, ANY negative drawing of Presient Obama is automatically “racist”… Be honest with yourself, if it is possible. ….Think. And maybe admit that you have an advantage that you are taking advantage OF….. In Tea Party Comix #1 there is a strip in which a person handing out Tea Party Comix #1 has an ALAN KEYES tee-shirt… Did you upload THAT strip?? Not that it would matter to people who think that RACE is more important than IDEOLOGY, but I would think that a fair-minded person might include that strip….
You can edit this and make me into any monster you like, that’s up to you. We’ll see what a moral person you are, and you can live with that. I’m sure you will be safer than I feel tonight, either way……
The undergrounds of the sixties WERE “allowed”. Apparently “Tea Party Comix” are NOT allowed…. To any reasonable man, well, this miight give him something to think about, about how far we have “come”….. Is it truely a BETTER world?? You tell ME! - [name redacted ]
Persoff, who of course is a master chronicler of comics of the potentially offensive variety, weighs in on the parody debate in his post on the Tea Party Comix creator’s statement. In comment boards on TPM and other sites over the past few days, some have wondered aloud whether those who are offended by the comics are missing the point — and worry that there could be too much sensitivity on the left to allow for satirical works. Persoff writes:
If these were published in a forum like National Lampoon in the 1970s we’d likely applaud it as daring and hilarious. And I know a lot of people who agree with me. So there is space in this discussion for appreciating Tea Party Comix, even if they’re possibly the most racist looking things since, say, Clean Fun Starring Shoogafoot Jones. But if these are not satire, but rather jokes directed at an audience willing to laff it up as fuel, the implications sharply shift.
Read Persoff’s full post, where offers a full response to the creator’s email, here.