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Finally, the Tories have caved and signed an agreement that will supposedly allow Canadians to monitor the Afghan detainees. This cartoon and the following one take place before this change in policy. I figure Stephen Harper, Gordon O'Connor, Stockwell Day, et al, are still fair targets, given their tortuous and dishonest route. If not for the Globe's excellent reporting and digging, it would be torture business as usual. And I will be skeptical until reports prove the new procedure is working.

As long as Rick Hiller, Canada's chief of defense staff, thinks of the Taliban as "scumbags and detestable murderers" (his words), it's hard to imagine them getting Geneva Convention-compliant treatment. Sure, a lot of them are scumbags and detestable murderers. But starting out with that assumption, especially from Canada's top soldier, will virtually guarantee abuse. Remember, not all prisoners are necessarily hardened Taliban fighters. There are innocents among them. None have been tried. And even if guilty, torture is a crime and should not be practised on anyone. Period.

How long will it take us to learn from Maher Arar and the myriad other innocent victims whose lives have been destroyed by this terrifying war on terror?

NHL Players in Afghanistan: Yes, as Weltschmerz predicted, NHL players are giving Canadian troops a much-needed boost. While the Afghan heat is quite a different environment from home ice, I'm sure our great hockey players will be able to use their uniquely brutal brand of violence to good effect. (See the CBC news report here.)

I got my email from Michael Rouse-Deane today. He is organizing the Kid's Book Project (proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation). I have a week to contribute one page and can only see page 53, the one that follows mine. So I'm with the group that is working backwards from the back. I'm just glad I'm not the cartoonist who has to join the front and the back.

I'm interested to see how this book will flow. Expect a lot of red herrings and unresolved plot points. I'll try to make it as easy as possible for whomever gets page 51. It's a fun project that will be published in December.

10 Years Ago This Week: May 8, 1997
Sigh. I miss Jean. (This was my first run at Chr├ętienese. In retrospect, I think it worked out pretty well.)



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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