On this day in 2018, Humans in Peril, a collection of fifty single-panel cartoons about humans struggling, was published in the “Great” Moments in Western Civilization Postal Constituent. The Postal Constituent is a bi-monthly periodical consisting of various comics, created by the incredibly artist Caitlin Cass.
Caitlin Cass is an American illustrator, known for her comics and cartoons which do not shy away from the bleak realities of the world today. Caitlin’s work covers a range of topics, including women’s rights, class divides, and “Social Strategies for Art Openings”, the title of one of her pieces for The New Yorker. Her work has also been published in The Lily, by the Washington Post, and in The Nib, a site for political cartoons and comics.
In 2020, Caitlin had a solo exhibition called Women’s Work, a multi-media exhibition which included comics, cloth signs, and sculptures, delving into the history and the key women involved in achieving women’s suffrage. The exhibition told the story of women’s suffrage, through little-known details and the stories of many different women who were involved, not just the key players everyone already knows. Not only did it do that, but it did so in a fresh, entertaining, and often very funny way.
The exhibition told the story of women’s suffrage, through little-known details and the stories of many different women who were involved, not just the key players everyone already knows.
In an interview with FF2 Media Contributor Elisa Shoenberger, Caitlin described her installations as containing “fantastical elements.” In the Women’s Work exhibition, she explained that “the fantastical element is a ghost. In the early suffrage era – in the mid-1800s in the USA – one of the only places where a woman could very freely speak in public was as a spiritualist channeling dead people.”
Caitlin is working on a graphic novel version of her Women’s Work exhibition. In her interview with Elisa, Caitlin pointed to the fact that she is highlighting many women from the Women’s Suffrage movement in this work: “Women’s Rights are always in the back of my head. In the history of art, I was just thinking about the idea of a singular genius and just the degree to which that idea is such a miss. It’s a community that supports that person.”
For the past twelve years, Caitlin has been publishing her bi-monthly periodical, the Postal Constituent, with which she is “self-publishing her own canon to try to make sense of the dismal state of the world”, as described on her website. The Postal Constituent contains cartoons like the Humans in Peril collection, illustrations coupled with brief histories of polluted rivers in the US, and a comic of a rock “thinking thoughts”.
Caitlin’s comics and cartoons draw attention to the state of the world in a way that’s not only funny, but that teaches us something new. Caitlin’s commitment to rewriting (and redrawing) history, both in the past and the present, make her an important figure in both politics and culture.
© Julia Lasker (3/31/23) FF2 Media
LEARN MORE/DO MORE
Read Elisa Shoenberger’s interview with Caitlin Cass here.
Explore Caitlin Cass’s work here.
CREDITS & PERMISSIONS
Featured photo: Photo of Caitlin in her studio provided for this FF2 post by Caitlin. Ownership of the image used in this post belongs to Caitlin. All Rights Reserved.