By Terrah Baker
If you’ve opened a Free Weekly in the last couple months, you may have noticed a certain comic strip on the first page. If you’re in anyway like TFW staff, you noticed right away something different, unique and intelligent about these comics that take a different perspective on the political and social issues of our time.
We first saw Matt Bors comics in a sample packet he sent to our publication. They were timely, funny, sarcastic, well-drawn and touched on topics that many comic writers don’t, and definitely from an angle that is very often overlooked.
But Bors wasn’t always a social and political commentator. Mostly, he said, as a child he drew funny, light-hearted characters and plots. While he always knew he wanted to be an illustrator, he didn’t know what kind. He found his first professional gig with his college newspaper almost 10 years ago, and still produces comics for them today.
It was then that Bors found his political voice. He, like so many Americans, was disturbed and confused by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and subsequent events leading to the invasion of Iraq.
“My cartoons were first about the Iraq War and then it just kind of bloomed out from there into just touching on anything that really was bothering me that week. I never really made a conscious decision to become a political cartoonist,” Bors said.
Today, Bors cartoons touch on social and political issues from racism to vegetarianism. Each week he sends TFW and other publications around the country his politically liberal and socially empathetic cartoons. It just makes sense that his comics went that direction, he said.
“I’ve just always been working in the industry I loved, and depending on what stories I had to tell it just grew from there. When I was an adult I had political things to say,” he said.
Since he was 20 and first started comics for newspapers, he’s been making a living freelancing, and continues to do so today. He is in about 15 publications and also on multiple websites. In the last year, he’s also worked for medium.com, editing their comic section, which they hope to make a go-to place for comic extremism.
Each week, he said, he tries to take an approach or perspective that someone else doesn’t have, to make his comics stand out amongst the rest. Which is hard to do in the instant age of Twitter and Facebook. But, that also makes cartoons special, he said.
“It also makes cartoons stand out as something that not a lot of other people an do. Some of the best political cartoons are being made right now but number-wise there aren’t a lot of people doing it anymore,” he said.
To learn more about Bors and his comics, visit his website at www.mattbors.com/blog. To win a free copy of his illustrated book of comics and essays called “Life Begins at Incorporation,” visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/freekly) and “like” our cover photo that will be set as Matt Bors comics on Feb. 27. Winner announced March 7.