At a time when artists are using every medium at their disposal to make a political statement, American cartoonist Tom Richmond prefers to keep his illustrations solely for entertainment and not for commentary.
“You have cartoons of all type. Like Walt Kelly’s pogo which is very opinionated, and humorous at the same time. And then there are others. I think it all depends on the cartoonist’s point of view.
“I do parodies of TV shows or movies through my cartoons. I just want to entertain people. And so, it’s nothing but funny. There is no second tier of commentary in that whatsoever,” Richmond told PTI in an interview.
The cartoonist, who participated in the recently held Delhi Comic Con, says he will not do anything that he personally finds “offensive”, but is not afraid to raise an opposite opinion.
“Everybody is sensitive about whether or not they offend people. But if you are trying to make a point; then it is going to make someone angry, and for that as a cartoonist you shouldn’t be afraid,” he says.
Talking about Delhi Comic Con, Tom revealed he drew a poster of India’s Superstar Rajnikanth dressed as MAD magazine’s mascot Alfred E Neuman.
“Basically it was my friend’s advice. I also watched Rajnikant’s movie. I must say watching it was real fun and would love to watch more of him in future,” he says.
Tom, on his first trip to the country, says he finds people here “super-friendly” and is happy that his first Comic Con visit outside the states was in India.
“I like the food here. I was warned about the traffic, but it was not much of a hassle. People here are very friendly, just the way my friends back home told me. I have always loved history as a subject and visiting historical places here was such a treat.”
He enjoyed meeting with Indian cartoonists and has picked up some cartoons to read when he is back in US.
Tom says sometimes drawing a simple looking cartoon can be the most difficult thing.
“The simpler the cartoon, the harder it is to do in real. It is much more difficult to do simple lines, than the one that has a lot of illustrations. This is precisely why I have really admired cartoonists with really simple, clean and fun style,” he says.
Fan of fictional superhero Batman since childhood, Tom believes graphic novels are the “next big thing”. He hopes that academic books too are turned into graphic novels to help students understand the subject in a better way.
“People think of graphic novels only in the limited view of fiction or throw away stories, but I think it would be a really effective way to teach students.
“These books are a great way to tell any story. And I am very happy to see history books being written as graphic novels,” he says.
Asked whether his children ever asked him to draw something, Tom revealed he uses his talent for special events. “My daughter is about to get married this March. I plan to make quite a few things on her big day. I plan to bring my skill in use,” he says.