WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
In the past year, Shannon Wheeler went from drawing Donald Trump to illustrating a worldwide health crisis. He considers it a relief.
In September, the Portland-based cartoonist—creator of the popular comic strip Too Much Coffee Man, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, MAD magazine and Dark Horse Comics—published a graphic novel adaptation of the Mueller report, a collaboration with Oregon journalist Steve Duin.
Now, he's following that up with a comic book aimed at educating kids about combating COVID-19, a project spearheaded by the Northwest Down Syndrome Association and sponsored by the Oregon Health Authority. Compared to thinking about presidential misdeeds and obstruction of justice every day, Wheeler thought of it as a lighthearted diversion.
"There is something that is soul crushing about the cruelty and exploitation of one human being to another," says Wheeler. "So to have this disease—it's fundamentally mechanical. Do these things and we will work to mitigate the effects of it. It's like grade school math."
Of course, as simple as the protocols appear on paper, many Americans appear to have trouble grasping them—and it's not children having the greatest difficulties.
But Wheeler has a few ideas for reaching them, too.
See more Distant Voices interviews here.