Can a comic save the world? Recharge by Rachel Lopez - Hindustan Times
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Can a comic save the world? Recharge by Rachel Lopez

Hindustan Times | By
Jan 03, 2020 06:07 PM IST

A long-running Instagram series has been roping in illustrators and comics creators to give viewers a glimpse of why conservation matters.

I’d always known that Isabella Rossellini was a fantastic actress. In 2008, I discovered that she was also slyly funny. The Italian legend created and starred in Green Porno, short films in which she focused on the sexual behaviour of different animals. She did this in full costume, complete with queen bee eggs, wasp wings, and dolphin bits that certainly don’t feature in children’s books. The idea was to get viewers to laugh at the silliness of it all but come away with a better understanding of animal behaviour, and to help sensitise humans about species conservation.

Illustrator @ericacheahart adds to the long chain of collaborations on Instagram to spread awareness about conservation.
Illustrator @ericacheahart adds to the long chain of collaborations on Instagram to spread awareness about conservation.

Check out Green Porno on YouTube.

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For a contemporary (and family-friendly) update, search the hashtag #AnimalProtectionComic on Instagram. It’s a long-running game of tag, designed to boost awareness about fast-vanishing species. An illustrator posts a multi-panel comic about an endangered animal, tagging the previous and next artist in the series. What results is a long, colourful, often hilarious, comic loop about conservation education, with each chapter in a different style and tone, from a different part of the world.

Did you know that Sumatran tigers have false eyes behind their heads to protect them from human predators? Indonesian artist @ameameawoo’s post includes a tiger sketch that makes you look twice. It ends with the animals pleading: “We are not trophies; less kills, more pats”.

Over on Meg Mahoney’s account @faberillustrated, the focus is on the black-footed ferret, one of the species that she says drove her to become a conservation biologist. The comic quickly covers how the furry little guys were brought back from the brink of extinction (they feature in karate suits and plague masks) and the hope it holds out for other projects.

Some comics are just a group hug. All @4amshower does is bring the endangered or critically endangered Asian Elephant, mountain gorilla, European mink, Ishikawa’s frog, riverine rabbit, Araripe manakin, and red panda together. His tagline: As diverse as they are… they all deserve a happy life.

There are in-jokes wherever a popular illustrator throws in an Easter egg for fans. On @thedailytut’s illustrated feed, the posts are usually about history and mythology. His post featuring the Egyptian vulture throws shade at the bird’s once-revered status and current fall from grace. @brownpaperbagcomics gets turtles to wonder where to hook up when the whole ocean’s a mess. Dung beetle mommies gently lick their messy babies to confirm its only poop, not something more toxic, like, you know, chocolate. Even Isabella Rossellini wasn’t so gross.

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