Cartoonists are urging readers to donate clothes to thrift and second-hand stores that have been hard-hit by the pandemic.
Don't be shocked if you see your favorite comic strip character without pants this Friday. Yes, you heard that right. Pants. More than 25 cartoonists are planning to draw their Friday comic strips with characters without pants to help charities to get clothing to those in need. Some of the comic strips include Blondie and Zippy the Pinhead. No Pants Day is an annual event in many countries that involves people wearing no pants, and usually walking around in their underwear. It's celebrated on the first Friday in May. The comic artists are now getting their characters to go without pants to encourage readers to donate clothes to thrift and second-hand stores that have been hard-hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, according to The Huffington Post.
“This was a great way to help bring communities together but also have a little bit of a laugh,” said Tea Fougner, comics editor at King Features Syndicate. “Just the idea of No Pants Day, I think, is something that everybody can feel a little bit closer to this year than in previous years.” The rather peculiar even started when a group of students at the University of Texas decided to wear no pants on the first Friday in May as a fun way of ending the semester. It caught on and then there was a winter spin-off called No Pants Subway Ride, which saw hordes of people take the subway in their underpants.
Charities have seen a huge fall in clothes being donated, on account of the pandemic, and the cartoonists are hoping to address the issue by urging their readers to donate clothes during this tough time. Comic strip distributors came together for the good cause after King Features reached out to fellow syndicators Tribune Content Agency, Andrews McMeel Universal, and Washington Post Writers Group. “We may be business competitors, but we’re all part of the same family,” said Fougner. “We all love comics and we love our communities. And, at the end of the day, that’s really what cartooning is about. So we want as many cartoonists as possible to take part in initiatives like this.”
The move has been in the works for a few months with cartoonists being told about the project in February. They started filing the comics by March. They brainstormed ideas to find innovative ways to do the comic strips with characters not wearing pants. Bill Griffith, the creator of Zippy the Pinhead was all for it the moment the project was touted to him. “He emailed me back right away and he said, ‘Well, not wearing pants is Zippy’s thing,’” said Fougner.
The comic strip distributors left it up to the cartoonists to decide how they wanted to go about the idea. Some of the comic strips participating in 'No Pants Day' include Shoe, Arctic Circle, Hi and Lois, Rhymes with Orange, Mallard Fillmore, and Sally Forth. The comic strips will see medieval knights, modern office workers, among others wearing underwear. “You’ll see a variety from some cartoonists who took a really direct approach where they have their characters in the comic donating clothing to people,” said Fougner. “And some folks just depicted the characters not wearing pants or put a little happy No Pants Day message in the comic.” A character in Olive Brinker’s Rae the Doe donates clothes to an LGBT center while Dennis the Menace tells readers: “Give to a charity that helps people in need of clothing, like Room to Grow.” Last year, the comic strip community joined hands to hide six symbols in the artwork to honor workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.