An illustration created by a cartoonist out of Halifax that is making its rounds on social media in the wake of a tragic van attack that left 10 dead and 14 injured in the city of Toronto has been described as a “heartwarming” and “beautiful” tribute.
The cartoon by award-winning cartoonist Michael de Adder depicts two young hockey players, one in a blue and white Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, the other in a white and yellow Humboldt Broncos journey. The two players are sitting on the bench, hockey sticks at their side, and arms around each other’s shoulders.
The cartoon was posted Tuesday morning to de Adder’s personal Twitter page and has been shared and liked over 6,000 times.
“When I first started drawing cartoons for newspapers and you’d have a difficult day, a cartoonist would just try to get through it and draw something rather bland. It’s a serious day and they just wanted to depict something that showed that it was a serious day the day before,” de Adder told Global News.
“But what social media has done, it’s shown how powerful a really great cartoon could be. So on the serious days, cartoonists are now working really hard to come up with an image that defines the day before and that’s thanks a lot to social media and the sharing that goes on.”
The image was posted along with the hashtags #HumboldtStrong, #Humboldtbroncos, #TorontoAttack, #TorontoStrong, #TorontoMapleLeafs and #Toronto.
On Monday afternoon, a white rental van plowed through pedestrians southbound along Yonge Street in Toronto, ultimately killing 10 and leaving 14 injured in hospital. Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has since been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
On April 6, a team bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in Saskatchewan was on its way to a playoff game when it collided with a tractor-trailer. The crash left 16 people dead, including players, coaching staff, a play-by-play broadcaster, a statistician and an athletic therapist, and 13 injured.
De Adder said he knew he wanted to draw something but that it was a “slow go” getting the cartoon done. It ultimately took him eight hours to complete the illustration.
“The job of the editorial cartoonist is to draw what everybody is talking about and most often what everyone is talking about is something ridiculous to do with politics and that’s a normal day,” he said. “On days like these, it’s the opposite, no one is laughing, you have to capture something that is completely sobering.”
He said so many things go through his mind while trying to create a piece like this. He knew that some may find it too sentimental while others may find it not sentimental enough.
“A cartoon is only as good as how people perceive it — there’s so many factors that go into it.”
The response on social media has been “unbelievable” to de Adder, who said he had 20 shares after having only posted the image a minute prior.
“When that happens, you know that it’s struck a chord and it’s been striking a chord all day long,” he said.
“It’s incredible how an image can say, so strongly, what we don’t have the words to. Thank you,” one user replied to the Tweet.
Another user wrote: “This is so sad and beautiful at once. I had to close my office door as I started to tear up. What a devastating month for Canadians, but through this we presevere through love and kindness.”
Many of the messages were posted along with the hashtags #TorontoStrong and #TorontoTheGood which have been trending on social media.
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His focus is now on creating an illustration in honour of the officer who captured the suspect without firing a shot. Video of the arrest showed a dramatic standoff between the suspect and police officer in the moments leading up to his arrest.
“I’m still in the idea process but I do plan on having something done with that,” de Adder said.