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Every day, late at night or early in the morning,
from March 26, 2020 to January 1, 2022, the
political cartoonist and illustrator Steve Brodner
would get to work. In those midnight hours, he
would review the day's reportage, sit down at
his drawing board, and memorialize a singular
person or event that played a role, willingly or
unwillingly, in shaping that day.
Living & Dying in America includes many lovingly drawn portraits
of those who died in the pandemic and of those who
displayed extraordinary strength, decency, courage, and endurance. But Brodner
does not ignore those who perpetuated the pandemic in word or deed: he also etches
in acid caricature those public servants and private entrepreneurs who preyed
upon the public, spread lies, and aided the virus' spread through their ignorance,
incompetence, and malfeasance. Released via social media, the drawings range
from quick, expertly realized sketches to elaborate paintings to carefully rendered
mixed media, depending on how much time and stamina and inspiration he had left
at the end of the day. Each spontaneously drawn or painted image is accompanied
by a brief biography of those who died, or a short summary of the person's conduct
or the event depicted.
Taken as a whole, Living & Dying in America is a chronicle of those who died
and those who honorably served the living - as well as an indictment of those
institutions and political figures who betrayed the public trust. It is a searing and
essential moral document, written and drawn on a daily basis with feverish intensity
by one of the great forces of American cartooning.

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