Vancouver artist Pia Guerra’s cartoon “Hero’s Welcome” shows Florida shooting victim Aaron Feis in this undated handout image. (Pia Guerra/Handout via the Canadian Press)

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

A Vancouver illustrator said she’s overwhelmed by the social media response to her cartoon depicting a victim of the recent school shooting in Florida.

Pia Guerra’s “Hero’s Welcome” shows a young girl leading the school’s football coach Aaron Feis by the hand to meet a crowd of other people killed in school shootings.

Feis was one of 17 victims who died when a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday.

The assistant football coach and school security specialist was trying to shield students from bullets when he was fatally shot.

“It gave me a little lump in my throat when the idea (for the cartoon) first kind of popped up,” Guerra said.

“I thought, I think that might be strong enough. But I had no idea it was going to hit people this hard. Everyone’s telling me that it broke them or they’re devastated or they got all punched in the gut with it or they’re in tears. And that was surprising.”

“Hero’s Welcome” had been liked on Twitter more than 32,000 times by Saturday morning.

READ MORE: 17 dead, suspect identified in Florida school shooting

READ MORE: Trump refuses to address gun control following deadly Florida shooting

Guerra launched her career illustrating graphic novels, including DC/Vertigo’s Y – The Last Man with writer Brian K. Vaughan.

But her editorial cartoons are gaining attention too. Last year, her cartoon of a child-like U.S. president Donald Trump sitting on former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s lap and saying, “I’m a big boy,” also went viral.

“I’d just started getting into doing (editorial cartoons) out of a sense of needing to do something after the election,” Guerra said.

Former student Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 murders in the Florida shooting.

From the time he entered the building until the time he left, only six minutes passed, authorities said. During that brief time, he shot more than two dozen people.

Feis, 37, graduated from the school in 1999 and worked mainly with the junior varsity football team, the school’s website said. It said he lived in nearby Coral Springs with his wife and daughter.

Feis spent his entire coaching career at Marjory Stoneman after playing there as a student.

The Sun Sentinel reported that Feis, acting as a school security guard, responded to the original call on a school walkie-talkie. Someone on the radio asked if loud sounds they heard were firecrackers, said football coach Willis May, who also carries a radio.

“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.

Feis’ grandfather, Raymond Feis of New York, said his grandson “was wonderful.”

“Everyone loved him and he was a jolly person,” Raymond Feis said.

“What takes away some of the pain is that he was a hero.”

A tweet from the school football program ended: “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”

— with files from the Associated Press

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Chilliwack art show fundraiser, One Foot by One Foot, helps mental health community

Sales from Chilliwack Visual Artists Association show benefit two local charities

Excel Martial Arts raises more than $5,000 for family of Chilliwack man killed in workplace accident

By-donation fundraiser event helps wife, three children of 28-year-old Nathan Appleton of Chilliwack

Seven Days in Chilliwack for the week of Dec. 17

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Dec. 17 to 23

Chilliwack Lions Club has a new place to call home

After more than five years without a headquarters, Chilliwack Lions Club moves into new hall

Sardis Falcons top Heritage Woods in field lacrosse opener

The Falcons rallied from a halftime hole to take a big win on the road in Port Moody.

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read