Sugar:: Thom Karamus

Candy Land 2021: The ‘New Normal’ Edition 

What’s more euphoric for a child than a world made of sugary treats?

Candy Land, the iconic board game, was created in 1948 by Eleanor Abbott while recuperating inside a polio ward in San Diego. Polio seclusion, quarantine and rehabilitation was long and lonely, especially for the children suffering from the virus. In the original Candy Land board game, sugar was the springboard for children to travel vicariously to a magical land filled with Gumdrop Mountains, Ice Cream Floats and Peanut Brittle Houses.

Sugar was also used to administer the polio vaccine. Children were given the first vaccines on sugar cubes to encourage the medicine to go down. The vaccine quickly reduced the number of infections from 58,000 in 1955, to 5,600 by 1957.

2019 introduced the world to another deadly virus, COVID-19. This pandemic saw science  race for a vaccine and amazingly deliver one in less than two years. Yet, Americans continue to die every day. With insufficient vaccination rates the death toll stands at 750,000 (as of October 2021).

Americans are uncompromisingly divided on politics, religion, law enforcement, immigration, systemic racism, speech, iconography… and, yes… even a deadly virus. In the mass division of 2021, a large segment of Americans politicize the vaccine, vilify science, and view health precautions as an assault on freedom.

What does Candy Land look like today? Do we still believe in a magical land that offers comfort and provides hope for the children of today’s Pandemic?

Thom earned an BFA from Pratt Institute and spent years in advertising film production in New York and Miami. He currently lives in New Orleans drawing comics and non-comics in ink, drinking coffee and playing Scrabble with his cat, Bob.