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On the morning of May 4, 1970, my father, David W. Wirick, sat next to William K. Schroeder in an ROTC classroom and took an exam on infantry tactics at Kent State University. By the afternoon of May 4, Bill Schroeder was dead.

On May 29, 2010, my dad and I visited the Kent State campus. In September of 2010, he got sick.

History gives us no place to pin our rage.

Can I tell you a story?



[in the exhibition] is Katherine Wirick’s No One is Safe. The title alone captures our current national mood. In over 150 comic-book-sized storyboards in ink wash on watercolor paper and charcoal, Wirick examines the Kent State massacre. It reads like an investigative report. What happened? Why? To whom? Can it happen again?

Stacia Friedman


There are moments when the project looks as if it may be too much for her to bear. The reader knows this because as an interruptive narrator, she tells us as much; but these parentheticals, these hiccoughs, are not missteps in her narrative—indeed, the four or five panels in which she breaks from script and invites us into her experience of pain are some of the work’s defining moments. Not only are they abrupt breaks in the narrative chain, but they visually take a step away from the project’s principal conceit. [...] She appears in this work a confident author whose work deserves whatever attention you will afford it.

Seth T. Hahne



by Katherine Wirick, documenting a piece of her father’s life. Originally created as something for public display, it’s had a limited print run... Seems to me it deserves a hell of a bigger run than that.

David Holloway

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Images from No One Is Safe appeared in the Washington Post article "Decades after Kent State shooting, the tragic legacy shapes its activism" on May 1, 2024.

No One Is Safe is currently featured in the exhibition Graphic Content: Comics of May 4 at the Kent State Visitors Center.

No One Is Safe was featured in the exhibition Happiness, Liberty, Life? American Art and Politics at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 2016.

Poster prints are sold out. Follow me on Twitter or Tumblr  for announcements about a third printing.

No One Is Safe is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


No One Is Safe can be seen in PAFA's official video about the 110th Annual Student Exhibition. It's also featured in John Thornton's short film about the ASE.



What is this thing?

There are three versions of No One Is Safe. I created it as a 50x52" sheet on which 165 3x4" panels were mounted; it was designed for a gallery wall. But, over the course of the year it took me to complete the project, it became important to me that No One Is Safe be reproducible. Books can live longer than people, and digital files may live longer than that.

Using 36" wide inkjet prints which I folded map-style, I created a limited first edition of 15 books, which are now sold out. I've made a second edition of 60 prints, also 36" square but not folded, are also sold out. A third printing will be available from my store later this year. The digital edition is available in my store for $5.00.

Is NO ONE IS SAFE a comic book?

No and yes. It's not really an accurate descriptor, because No One Is Safe in its original form wasn't a book; but the words and images are meant to be read together, in the same way as you would read a comic book. My background is in comics, and Lynda Barry and Art Spiegelman were major influences on the project.

Why is it all on one big page?

As a student in the MFA program at PAFA, I was assigned a gallery wall and expected to mount a thesis show in order to earn my degree. I wanted to do comics, but making books didn't seem like an effective use of the space. So I asked myself if I could tell a complete story in words and pictures on a wall, and I couldn't think of a reason why not.

What media did you use?

Most of the panels are ink wash on watercolor paper. The others are charcoal on Rives BFK. I pasted all the panels down with photo corners, except for the six I drew directly onto the support paper in pencil.

How long did it take?

I started thinking about the project in April of 2010. I spent roughly a month on the script, and the drawing took about 120 days.

How is your dad?

He died of bile duct cancer in 2012.

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The students and faculty at PAFA, especially Renee P. Foulks, Rosae Reeder, and Dr. Kevin Richards. Their support made this possible and I am permanently in their debt | Kent State's student photojournalists, including Howard Ruffner, John Filo, Chuck Ayers and Paul Tople | Julien Robson and Anne McCollum | The Farnsworth family | Brian M. Kane | Leigh Barkley | Vivian Wiener | and most of all Gavin.


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