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Various Fantagraphics anthologies – The Bush Junta


The Bush Junta

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that I’m speaking mostly to people who are either of a progressive mindset (or why would you be reading about independent comic books?) or are Republicans smart enough to know that the current bunch of opportunists and criminals near the White House don’t have a thing to do with their beliefs. If you buy what these people have to say, nothing you see in this book is going to convince you of anything. It’s all that “liberal” comic company making stuff up, never mind the fact that the sources here for the quotes are immense, and boy there sure are an awful lot of coincidences leading up to a lot of bad things, and a lot of the people closest to this family have benefited the most from these horrible things. I have no interest in talking to you if you believe all of these things were a happy coincidence. You should read this more than anybody else, but you won’t, so why bother telling you to? This book is as complete and concise an account as you’re likely to find about all the major players in this administration, how they got there and what they did with the power once they had it. The ongoing US policy of torture is graphically documented here, with eyewitness accounts from the innocent people that we tortured and locked up for years without filing charges. And if that’s news to you, you REALLY need to watch the news more often. A lot of the best folks in the comic world have stories in here, including Ted Rall, Spain Rodriquez, Jamie o, Lloyd Dangle and Peter Kuper. Granted, this book does veer into mostly unfounded conspiracy theories at times. OK, maybe not so much “veer” as “dives right into”. Still, like I said, there have been an awful lot of happy coincidences over the years for the Bush family, and the charges in here should at least be looked into by more people with actual positions of authority. This book is at its best when detailing known facts about these people and what they’ve done, which is as damning a list as you’re likely to find in recent memory. If you have a relative of some kind who believes in the crap these people are spewing and you just can’t find a way to get through to them, you could do a lot worse than to try and get them to read this. At the very least it should start a real discussion, which is another thing this country is sorely lacking these days. This is $18.95, but it’s available at Amazon right now for around $13.

Rall, Ted – My War With Brian


My War With Brian

Everybody knows that Ted Rall is a dick, right? Not that I’ve ever met the guy, but everybody knows the story by now of how he’s suing Danny Hellman over a practical joke? I’m sure it’s possible that he’s a perfectly wonderful human being whose side of the story just isn’t being told here (to be fair, I haven’t heard his side of the story, but I can’t imagine how he could justify ruining another human being) but, really, it doesn’t make a bit of difference. Why? Because I still like his comics. Sorry, maybe it isn’t accepted to say that out loud, but I do. Haven’t kept up with his weekly work, although I do see a strip once in a great while, but I usually like what I see. This is supposed to be a review for this book though, not a character analysis, so I apologize. This is the story of the battles Ted had with a bully back in his middle school days. He tries to kill the kid on more than one occasion, which probably seems insane until you think back to any of the times that you were bullied as a child. What did you want to do to the person doing the bullying? Probably something along the lines of throwing bricks at his head or slamming his head in a locker a few dozen times. He’s painfully honest (although he does seem to have more than a little bit of an ego when describing himself but, again, it’s not like I know the guy and say that he’s exaggerating) but I never did think much of his boxy art. The dialogue more than makes up for it, but the point of this review is simple. If you hate Ted Rall because of what’s going on with him and Danny Hellman, fine, hate away. I still think he’s a gifted cartoonist who deserves to be read without focusing on his personal life.

Conrad, Peter (editor) – Swell


Swell Now Available! $7.95

Another day, another random mish-mash of an anthology. I really had high hopes for this one too. It’s edited by Peter Conrad and here are just some of the names in it (don’t you hate it when people do that? You know that they’re always leaving off the lesser-known people for no good reason): Sam Henderson, Neil Fitzpatrick, Jesse Reklaw, Keith Knight, Carrie McNinch, James Kochalka, John Hankiewicz, David Lasky and Ted Rall. It’s an OK book, but very few things stand out when you get done reading it. The Sam Henderson and James Kochalka stories weren’t even funny, and those are usually a sure thing. Keith Knight, John Hankiewicz, Neil Fitzpatrick and Ted Rall were the highlights for me. Everything else was somewhere between pretty good and unremarkable. It’s cheap at $7.95 and you can’t beat that lineup, but… eh.