Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Dr. Suess Goes To War

July 15th, 2009 by Martin

DrSuessGoesToWarI finished my cover-to-cover reading of this amazing book this morning on my way to work. Upon first glimpse, I figured I would simply be reading the cartoons and be done with it, but when I dug in, I actually found the commentary by Richard H. Minear to be so integral to the viewing and understanding of Dr. Suess’s political cartoons that I simply couldn’t proceed without devouring every paragraph. (I even read his analysis at the end, which while it was not quite as entertaining as the guided tour of Dr. Suess’s brilliant cartoons contained within, was still quite entertaining and enlightening.)

Essentially, Dr. Seuss was the editorial cartoonist for a New York political magazine called PM, for two years from 1941 to 1943. In that time, he was incredibly prolific, and wrote/drew over 400 cartoons.

One thing I took away from this book was the evidence that Dr. Seuss was unfortunately, not immune to the plague of racism that he himself rallied so strongly against. His treatment of the Japanese, even before the bombing of Pearl Harbor was pretty despicable, (although some might argue justified given the circumstances, I would tend to disagree). However, to his credit, and at least partial redemption in my eyes, he actually visited Japan in 1953, and subsequently wrote Horton Hears a Who.

This book is a must read for fans of Dr. Seuss, and I think it’s also a very handy history lesson (from the perspective of someone who has never successfully completed an American History course). If you want to just read the cartoons, or supplement the book material, the University of California San Diego’s website hosts an awesome archive of all 400 of Dr. Seuss’s political cartoons. (Only 200 are reprinted in the book.) I wish they’d been scanned (or made available) at a higher resolution, since the details really are what makes this work stand out, but nonetheless it’s an awesome archive of an absolute master of the art.

More Political Comics – Steal Back Your Vote!

October 7th, 2008 by Martin

Another political comic book is getting distributed, this one called Steal Back Your Vote!, and you can download it after you donate something via paypal (as little as a dollar). The art is by Lukas Ketner, (who also does this Witch Doctor comic), and Lloyd Dangle, (who has a pretty political comic called Troubletown).

There’s actually a lot more text inside than there is comic book, but you can see a couple of example pages on flickr: Vote Theft for Idiots: Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

Completely coincidentally, I have been meaning to post a link to The Pain–When will it end?, which is the site for the (mostly political) cartoons of Tim Kreider. It appears to be updated more or less weekly, and the archives are very definitely worth a look. If I had a complaint though, the images are pretty damn large, and scrolling is not really an option so much as an obligation. Good stuff though.

Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales… #5: i Robot

March 24th, 2008 by Martin

Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now - 5I have to admit that there is something about this series that has felt a bit “off” to me. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Each of the stories feels a bit rushed, a bit light, a bit simplistic, and my working assumption is that it’s somehow the medium, because I’ve read many of these stories before, in short story form, and they were great!

I didn’t think it was the art. I’ve, overall, really liked the art, and that goes for this issue too. At least, I liked it well enough while I was reading the comic… but now that I page back through it, I do think there were more than a few awkward drawings. And, worse than that, it felt like there was a sort of disconnect between the art and the writing. For instance, the story is very much about these robots… but we don’t see them as much as it would seem to make sense for us to see them. It’s almost like the artist takes pains to avoid drawing them in the beginning of the comic.