b-activists: Comic books tackle policy with humor

Image courtesy of www.filmfodder.com

Image courtesy of www.filmfodder.com

It used to be that political figures might make a cameo appearance or illustrate a  plot point.  Or others, like Nixon, might provide the telling characteristics of a looming antagonist.  But with the surge of enthusiasm surrounding our last presidential election, the focus shifted, and Obama, has become a central figure in this pop culture industry.

He’s graced more than a dozen top selling comics, including, but not limited to Amazing Spider-Man #583, Erik Larsen’s “Savage Dragon,” Mark Powers “Drafted: 100 Days,” and even played the alternate universe President/Superman in Youngblood #9.  And now, award winning Kyle Baker has captured a more reverent portrait in his latest Harper/Collins graphic novel “BAM! The 44th President.”

But the top dogs, pushing this new political comic genre, is Blue Water Productions.  Bluewater might seem like your prototypical comic book & graphic novel powerhouse dedicated to pairing high quality art with innovative storytelling, but they have emerged as a fresh voice in comic publishing, since their two biographic series:  Female Force, which showcases strong women as role models, like Michele Obama and Hilary Clinton, and Political Power, which highlights past and present American politicians, who are shaping modern history and culture.

While much of the popularity resides in Obama’s personae at the moment, this might be the sign of new, unexplored terrain, where comics can take on tough policy questions, and render them accessible for a young, and increasingly engaged citizenry.

August 13, 2009 by heidi
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