The current world of global politics can often feel like they are the plots of an outlandish comic book. Which is great for those creating polically themed comic books as they can use it for inspiration. Two great example of this are R. Sikoryak’s Unquitable Trump which transposes the presdient tweets on to superhero covers. And just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, the guys from Man Vs Rock are back with their own take on things with UnPresidential!
From the opening line that reads ‘Dear corn-fed James Franco loving Americans’ you know you are in for another dose of riotous anarchy from the creators of Man Vs Rock.If you are looking for a subtle or nuanced look at American politics then this not the book from you. It’s another volume of bat shit crazy comics from the team who brought you Buck Stone and is another defiant middle finger to the mainstream – on both sides of the political divide. When President Trump mysteriously disappears and his cabinet get caught up in an unsavoury incident involving a Russian bear, a snap election is called and step forward the most unlikely of candidates – Kim Jong Un! It turns out Un is the secret love child of George Washington and a bald eagle who was brought up in Korea in secret and now wants to rule America. (We tried to warn it wasn’t going to get weird!) Writers Kevin Bieber and Justin Reynolds leave no one out of the firing line ripping it out of Democrats, Republicans, Middle America, the alt right, the alt left and everyone in between. Even Bono!
It’s a savage and completely uncompromising look at Modern American and told in the familliar politically incorrect style we loved in Man vs Rock. With jokes involving ‘gender neutral Pac Man ‘ or ‘Mothers in Love With Firearms’ this is another bonkers look at life across the pond that feels like the natural heir to South Park in terms of unrelenting savage satire, but told with raw edge of an underground comic. This is best exemplified by artist Jared Lamp whose work is raw and unpolished in an almost Gerald Scarfe style, but with the final act reminding us of Bill Sienkewicz with it’s mixed media madness. Although it’s not the most polished at times, a more coherent style wouldn’t work as the energy and explicitness on offer on every page needs that lack of slickness. However Lamp certainly manages to cram in as many jokes as possible on every page, especially in the posters and backgrounds on the building so keep an eye out or you might miss another belter. Although it may lack some of the freshness of Man Vs Rock, and has quite a lot of niche American references that us Brits don’t always understand, once again the guys have produced one of those comics which feels dangerous and edgy and completely uncompromising and that’s what makes it so damn good!
Unquotable Trump (Drawn & Quarterly)
With his flamboyant outbursts and extravagant statements, it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to see Donald Trump as a maniacal super villain, terrifying city crushing monster or even the devil himself. And that’s just what satirist R. Sikoryak has done, by taking some of the president’s more outrageous statements and integrating them into classic comic book covers. The covers range from classic Golden Age offerings such as Archie and Looney Tunes, through classic silver age Marvel and DC, to more modern offerings like Hellboy, Spawn and The Walking Dead. Trump is cast as a devastating Decepticon hellbent on destruction, as Magento in a spoof of the classic Jim Lee X-Men cover and perhaps inevitably Scrooge McDuck. The statements fit perfectly with the theme of some (such as a Captain America spoof reimagined Trump’s remarks about John McCain), however for many it is just a way to cast Trump as the ultimate pop culture villains, such as his inclusion in a number of classic horror comics covers or as Donzilla smashing Tokyo.
In each one, Sikoryak has integrated Trump into the visuals, either by redrawing the cover in homage, or by superimposing new images over the top of existing artwork to integrate him seamlessly into the action. By using the pop culture vernacular of the comic it creates a context which is instantly recognisable for a casual audience as well as making Trump’s provocative statements even more sensational. It shows them up for their ridiculousness by casting them as part of pulp superhero adventures or goofy cartoons, and you certainly can’t take him seriously when he his part of an Adventure Time spoof or being punched in the face by Popeye. As well as being a great satirical look at Trump which is perfect for the casual fan, it also gives hardcore comic fans a chance to play spot-the-cover and see which ones they recognise and how they have been morphed and manipulated – there is even a handy notes section at the back to fill in the gaps in your knowledge!