23 February 2008

I am Jack's Raging Bile Duct

Just finished reading "The Nightly News", a graphic novel by Jonathan Hickman. Its a simple story of a group of people whose lives have been destroyed by the US mainstream media that seek to take violent revenge on the fourth estate in a very Tyler Durdenesque fashion. While it can be seen as a similar reaction to modern ratings chasing sensationalism as Warren Ellis' 'Transmetropolitan" it owes far less to Hunter S. Thompson and far more to Chomsky and My Favourite Curmudgeon Greg Palast, drawing serious inspiration from his "Sell the Lexus, Burn the Olive Tree" refutation of Thomas Freidman's flawed neocon theories.

The style is similar Brian Wood's covers for "DMZ", and Hickamn has approached this as a graphic design project, with information text boxes, visual annotations and backgrounds that risk triggering Pokemon-like epileptic seizures. Most of the art starts off as filtered photographs, manipulated extensively on photoshop with monochromatic colour schemes establishing time and space contexts reminiscent of Soderbergh's "Traffic" or "Heroes" (blue depicts the future or past, orange the present).

While Hickamn isn't half as clever as he thinks he is, and his story more reactionary than revolutionary, along with "DMZ" it represents the best of the new generation of above-ground political comics for the naughties.

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