Thursday, October 05, 2006

Again With the Comics recommends Birth of a Nation

I want to take a moment to recommend Birth of a Nation, fine political satire from writers Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin, with art by Kyle Baker. I almost got this a few months ago when it was first released, but I couldn’t afford it at the time. Turns out I’m glad I waited, because I picked it up last week at Barnes and Noble for six measly bucks.

Fred Fredricks, the mayor of East St. Louis is trying to get out the vote in his city, rallying citizens young and old to exercise their constitutional rights in the upcoming presidential election. His city is more like a third world country than an American city, but Fredricks is trying to clean it up at the grass roots level. When he and his people show up to vote, however, they’re turned away as the voter rolls list all of them as past felons. By the time the “mix up” is corrected, it’s weeks too late to make any difference, and dimwitted Texas governor Caldwell is the new president of the USA by the narrowest of margins. Any resemblance to real-life evil pukes is purely coincidental.

Outraged at the disenfranchisement, Fredricks and his friend, billionaire John Roberts announce the secession of East St. Louis from the United States. Finaced by an offshore bank (not actually offshore), Blackland is born, an independent nation with it’s own army, economy, and independent energy source. Soon, militants, reporters, and sympathetic American troops cross the border to participate, leading to betrayals, death threats, and culminating in a showdown between Blackland and the US. I couldn’t put it down.

The story is an adapted screenplay, and reads as such. The dialogue is fun and the story was much more of a page turner than I expected. It could easily have been slow and pedantic, but the cast is populated with fun, believable characters brilliantly supported by Bakers light, expressive cartooning. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

No comments: