Tag Archives: donald trump

Trump’s Tariff War with China is Already Impacting Comic Creators

shipping container boat

We spoke about Trump’s trade war with China and the raising of tariffs to 25% of items from the country in our second episode of Graphic Policy Weekly. Tariffs are a way to “even out” the cost of foreign goods so they’re on par with domestic goods.

While President Trump claims that the foreign government pays the tariff, that’s incorrect. In reality the importer does and that cost is passed along to the consumer in the retail cost of the goods. It’s a tax on consumers.

Much of the comic, game, and toy industry’s production is in foreign countries, especially China, and thus this policy is directly impacting our hobbies.

John Fleskes has spoken out about the impact of the tariff on his company, Flesk Publications. Flesk Publications is a high end art book publisher of which many art books highlight the talents of comic artists. You can read his full post below.

As he points out, this policy also include Hong Kong where his books are printed. He has checked on working conditions, which he describes as “stellar,” and has verified that the paper and materials have been sourced in an environmentally and sustainable way. The facility is “clean” and a “professional environment.” This directly disputes the narrative of “slave labor” producing our goods.

As he describes in his post, this policy decision directly impacts his company making it go from a “good year” to a possible “negative year” and that hiring a new employee won’t happen and bonuses provided to employees won’t happen. Prices up books will also go up while production will be on hold for future books.

Read his full post below while another good read about the reality of book production can be found here.

We have been notified by our shipper today that by the end of June there will be an implementation of the 25% duty tax that will effect books manufactured and imported from China. This includes Hong Kong (where we have our printing done).
At the moment, we have Ballpoint Beauties by Frank Cho, the new Terry Dodson sketchbook, Bombs Away, and the new Art of Gary Gianni for George R.R. Martin’s Seven Kingdoms in transit with an arrival date in the US port at the end of June. If our books arrived a week or two earlier, we would have avoided the duty tax. (Update: This is up in the air at the moment.)
As a small publisher, this is how a sudden duty tax will affect us.
We plan our book releases anywhere form 8-12 months in advance. At that time, we set our cover prices, then promote and advertise the book, as well as list it with our distributor. We sign contracts with the printer so that we can secure a quote, then they order the paper and place us into their production schedule. Unlike just about every other item you find in a store, the cover price is printed on books. So, if a publisher is hit with a sudden tax or unexpected expense, we can not adjust the cover price to compensate. The discounts with the distributor have already been negotiated. I cannot charge the distributors more to compensate. The duty tax comes straight out of our narrow profit margin.
In essence, because of this duty tax, I am preparing for the following. Due to the direct loss to our profits:
1. We will not be able to hire the new employee that we planned in securing this summer.
2. We already signed our printer contract and set the pricing for Spectrum 26. Due to the duty tax, our profits for this book will be greatly reduced. Our 6 months of work on this title will break even, at most.
3. We will not be able to provide the bonuses that we normally provide to our employees.
4. Any funds that we planned on saving for the future are greatly compromised.
5. All of our plans for growth are on standby since we have no idea how this duty tax will be implemented.
6. All books in development are currently being produced, but are on hold as we learn how this will impact us further.
7. All book prices will go up to make up for the duty taxes. How much? We can’t tell yet.
We are going from having a good year, to having a possible negative year due the trade wars.
We need a full year notice if new duty taxes are going to be implemented. That would give us time to plan and make changes. Unfortunately, using printers in the US is not an option. They charge upwards of three times the costs, even after shipping, than China or Hong Kong printers do. Also, the facilities and printers who can print deluxe hardbound books simply do not exist in the US. It would take years for someone to invest in the creation of a premium US art book printer, and it would be a risk since if the duty tax was to be removed in the future it would put them out of business. Creating incentives for US companies to grow manufacturing here, instead of penalizing us for going outside of the US for manufacturing, would make more sense in my opinion. The infrastructure simply does not exist in the US for us to print here. We have no choice but to go overseas.
This will be a tough year for us. We’ll get through it. We’re strong, yet we wish we didn’t have to be.
I’m saddened though. Saddened that I can not take care of my family and employees like I had hoped this year. I’m saddened that much of the slim profits that we make will be taken away from us by a trade war. Publishing is my passion. Making books is my great love. Not even a duty tax will stop us, as much as it may try. But it will be one hell of a speed bump to drive over.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day today! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan getting? Sound off in the comments! While you wait for the shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

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ComicBook – Warner Bros. Reportedly Filing Copyright Claim After Donald Trump Video Uses ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Score – Awesome.

CBLDF – Free Webinars for Educators and Librarians Center Around Comics – This is pretty cool.

Kotaku – Real-Life Politician Removed From In-Game Office In EVE Online – Huh.

Reviews

Comic Attack – Bronze Age Boogie #1
Comics Bulletin –
Fairlady #1

Veterans Affairs Stonewalls Congress Protecting Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter

Officials at Veterans Affairs are declining to give members of Congress documents related to the influence Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter has over the agency.

The issue is the influence that Perlmutter, primary care specialist Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, and attorney Marc Sherman have over veterans policy decisions by the Trump administration. None of the men hold government positions. All three are confidants of Trump and members of his Mar-a-Lago resort.

ProPublica ran a report in August that showed frequent contact between the men and top VA officials that included policy matters and personal favors.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has told lawmakers he met with the trio only once during a courtesy trip and they have had no role in crafting department policy. However, when House Democrats requested correspondence between the men and the VA in August, Wilkie refused. He cited “ongoing litigation alleging violations of the Federal Advisory Committee Act” making them “not appropriate for release at this time.”

That has to do with a lawsuit filed by VoteVets to block the trio from further contact with VA leadership concerning official matters.

Top ranking Democrat on the veterans’ House panel, Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz said Wilkie’s excuse was “unacceptable” and without legal merit.

Walz said:

We have received nothing from VA except excuses. The reports of corruption and cronyism are serious and we cannot allow VA to sweep this under the rug. This issue will remain a top concern of the committee until all our questions have been answered.

Walz has demanded that the documents are turned over by the end of the month.

Guardians of the Galaxy Director James Gunn Offers $100K for Trump to Be Weighed

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has entered the “Girther Movement” and offered to donate $100,00 to President Trump’s charity of choice if the President steps on an “accurate” scale and weighs himself.

Gunn Tweeted:

I will give 100 thousand dollars to Trump’s favorite charity if he will step on an accurate scale with an impartial medical professional, okayed by both of us. For real.

On Tuesday, President Trump’s first physical exam results were released by the White House. They claimed the President is 75 inches tall (6’3″) and 239 pounds. Also his “overall health is excellent.”

The listing of his height and weight spawned memes and jokes, the “Girther Movement” doubting the President’s weight and mocking his belief and fueling of the “Birther Movement” which questioned President Obama’s birth certificate.

The Post: Movie Review

the-post-posterGovernment power run amok. Journalistic ethics facing overwhelming odds. Corporate interests and politics fighting to hold back the truth. Meryl Streep. Steven Spielberg. Tom HanksThe Post seems like it was grown in a lab designed to win awards.

And it’s a really good movie. The story of how The Washington Post fought to publish The Pentagon Papers, thousands of pages of secret government documents about US involvement in Vietnam, is incredibly important, especially where we are in 2018.

As I sit here in my hotel room in Washington DC, watching cable news listening to the President of the United States saying he wants to make it easier to sue for libel, a chill runs up my spine. A similar chill happens each and every time President Nixon appears on screen in the film.

Spielberg smartly uses Nixon’s own words, taken directly from the infamous tapes, showing a silhouette in the Oval Office as we hear the president in his own voice talking about how they need to shut down the New York Times and Washington Post. It’s similar to how Good Night and Good Luck used actual footage of Joe McCarthy, and the effect is equally as good.

Hanks and Streep are also at the top of their games. It’s unfortunate that any Streep performance feels like an obligatory Oscar-nomination, because in this case it’s deserved. However, in trying to give trailblazing Post publisher Katharine Graham a cinematic character arc, they sort of gut her. She begins the film as a sort of wilting flower, a socialite running the paper but maybe over her head when butting heads with lawyers and bankers. She overcomes sexism and self-doubt to make these historic decisions. . . and it’s just simply unbelievable (and not really based in reality). But as a film and a performance, it works incredibly well.

Hanks is also great, though perhaps not as good as his last collaboration with Spielberg in Bridge of Spies. In that film, Hanks played the relatively anonymous James Donovan. But as The Post‘s legendary editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee, you can’t help compare him to other on screen depictions of him. Specifically, you draw an immediate comparison to Jason Robards in All the President’s Men. 

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The real Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, from the Smithsonian’s Portrait Gallery

Perhaps the biggest complaint I have with the film is that as much as I enjoyed it, I spent more than half of my time wishing I was watching Errol Morris’s The Fog of War or All the President’s Men. I also felt like I was watching a sort of strange prequel to All the President’s Men, as this film ends [Spoiler Alert?] the same way that film begins– a security guard at the Watergate noticing duct tape on a door and a break-in at Democratic Party Headquarters. Perhaps because this particular moment in history has been so well covered already, it adds to the feeling that we’ve sort of “been there, done that” with this subject matter. However, because we seem to have failed to learn from the mistakes if forty years ago, we are doomed to repeat them now.

What is different and refreshing, though, is how this particular story is told. Spielberg’s choice of casting here is fascinating, filling the supporting cast with actors best known for their comedic backgrounds: Bob Odenkirk and David Cross (wha?!?) along with Zach Woods never get to be funny, but they also show off their dramatic side. In another strange bit of casting coincidence, Jesse Plemons also shows up as the Washington Post‘s chief counsel. This again just feels odd and takes me out of the movie, as I keep thinking about Breaking Bad and Mr. Show crossovers rather than what’s happening on screen.

But perhaps the best piece of casting is Bradley Whitford, who should probably be remembered as this last year’s greatest on-screen villain for his performances here and in Get Out. As a smarmy banker, complete with bow tie and slick hair, Whitford is the on-screen personification of mansplaining and the evil face of capitalism. It is exquisite and he and Streep play off one another so well that they enhance each others’ performances.

But the most important piece of this film is its message. While it perhaps over-romanticizes the press (one loving montage of the paper being printed and going to press was enough, but sure, we’ll take more?), the message of how important a free press is could not be more important. While this isn’t the best movie currently in theaters, it is perhaps the most important.

3.75 out of 5

 

Legends of Tomorrow Commemorates Trump’s Pussy Grabbing Remark with a Plaque

Donald Trump hasn’t even been President for a year and he’s already getting plaques commemorating him. A small metal plaque has been posted at the studio where the now President commented to Billy Bush about grabbing women “by the pussy.”

The plaque was posted by producers of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow which airs on The CW. The comments which was recorded by Access Hollywood occurred on the same lot for the show.

The hot-mic recording happened in 2005 when the then Apprentice host bragged to show host Billy Bush about kissing and fondling women without their consent, assault.

The plaque reads:

On this spot in September 2005, Donald J. Trump bragged about committing sexual assault. In November 2016, he was elected President of the United States.

The plaque was taken down 15 minutes after it was put up. Now, the Legends team just needs to work this into their show…

(via The Hill)

TV Review: Broad City S4E6 Witches

In “Witches”, director/co-star Abbi Jacobson and writer Gabe Liedman expertly blend magical realism and super harsh realism in an episode that is a sex positive celebration of women and sisterhood of all ages and ethnicities and also a comedic slug to Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s hypocritical, misogynistic, unworthy to be president and vice president’s chests. They go for another separate and then converging amazingly plot lines featuring Abbi and Ilana. Abbi finds her first grey hair and then sells her art outside the Met and starts to think she’s a witch that isn’t helped by her new BFF, Margo (Classic SNL actor Jane Curtin) . While this is going on, Ilana is talking to a sex therapist and has a giant epiphany that she hasn’t had an orgasm since November 8, 2016.

November 8 is the fateful day that Donald Trump was elected president (And I drank half a case of Modelo.), and saying the numbers 2016 (and 2017) became synonymous with terrible, shitty thing we don’t want to think about. However, unlike some comedies, Liedman, Jacobson, and Broad City go full tilt about how terrible he is, and how his election has had a real effect on the mental (and sexual) health of many Americans, including women. And they do it an sexy, slapstick-y, montage way with Ilana using her vibrator in front of the therapist and trying to think about happy things, like “average sized dicks” or even Abbi, but then shuddering about Mike Pence or Trump’s hot mic comments to Billy Bush. It’s done in an awkwardly humorous manner, but Broad City takes the fight to the Trump regime in “Witches”, and with a glorious montage of historical and contemporary women from Jacobson, becomes Comedy Central’s true leader of the resistance putting the South Park kids and Trevor Noah to shame.

Unity between women is definitely the through-line in “Witches”, which culminates in a dream-like gathering of rad women of all ages in a part of Central Park that Abbi and Ilana have never been to. During her plotline, Abbi bonds with fellow artist Margo, who seems to have all the same interests as Abbi, even though she’s decades older and with a dermatologist Dr. Fuller (Played by Inside Amy Schumer‘s Greta Lee.), who offers her chemical solutions to her aging problem after she finds one grey hair. Gabe Liedman could have used this scene between Dr. Fuller and Abbi to poke fun at women who do these kind of treatments, but instead, they end up bonding, and towards the end of the episode, Ilana has a non-judgmental attitude towards women, who do things like skin peels and Botox during one of her many post-montage orgasms.

Continuing a major part of her character arc in Season 4, Abbi runs into one of her exes, Jeremy, a neighbor she had a crush on and then pegged in the memorable episode “Knockoffs”. However, he was a huge hipster snob and hasn’t been seen on the show in a while. In Season 4, he is a “co-parenting” an adopted black child with an extra from Garden State and really seems to have his life together after throwing down a crisp $100 dollar bill  on the “struggling artist” Abbi. It’s kind of nauseating and makes Abbi sad that she doesn’t have a job and hasn’t really done much with her life except for get her first grey hair. But she does get to howl at the moon with some amazing ladies and not have to worry about those unemployment/quarter life crisis fears for at least one night as Liedman and Jacobson go for the magical side of the realism coin to close out “Witches”.

In “Witches”, Abbi, Ilana, and their new friends show that women are awesome, and that powerful, abusive, misogynistic men like Trump suck and are a burden on society. Down with the patriarchy, and long live the covens. It’s also very nice to see older women get to be funny, insightful, and cut loose a little bit on a show that is usually about people in their twenties so it’s fitting that Golden Girls is the last image in the “amazing women” montage before Jacobson cuts to black.

Overall: 8.0

Back to School: Ultimate Spider-Man #16-17

USM17CoverBack to School is a weekly issue by issue look at the beloved superhero teen comic Ultimate Spider-ManIn this week’s installment, I will be covering Ultimate Spider-Man #16-17 (2002) written by Brian Michael Bendis, penciled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, and colored by Digital Transparency

The “Double Trouble” arc continues in Ultimate Spider-Man #16, which reveals a lot more about Dr. Octopus’ motivation and current state. He was conducting industrial espionage on Norman Osborn for another corrupt, billionaire industrialist, Justin Hammer, blames him for his arms fusing to his body situation, and wrecks his mansion. The scene shifts to a TV at the Daily Bugle where Kraven the Hunter (Think a more ripped Steve Irwin) says he’s bringing his show to the United States from Australia. This is while Peter is feeling neurotic about the mysterious Dr. Octavius knowing his secret identity. At the same time, Ben Urich is trying to get info on Octavius from John Stacy and keeps getting hung up on while John scolds Gwen about her pulling a knife last issue. Peter Parker finally goes into action as Spider-Man when he overhears Robbie Robertson talking about a break-in of Hammer property and mechanical arms.

This is when SHIELD, led by Sharon Carter, gets involved in the Octavius investigation and tells Hammer the real story. He was hurt in the Oscorp labs accident, had his arms fused to his body, and is out for revenge against his real employer, Hammer. Spider-Man hears the whole thing before SHIELD starts shooting at him so he bails on his eavesdropping. The issue ends with Kraven getting off his private jet into New York and vowing that he is going to kill Spider-Man with “me bare hands”. That terrible Australian accent just cracks me up.

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Ultimate Spider-Man #17 begins with Aunt May and Peter watching Kraven threaten Spider-Man on a TV morning show, which Peter obviously isn’t a fan of. It cuts to Kraven chatting with his agent. The agent just wants the ratings to increase while Kraven thinks the whole thing is a publicity stunt. Then, we’re back at Midtown High where Gwen Stacy is back in school and apologizes for pulling a knife on Kong. However, she says that Kong should apologize for kicking Peter and continues to have an attitude. The school part ends with Liz Allen saying bigoted things about mutants in connection to their superhero assignment.

Then, we’re back to Justin Hammer in his limo trying to solve the Dr. Octopus situation and realizing that all his superhumans are either in jail (Electro) or still in experimental phases (Sandman). Despite the danger, Hammer unveils the Big Apple Energy Dome, a project that’s supposed to bring sustainable energy to New York. He denies that he is creating superhumans or knows Dr. Octavius. In the middle of his speech, the audience sees Dr. Octopus wrecking the dome on a screen behind him. This emergency is announced at the Midtown High assembly so Spider-Man hitches a ride on a NYPD chopper and heads to the dome. The issue concludes with Spider-Man out on his ass before Dr. Octopus, who is midway through wrecking everything.

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Unlike the previous two arcs of Ultimate Spider-Man, which had a laser guided focus on Norman Osborn and Kingpin as the villains, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley opt to go the multi-villain route when they introduce Justin Hammer and Kraven the Hunter to go with Dr. Octopus in Ultimate Spider-Man #16. Hammer makes sense and plays a key role in fleshing out Doc Ock’s motivation, but Kraven is a distraction at worst and an amusing riff on “extreme” reality TV at best. The scenes where he’s mugging for the camera or arguing with his agent could be better spent with Peter and his friends or advancing the Doc Ock plot line. However, there’s a hint of the Kraven that beat Spider-Man in the legendary “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline in a couple close-up panels of his intense eyes from Bagley when the agent mentions that Spider-Man could be Kraven’s most difficult challenge yet.

The main plot of “Double Trouble” is a tangled web of failed superhuman experiments and corrupt capitalism that a teen superhero in red and blue tights happens to be stuck in the middle of. However, Bendis doesn’t neglect the high school subplots in Ultimate Spider-Man #16-17, especially the emergence of Gwen Stacy and the “superhero” assignment for Peter’s social studies class, which uses the mutant metaphor to comment on ideas about the “appropriateness” of topics to be discussed in the classroom. Liz Allen comes across as the conservative student who wants to completely erase LGBTQ people from actual history because it’s not “age appropriate” and isn’t sympathetic in the slightest for now.

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She doesn’t wear a costume, but Gwen is my superhero and speaks out against bullying both to her dad and her class in a genuine, non-PSA way. Sure, she definitely has what would be labeled “attitude problems” and “authority issues” in her permanent file, but Gwen has a real sense of morality and responsibility to her fellow humans. And the tears that Gwen gives her while talking to her dad show how she passionately means every word that passes through her lips.

What’s especially great about Bendis’ writing of Gwen Stacy is that she has her own storyline so far and isn’t forced into the classic love triangle with Peter and Mary Jane just yet. (I do wish Mary Jane got more panel time or spoke a single word in these two issues.) He goes into her relationship with her father John, who is having problems being the police chief and a single dad, and lectures her instead of talking about why she pulled the knife. John is playing off parental cliches instead of having a conversation with his daughter and, of course, she runs off in the chaos of the station after speaking her piece about how no one in the school was there for Peter when Kong kicked him. This thirst for justice continues when she tries to force Kong to apologize to Peter publicly as she disrupts the flow of the social studies class. Gwen wants to do what’s right even if pulling a knife in the middle of a class is a terrible idea. (She apologizes twice for that though.)

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In retrospect and probably at the time too, Brian Michael Bendis sets up Justin Hammer as the Donald Trump of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, but with what seems like an over-the-top Southern accent. (It was definitely more of a joke in 2002, but is downright frightening in 2017.) There’s the obvious fact that he owns a lot of casinos in Atlantic City and has an almost reverential awe for his father from whom he got all of his money. (Justin Hammer loses his mind when Doc Ock slices up Daddy Hammer’s portrait.) Both Trump and Hammer are also obsessed with doing things “bigly”, like the former’s overly gaudy skyscraper hotels and the idea of the Mexico border wall and the latter’s energy dome.

They are also pretty incompetent at business with Hammer sinking money into a sand guy and botched attempt at industrial espionage with Octavius, and Trump’s multiple bankruptcies among other things. Finally, there is their shared hatred of the press with Hammer giving reporters a hard time at the unveiling of the Dome, and the fact that White House press conferences are now off camera and Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer recently resigned. Ultimate Justin Trump and Donald Trump are both inept, corrupt, and hateful men who squander their great wealth and privilege and are being manipulated by forces they can’t even begin to fathom. (Dr. Octopus, Vladimir Putin) I’m not a big fan of the constant cuts from villain to villain, but the real world connection to Hammer makes his scenes more palatable.

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One of the funniest (and unfortunately the saddest parts) of Ultimate Spider-Man #17 is Justin Hammer’s scientists roasting him while he’s pontificating on national TV about his splashy energy project. Seriously, what’s up with the dome, and I’m no scientist, but mixing solar, electric, and nuclear energy seems like a real bad (and combustible) idea? Bagley nails the looks of bemused boredom in their faces, and they quip about watching Oprah instead of his and just the general fact that Hammer is a total blowhard with no qualms about lying on national TV. But, of course, they’re red shirts, and the horror influence on Dr. Octopus continues with his grabbing and killing them before an audience of the rich and famous and stepping on Justin Hammer’s moment kind of like what Ivan Vanko did to him in Iron Man 2. 

As far as Mark Bagley’s pencils and Art Thibert’s inks, I love how they draw Spider-Man creep and hide while eavesdropping on Justin Hammer and the SHIELD agents. Spidey’s movements are pretty awkward at times like when he’s falling off a helicopter while trying to get to Hammer’s dome thing because he’s just a kid. He has the complete opposite of a superhero landing at the end of Ultimate Spider-Man #17 punctuated by a perfectly timed “Ow”. However, there are some hiccups in the character face department like when Bagley gives Ben Urich and John Stacy the exact same face, and it’s hard to keep track of who is talking. (Ben’s glasses come in handy in this case.) But, for every bump in the road, there’s something interesting or emotional like Dr. Octopus’ face filling the screen during Hammer’s press conference after he denies knowing him. It’s a cathartic moment for the baddie, whose occasionally justified anger has been building up throughout the arc, and really got me amped up for the upcoming fisticuffs between Doc Ock and Spider-Man.

SuperheroLanding

With the addition of Justin Hammer and especially Kraven the Hunter subplots to the main Dr. Octopus main storyline, Ultimate Spider-Man #16-#17 is “Double Trouble’s” mid-arc slump. In spending time with these characters and connecting the relatively self-contained world of Ultimate Spider-Man into the political corruption and general crappiness of the larger Ultimate universe, we lose sight of Spidey’s heroic journey. But issue 17 ends on a fantastic Spider-Man (and Dr. Octopus) moment, and Gwen Stacy continues to be a firebrand of a supporting character so it’s not a total wash.

Review: Calexit #1

Calexit #1 is a powerful, visceral, sometimes funny and sometimes hauntingly realistic piece of speculative fiction from the badass creative team of Matteo Pizzolo, Amancay Nahuelpan, and Tyler Boss. The premise is that California has seceded from the United States when Donald Trump has signed a law to deport all immigrants, but there ended up being a civil war between the liberal urban areas and the conservative rural areas. (I used to live in northern L.A. County whose current representative is a Republican taking NRA money.) Throw in Trump himself visiting and being a dictator on the state and cutting off electricity and water in an area that is prone to drought, and it’s a real powder keg. The combination of gut punching action as only the artist of the madcap Clandestino and Young Terrorists can pull off and real life political themes makes Calexit an entertaining and thought provoking read. If you’re a Trump supporter, the first page will have you tweeting about “snowflakes” from a bot account within 5 seconds.

Instead of staid, boring exposition, Pizzolo and Nahuelpan use humor, current events, pop culture, and plain human connection to build the world of Calexit. Jamil is a courier/smuggler/Han Solo type, who is set up to be the series co-protagonist and also sells anti-depressants to National Guard members because even their healthcare sucks in a universe where AHCA seems to be a thing. His breezy observations about the soldier guarding a statue from a D.W. Griffith film, the fact that superheroes don’t punch fascists any more, and his roasting of his client Steve Bannon look-alike (Complete with neck rolls) Eddie the Chimp add color to Calexit and its ideas without weighing down the story. Not everyone is a frontline fighter during times of revolution, and Jamil is just an ordinary guy with a malfunctioning A.I. personal assistant, who wants to survive by not pissing too many people off. Of course, this all changes with his “mission” on the final page. Jamil’s jokes and kind of moral compass of never selling weapons (But humans head are okay.) make him a character that is easy to latch onto.

Calexit #1 is yet another virtuoso turn for artist Amancay Nahuelpan following his work on Young Terrorists and Clandestino. He has a Quitely-esque eye for detail in perfectly capturing an upscale neighborhood near Hollywood and the famous El Capitan Theater that he promptly destroys in a hail of unexpected gunfire. His depiction of the main bad guy as evil Steve Jobs is kind of a coup, and the glasses and turtle neck complement his long, self-serving monologues. Nahuelpan is both a craftsman and a demolition man when it comes to his art, and Tyler Boss is a worthy partner in crime with his faded out greys for both bad guys in the issue and wistful sepias for the California desert. Some of the comic is set near Hollywood, but there’s no La La Land or even Lynchian glamor to palette just another hot as balls, dry, three digit Southern California day.

Even though it’s set in a dystopia, Calexit has its triumphant moments. It’s a hopeful comic, not a defeatist one as proud as the logo of the Mulholland Resistance that seriously needs to be made into a laptop sticker or T-shirt. It is meticulously crafted in worldbuilding, background art, and color choices by Matteo Pizzolo, Amancay Nahuelpan, and Tyler Boss and is a comic that pokes fun at summer blockbusters while having many “Viva la Resistance” kind of moments and directly opposing Trump’s cool regime and terrible treatment of anyone who isn’t a rich, Christian white man.

Story: Matteo Pizzolo Art: Amancay Nahuelpan Colors: Tyler Boss
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

MAD Magazine, Get MAD About Trump!

Are you MAD About Trump? There is no president in American history more deserving of being mercilessly mocked, relentlessly ridiculed and savagely satirized than Donald Trump. Luckily, MAD Magazine is here to do the job! #MADaboutTrump 

An all-out comedic assault on the most idiotic idiot ever to reach the White House (George W. Bush and visitors included)! In these 128 pages, is a full-out assail to the chief, spoofing every aspect of Donald Trump’s career.

eaturing a foreword by CNN correspondent Jake Tapper, this book offers MAD’s best reprinted material with the sharpest satiric shots at “The Donald,” comically chronicling his rise from obnoxious businessman to really obnoxious reality show host to uber obnoxious “Commander-in-Tweet.” It’s going to be very, very, very good. Very good.

Please note: MAD will not offer refunds on this book in the likely event of President Trump’s impeachment. Sad!

MAD About Trump: A Brilliant Look at Our Brainless President will be available in bookstores everywhere on Tuesday, June 20th.

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