Tag Archives: seven stories press

Review: Snowden

Snowden coverAs many as 1.4 million citizens with security clearance saw some or all of the same documents that would later be leaked by Edward Snowden. Why did he, and no one else, decide to step forward and take on the risks associated with becoming a whistleblower and then a fugitive?

For many of us, there’s so many unanswered questions about Edward Snowden. In Snowden, writer and cartoonist Ted Rall delves into Snowden’s early life and work experience, his personality, and the larger issues of privacy, new surveillance technologies, and government intrusion.

I consider myself very liberal and progressive, and even now I’m torn as to my thoughts about what Edward Snowden did, and how he did it. Rall does a decent job of giving us a timeline as well as laying out Snowden’s life growing up, and how it shaped him to be the man he is today. There’s lots of questions, there can only be without it being an autobiography. But, you get a good sense of things.

My issue with the story, as well as the Snowden saga as a whole, is the fact that the American public haven’t had the finger pointed at us enough for our allowing legislation to be passed and our privacy eroded. Whistelblower Mark Klein spoke out in 2007, well before Snowden had the positions he was in. I know, I was part of the Dodd internet Presidential team that worked with Klein to raise awareness of the information he brought forth. We knew we were being sold an empty bag of goods, yet we allowed it anyways. That to me is missing from a lot of the discussion. Rall touches upon it, but ignores some of what was done, such as the advocacy that delayed the passing of FISA.

Rall does a good job of giving us the facts. For those that want to learn more about what happened, and why, this is a good way to start, especially due to its ease of reading. By the time you’re done, you have just the facts, and from there you can hopefully come to your own conclusions or continuing your own investigation.

Story: Ted Rall Art: Ted Rall
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Seven Stories Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Cyborg #2 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue of the series was a fantastic start, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second. Writer David Walker seems to have addresses a lot of past issues with the character in the first issue, while also setting him on an interesting course too. This is a comic I keep checking the release schedule to see if it’s out, that’s how much I want to read it.

Prez #3 (DC Comics) – The first two issues have had me laughing, and they’re turning out to be really prescient when it comes to the future of politics and elections. Not sure if I should keep laughing or be really scared.

Princeless: Be Yourself #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Writer Jeremy Whitley nails it issue after issue, in this series which is so far ahead the rest of the comic industry as far as characters and themes. Girl power!

Snowden (Seven Stories Press) – Ted Rall chronicles the history of Edward Snowden and the NSA leak.

Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A new girl power comic that feels like a mix of Sailor Moon, Jem, and a lot of other series that are just awesome. This was an indie comic, and got picked up by Dark Horse, so it’s fun to see it also go from a small press comic to a full blown one. The first issue is all set-up and pretty entertaining.



Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 (Marvel) – The preview pages j have seen of this comic looks absolutely fantastic. The idea of the behind the scenes look at the regular lives of some of henchmen in the worlds premier villainous organisation is really intriguing, and I’m sure there’ll be some interesting. Guest stars.

Old Man Logan #4 (Marvel) – I hadn’t realized just how much I missed reading about Wolverine until this series came out. Whilst I’m glad he hasn’t been resurrected for no reason, it’s nice to get some more time with one of the more interesting incarnations of Wolverine, too.



Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol 2 #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The sequel series opened on a high note, and it looks like it will maintain the same tempo.

Batgirl #43 (DC Comics) – A new story arc for this standout series. Not much seems capable of stopping the momentum of this series.

He-Man: Eternity War #9 (DC Comics) – Every issue leads to a bigger turn of the plot. No idea what is coming this time, but it will be big again.

Mulan Revelations #3 (Dark Horse) – The first two issues have been heavy on style and a bit lighter on substance, but the concept is so cool that it deserves a chance to get settled.

Star Wars: Lando #3 (Marvel) – This series has been non-stop fun, proving that Lando should never have been a secondary character.



Top Pick: NEXT Wave: Collected Edition (Marvel) – The hilarious, highly political superhero team satire series featuring Monica Rambeau (formerly Photon or Capt Marvel) is out in a nice complete collection. The biting commentary and creativity of this series is renowned. From dream team Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – This series is already a standout for having unusually astute analysis of blackness and also about disability. It develops Victor Stone aka Cyborg as a fascinating hero in his own right and as far as I can see it even resolved some of the previously problematic aspects of the character: (read about those problems in Robert Jones Jr’s essential essay “Humanity Not a Included“). I’m ecstatic to have an African-American writer on this title. David Walker’s story is potent scifi that works on metaphorical level and well as on a narrative level. He references Invisible Man– which has needed to happen in a Cyborg story for decades. It’s a can’t-miss series.

Grayson #11 (DC Comics) – In this issue Grayson fights himself. Or someone pretending to be him. I love Huntress in this series acting as his spy master. I totally respect this comic’s dedication to a female and queer male readership that too many series ignore.

Lumberjanes #17 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New story arc featuring our favorite feminist summer camp adventurers. Please get your kids reading this book. It’s groundbreaking and fun and fabulous. And read it yourself for swells of nostalgia for a relatable yet fantastical children’s story that I wish I’d had when I was little.

Review: Parecomic – The Story of Michael Albert and Participatory Economics

Parecomic CoverParecomic is a graphic novel about something that affects us all: the system we live in–what’s wrong with it, and how we might be able change it for the better. Written by Sean Michael Wilson, and drawn by Carl Thompson, Parecomic is about Michael Albert–the visionary behind “participatory economics”–and his life’s struggle as a left-wing activist in the US.

The graphic novel is interesting in that it has two distinct parts. The first half is about Albert’s life and his experiences within the left wing of American politics. We go through his growth and evolution of his philosophy on participation as well as economics. It’s the origin story to his idea of “participatory economics.” The story begins with the beginning in the heady days of 1960s student demos and lifestyle rebellions; following the developments of the antiwar, civil rights, woman’s, and Black Panthers movements; to the establishment of alternative media like South End Press and ZNet.

The second half is the dissection of “participatory economics.” In various ways the graphic novel explains about this economic idea, how it differs from socialism, Marxism, capitalism and some examples of how it works in modern society.

But what is “participatory economics?” Proposed as an alternative to capitalism, participatory economics (parecon, for short) values equity, solidarity, diversity, and participatory self-management. In Albert’s vision, workers and consumers councils use self-managed decision-making, balanced job complexes, renumeration according to duration, intensity, and onerousness of socially valued labor; and participatory planning.

What particularly struck me about this graphic novel is it’s unwillingness to dumb down it’s subject. This is a read for those with an interest in economics, politics and participation and throughout it struck me that it’s not necessarily written for the masses. There have been other graphic novels that explain economic theory, but they have been written for folks to easily digest and understand. Here, everything is laid out in an intelligent way that challenges the reader to think through difficult concepts. This is an advance college textbook in graphic form. I found myself pausing on pages thinking through what it was saying and the concepts within. In other words, it made me think. Wilson makes what might not be easy to understand ideas digestible.

That’s helped by Thompson’s art. The style is simple but engaging, with great renditions of many real life people who are easily recognizable.

I’ll leave my judgement of the concepts for some other venue. There is some back and forth as to how participatory economics works and some of the criticism, but that’s limited. Instead I was left with a want to talk to Albert himself with my questions on how his concept works on the micro and macro scale.

Parecomic brought me back to a time in my life when I regularly thought through these ideas and concepts, a time when my brain was working over time with new ideas and connecting the dots. This graphic novel challenged me to think through new ideas as well as the world we live in. Even better it did so in a way I didn’t find boring or grating to read, much like some of the works referenced within it. Parecomic is a fine example of how far the comic medium has come. It’s no longer ruled by only heroes in tights, it’s now a tool in our greater understanding of the world and further education.

Story: Sean Michael Wilson Art: Carl Thompson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kickstarter Spotlight – Parecomic – A Documentary Graphic Novel

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It’s been a bit since I posted up a worthy Kickstarter project, but it seems Parecomic is the perfect one to kick this off again with.  Written by Sean Michael Wilson, and drawn by Carl Thompson, Parecomic is about Michael Albert and his life’s struggle as a US left wing activist.  The comics begins in the 1960’s with student demonstrations and lifestyle rebellions.

From the development of the anti war movement, civil rights, the woman’s movement, and the black panthers to the establishment of alternative media like South End Press and Znet. PARECOMIC shows us Michael’s story, and at the same time the ideas and issues that influence both our society and the better alternative that we can build via the anarchist influenced system of participatory economics. Or PARECON for short – hence the title for our book, which rather started out as a joke – but has stuck: PARECOMIC.

The comic book will be published by Seven Stories Press,  a NY publisher who specialize in books on human rights, politics, social and economic justice.

Best Pledges:  The pledges are a bit high, but the $20, $40 or $60 ones get you a copy of the book.