The Comic Queen

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Everyman Vol. 1: Be The People Review

Everyman Vol. 1 Be The People GN
FWD Books; $6
Writers: Dan and Steven Goldman; Artist: Joe Bucco

This graphic novel begins on January 20, 2005, inauguration day, where President Henry Birch’s reelection is taken over by the group OneLove to expose election rigging engineered by Birch. The book then jumps back in time to February 2004 and reveals the beginnings of OneLove and how the beginning (and end) of the story played out.

The heart of the story follows an insider to the president, Manolo Perez, who is morally torn by what he sees working for the current administration. Perez joins up with the recently formed OneLove, “a political movement dedicated to restoring common decency to the government, along with respect for its citizens.”

The movement’s founders are the successful writer, Thomas Womack, and Perdita Orozco, a social engineer. The group leads a non-violent guerilla-type movement to expose the current administration, and in general what the presidency has become, to force a change. They don’t expect what happens, though; the rising up of the people in massive protests is just one example.

In a way this book reminded me of Ex Machina without the powers – down to the art itself – a political comic with progressive leanings.

Unlike most comics, this GN has another criteria that must be more closely met, which is plausibility. Or rather, is this story told in a believable manner – can I swallow the idea as it relates to real life off the page? Most comics require an incredible suspension of belief, but with a story that is based on current events, a more realistic treatment of plot has to be considered.

There are certainly parts of the book that are more than plausible than others, that stem right from real-world fact. For instance, the issue of electronic voting machine tampering; without a paper record, there are already a multitude of problems surfacing. People like to just blow off this possibility of tampering like it’s a wild conspiracy theory. If a computer says it’s so, then it must be so, according to the general public. Like a computer is some kind of fortress; well, if that’s so, then why am I downloading security patches practically weekly.

When I first came to the part where the One Love “campaign” begins their activities, however, I thought this wasn’t very believable. The commercials they ran and the message they gave, while beautifully optimistic, weren’t very realistic to believe that this would sway many people.

But then I remembered that this book was written last year, pre-election. There was a general feeling then of optimism and activity. That people were fed up and ready for positive change. This book really reflects the feeling of most of 2004. Not to say those not in the Bush camp have given up all hope with their causes, but there’s certainly a more somber feeling in the air now. Therefore, the book doesn’t read as much as wish fulfillment as I thought it did at first glance.

Personally, I like the One Love “platform.” Womack says at one point, “I want an inexperienced but principled leader, someone with solid judgment who’s curious about the world around him .. not a calculating, cynical career politician who’s just there to hawk his agenda, and go through the motions the rest of the time.” Yep, it’s been awhile since we’ve had anyone close to this in the Oval Office. The idea of a strong bipartisan leader more schooled in philosophy and humanities as president, and not a partisan politician worried about fulfilling owed favors is personally extremely appealing. But when you have thoughts like that, you’re dismissed as a starry-eyed optimist with no opinions of worth.

That’s why I like this comic, that although today it might seem almost hopelessly optimistic, it is grounded in a philosophy of leadership that is plausible, and the book takes a chance to not only get this opinion out there but wrapped in a well-told story.

Bottom Line: B+


  • At 8:24 AM, March 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Erin: I lost your email address, but I wanted to thank you for the thoughtful reviews...I'll add them to our website. Glad you enjoyed the books! If you like, I'll keep you on the list for press copies. --Steven@FWD

  • At 3:28 PM, October 02, 2005, Blogger jon said…

    We are trying to find good harry potter and the goblet of fire movie to take the kids this weekend. Good harry potter and the goblet of fire movie reviews are hard to find

    I just stumbled onto your blog while looking. Seems to happen to me a lot since I am a knowledge mooch LOL


  • At 10:15 AM, October 06, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You have a great blog here! I will be sure to book mark you. I have a book shelf site. It pretty much covers book shelf related stuff. Check it out if you get time :-)


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