Comic Book Socialism?

Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2001
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of Comic Book Socialism? Creator(s): Ian Orenstein
Publishers: Rosa Comics (self Published)
From: Canada
Price: $1.00 (Canada)

There is a strong tradition of religious groups using the comic form as a means of getting across their ideas, but overtly politically minded creators don't come along that often. While most Superheroes seem to act out the dreams of many right wing folks, not much else in the form of party manifestos has hit the stands. Ian makes an effort to redress this trend with a strange mix of time travel tomfoolery and political intrigue. Angie Wells arrives at a friend's place and starts to recount her efforts to change Canada's history. Using her great grandfather's time machine she returned to the late 70's and went about fostering the development of a left wing politician, molding him into a saviour for the National Democratic Party, a leader who would actually stick with his promises.

The political intrigues are complex, as Ian dissects 80's politics to see where, in his opinion, things went wrong. To a reader from the other end of the world like myself, a lot of the details don't make much sense. However, as our own supposedly left wing party turned itself inside out in pursuit of a so called free market during the late 80's, I can certainly understand the basics of the Ian's tale.

This is very much a book of talking heads, as Angie recounts events or debates politics with her friend. It is not very inventive comic making but the progress of Angie's scheme becomes engrossing as her candidate's fortunes develop. Ian's artwork is for the most part very rough, but an occasional attractive panel or interesting page layout suggests he might have the ability to do better.

In a Word: Talkative.

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