Archer, Dan – Archcomix

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Archcomix #1

Huzzah!  It looks like there’s finally a small press guy with a persistent social conscience!  Not that there haven’t been plenty of comics here and there with a social message, but after seeing two comics now it looks like this is Dan’s motivating factor in making book, and it’s about time that somebody was doing this on a regular basis.  It always boggled my mind that such a tiny community would focus 99% of its resources (feel free to quibble with that number) or navel-gazing or, you know, art.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that; I’m often quite a fan of navel-gazing (done well) and art.  It’s just that there’s always a lot of shit going down in the world, and a lot of shit that has already gone down, that gets forgotten as soon as it happens.  This comic also marks a departure by Dan from his last issue, as this one has a pile of stories instead of just the one hefty piece.  First up (after the outstanding Noam Chomsky quote, just so you last surviving Republicans know to run right off the bat) is a conversation between a reporter and a Congressman turned lobbyist about the revolving door in Washington and how lobbying works.  For those of you who are thinking “through legalized bribery” well, yeah, but Dan goes into a bit more detail.  Next up is a haunting silent piece about a businessman who kills a deer on his way to work and can’t get the image out of his mind.   Then there’s the heart of the book, a longer story about the coup in Chile in 1970 and how it was financed and helped considerably by Nixon and the US government.  Dan actually takes documents that have been declassified to show exactly how blatant and lawless this was, just in case you needed proof that our government was (and sometimes is) essentially a criminal enterprise, or they would be if they weren’t the ones making and enforcing the laws.  Next is a short piece on gun shows, which is the sampled piece so you can see for yourselves but man are those exceptionally creepy things.   Dan then explains his love for a group of activist grannies (and their children and grandchildren) by showing how they protest and what they have fought for over the years.  Finally there’s the heartbreaking tale (even for a cynic like me) of a beggar in Nigeria, how he keeps the bridge he lives on thanklessly clean and how the other beggar on the bridge wouldn’t take care of his gangrenous leg because he couldn’t imagine living without it.  The amazing thing is that he manages to tell all these stories without ever getting overly sanctimonious or preachy, an occasional failing of leftist publications and commentators.  Of course, lunacy is the failing of some of the more right wing publications and commentators, and I’ll take sanctimony over that any day.   If you only read comics for the escapism, move along, you have plenty of options.  If you occasionally like to learn something, however, you can’t do much better than these comics.  $5

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Posted on April 22, 2010, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Archer, Dan – Archcomix.

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