Steven Weissman is a Los Angeles graphic novelist and comic artist. His work is very lauded and is often humorous, his most recent work being no exception. He’s created a luscious, satirical anti-biography about President Barack Obama titled Barack Hussein Obama. It’s a lampooning of the president from an alternate political universe where Barack Obama is just an absolutely ridiculous fuck up.
The novel follows a gangly Barack Hussein Obama who is a constant prankster and has absolutely no manners. In this world, the president meets with foreign diplomats and laughs in their faces, he makes a mockery out of speeches, he doesn’t care about anyone else but himself, and practically everything is a joke to him. He and the other political characters in this world are haunted by the past, present, and future which may explain why they’ve all gone a little crazy. It’s funny and ironic because President Obama–while not flawless–is the antithesis of Weissman’s goof. The work is obviously a Tea Partiers fantasy: the Barack Hussein Obama presidency that wants to eagerly drug America and run away with all of their cash. It’s a dark world and Obama is the smarmy asshole king.
The book is a creative exercise in political art making. The aesthetic of the artwork itself is great: Weissman’s Obama world is a monotone place where everyone speaks in a scraggly manner and there is always room for deconstructing and breaking form with color, characters, and departing from the subject. There is a lot of detail in these small frames to build out the world and Weissman often takes unique entries into explaining this world, playing with the frame’s spaces and the point of view the content is being approached from. The visuals match the content and, in some ways, the style can be viewed as a reflection of the author, an unspoken character that is likely an incensed Romney campaigner illustrating the world he or she sees.
It’s a great pre-election graphic novel with some great, dark laughs. You can pick up the book now and, if you’re a fan of Weissman or curious to hear about his process, he will be speaking and book signing at Skylight Books on Sunday with Ron Regé Jr. For more on Steven, check out his website. You can also get a deeper look into the book here.