Steven Weissman takes political cartooning to a whole new level with Barack Hussein Obama, his weekly four-panel gag strip that gradually evolved into a sort of magical-surrealist graphic novel over the course of its 100-plus installments. Each page is its own story featuring Weissman’s zen cool, elliptical version of Obama (who acts and talks somewhere between enlightened Buddhist and just plain high) and his family and co-workers as they wander through the challenges of the U.S. presidency, which are complicated by Obama’s transformation into a parakeet and Vice President Joe Biden’s deaths and rebirths.
- Barack Hussein Obama
- By Steven Weissman, Fantagraphics Books, $23
Weissman’s delicate line work and fine-art design style further remove the narrative from the caricature-style visuals usually associated with comics about politicians, and is perfectly suited to the meandering, poetic, almost meditative comic.
The exotic nature of Obama—the sought-after change-agent his supporters believed him to be and the mysterious “other” that frightened his more ardent detractors—gave Weissman enough space to fill in with his own bizarre take, one few other real men could support, and few other artists could pull off