Politics in Comics: Liberality for All

There are not a lot of explicitly political comics that operate from a conservative point-of-view. One of the few — in fact, it originally promoted itself as the very first conservative comic book — was 2005’s “Liberality for All” from ACC Studios, by Mike Mackey and Donny Lin.

I’ll be perfectly honest here — in my opinion, if you’re a conservative or Republican, you should be absolutely mortified and embarrassed by this comic. I picked up the first issue when it came out, because I have a lot of interest in political matters, and I wanted to see how a conservative comic book would play out. It was pretty danged close to being the worst comic I’ve ever seen.

Now it wasn’t that the specific quality of the book was bad — it’s not like this had art by Rob Liefeld or something. The characters were depicted with the right number of arms and legs and noses and whatnot. The script wasn’t full of misspelled words or anything of that nature. But the entire premise of the story was simply howlingly idiotic.

Let’s set the scene: It’s about 20 years in the future, and the Democrats have taken over the country and instituted a dictatorship. I was actually willing to try to accept this, just for the sake of getting the story moving. We’ve seen plenty of stories through the years about authoritarian conservative governments — “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “V for Vendetta” are all about dictatorships with a hard conservative edge. A liberal-leaning dictatorship is fairly unique in fiction (Vonnegut’s story “Harrison Bergeron” is the only other one I can think of off the top of my head), and I was willing to accept the idea…

…Or I would’ve been willing, if there’d been an attempt to construct the story’s dictatorship out of something other than strawmen. All the liberals in the comic are virtually depicted with devil-horns — they have no real purpose other than being painted with all the capital-E Evils ascribed to non-conservatives in the fantasyland of talk radio. In fact, most of the great boogeymen of the right, 20 years later, are still running around — the Clintons are still in charge (This time, Chelsea is the president), filmmaker Michael Moore makes an appearance, and Osama bin Laden is a U.N. ambassador.

The evil liberal dictatorship is opposed by a small number of conservative freedom-fighters, gifted with special cybernetic powers and apparent immortality. Who would be the best heroes for a conservative comic? Ronald Reagan, perhaps? Barry Goldwater? William F. Buckley? George W. Bush — who, at the time this was written, was near his highest point of political popularity?

Nope, they go with talk-radio howler Sean Hannity, Watergate plumber/head-shot enthusiast/actual-fer-realz Hitler admirer G. Gordon Liddy, and Iran’s favorite arms merchant, Oliver North.

I’ll wait a moment for you to pick your jaw up off the floor.

Seriously, you’ve got your pick of any conservative icons you want, and with this type of story, you could probably go with long-dead historical figures — “The Spirit of Liberty, long thought vanished from this nation, has returned Abraham Lincoln to life, to fight for justice in America!” Yes, it would be completely mad, but it would work, and it would probably be fairly awesome. So you could choose any conservative heroes you want for this story… and you go with a bunch of talk-show hosts?!

Ohh, wait a minute. You don’t think the entire story was just a ploy to get invited to appear on Hannity’s, North’s, and Liddy’s radio shows, do you?

Mmmmm, could be.

So there it is — the most painfully inept political comic book I’ve ever seen. Not just because the story and premise are poorly rendered, but because it could have been good, if the creators were more interested in creating a story about conservative characters and ideas, and not just in stroking the egos of talk-radio hosts.

No Comments

  1. Jason Said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 9:43 am

    Words escape me…Surely this is a joke?

  2. Scott Said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 9:52 am

    There’s been speculation that the creators meant it as a gag, or a parody of conservatism, but I’ve never really seen any interviews with the creators that suggests that they weren’t 100% serious.

  3. Maxo Said,

    October 16, 2008 @ 10:45 am

    That’s the problem with hardcore members of any group – you start to believe your own hype. And it’s frightening to be reminded that a few loudmouthed radio jocks actually have the ears of elected representatives.

    Thanks for the timely post, Scott!