Monday, 9 November 2009

“Barack Obama: The Comic Book Biography”, by Jeff Marriotte, et al. (IDW Publishing)

BarackObama-ComicBookBiography

A different approach to Obama’s life, campaign & presidency

This mini-biography of President Obama is certainly different from the standard fare that has clogged up bookstore shelves the world over. Sadly, this is not necessarily a good thing.

The concept of this book is pretty interesting (comic book about a real-live politician), and I admit to having bought it solely because it was something new and different from the multitude of Obama-campaign and –presidency books that are starting to flood out of publishing houses the US over.

In just a few pages, the authors rattle through his childhood and upbringing, his college years, his first campaigns, his presidential campaign, and then his first 100 days in office. A pretty ambitious goal, for sure, but the book really suffers from its brevity – too much is left out, though they do manage to include all of his most important/noteworthy speeches.

Given the numerous quotations taken from Obama’s two books – Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope – one can’t help but wonder why bother with this, if you’ve already read those? The art is interesting, but hardly life-like or even close to resembling some of the people portrayed.

In all there’s not a lot on offer here (nothing new except the approach), if you’ve read any book on Obama or his campaign, and certainly not if you followed the campaign and his early presidency. I think the only people who will get much out of this are younger readers and those people who either a). don’t have the time to read Obama’s book, or b). people who can’t be bothered to read the books.

I think the Spiderman issue that featured Obama would have been a better buy.

An interesting idea, but ultimately quite flawed.

Alternatives: Barack Obama, Dreams From My Father (2004) & The Audacity of Hope (2006); David Mendell, Obama: From Promise to Power (2009); David Plouffe, The Audacity to Win (2009); Richard Wolffe, Renegade (2009); Evan Thomas, A Long Time Coming (2009); Daniel Balz, The Battle for America 2008 (2009)

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