Upon the shelves of Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City, I spied a graphic anthology called Occupy Comics. It contained subversive political stories, about or related to the Occupy movement, by famous and rising cartoonists. It also contained the essay “Buster Brown and the Barricades” by Alan Moore. Not surprisingly, the best comic book writer in the world (whose avenging anti-hero V—co-created with David Lloyd—has become a world-recognized symbol of uprising and resistance) can also give us unique education about the history and sociology of the medium. Among many other insights, Alan revealed the origin of the word “cartoon:” In the politically volatile 17th-century Italy, muckrakers took to drawing satirical images of political figures on the sides of carboard boxes—which were called cartons. Soon the images were known by the same name as the containers which acted as the poor man's canvas. From early on, cartoons were a way to communicate revolutionary ideas to the masses. In the 18th century, cheap paper became more widely available, and cartoons moved into broader distribution, and more refined art and writing techniques—but kept much of their incendiary spirit.
Inspired by this retrospective on the subversive art, and the new set of tales for the 99%, I brought forward an idea from my cerebral back-burner. A two-page story from a disillusioned fan of science fiction literature and Isaac Asimov's positronic robots, who recently saw Jeremy Scahill's provocative documentary film Dirty Wars. Perhaps the Fleischer brothers were there first—the “Mechanical Monsters” of this 1940s Superman animated cartoon bear an eerie resemblance to modern drones (and I must credit my mother for pointing this out when I showed her said cartoon.) Wendell Berry said: “FOR A NATION TO BE, in the truest sense, patriotic, its citizens must love their land with a knowing, intelligent,sustaining, and protective love.”... “And they must not allow their patriotism to be degraded to a mere loyalty to symbols or any present set of officials.” And so, in the patriotic spirit of July, I present “The Supreme Law.”
Top: Reuters photo of protestors in Bangkok, Thailand, with homemade versions of the V mask, used here for educational purposes only.