NOT JUST satirists are having a field day with this fertile election-season field. As the presidential contenders and pretenders gradually separate like wheat and chaff (or Iowa grain and gaffe), even the comic biographers can sink their storytelling teeth into the campaign corn.
â€œThere are so many choosing to take the field this election season â€” all with interesting backstories and diverging beliefs â€” that Iâ€™d have to say yes, the deep field makes for fertile ground,â€ comic-book writer Michael Frizell tells The Postâ€™s Comic Riffs, noting that â€œitâ€™s fun to compare and contrast the candidates.â€
â€œThere are so many players in this election to date,â€ says Darren G. Davis, publisher of StormFront (previously Bluewater) comics, which is relishing in the companyâ€™s third presidential election season. â€œSo we have a lot of material and subjects to choose from that will last us through November 2016.â€
The Washington state-based publisher launched its Political Power line of books in 2008, featuring comic biographies of Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton, as well as McCain and Palin. Now, StormFront is focusing on political dynasties, as this week it releases its newest book: â€œPolitical Power: Jeb Bush â€” Legacy.â€
The cover depicts the candidate straining to literally uphold the Bush name like a political Atlas. Inside, the comic opens with patriarch Prescott Bush digging for skulls likes a good Bonesman, in a nod to his membership in Yaleâ€™s Skull and Bones Secret Society. Much of the story focuses on the presidencies of Jebâ€™s father and brother. The most biting part of the book is perhaps Barbara Bushâ€™s quote about whether the nation needs another Bush in the White House, and the story is at its most heartwarming when Jeb meets his wife-to-be while teaching in Leon, Mexico, in 1970.
â€œMy favorite books to write have been Rand Paul and Jeb Bush. Exploring the impact their family legacies have on their decision to enter the race and how they conduct themselves helped shape the books,â€ says Frizell, a Missouri State University educator and performer whose other StormFront/Bluewater biographies include Prince, Miley Cyrus, Bono, Sheryl Sandberg and Gen.Â David Petraeus.
â€œDynastic politics has emerged as the leading theme of the 2016 election cycle,â€ artist Joe Paradise, who illustrated the â€œJeb Bushâ€ comic, tells The Postâ€™s Comic Riffs. â€œBoth major parties have believed-to-be-inevitable frontrunners with very familiar last names leading their respective conferences.
â€œIn both parties, the base seems less than thrilled about their partyâ€™s â€˜inevitableâ€™ choice,â€ continues Paradise, who has also illustrated â€œFemale Force: Hillary Clinton â€” The Graphic Novelâ€ and Ron and Rand Paul comic books. â€œThis is showing up as tremendous momentum for candidates considered to be outliers â€” if not an outright joke â€” just a few months ago.â€
As the campaign season heats up, StormFront is moving ahead with comic biographies of such candidates as Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and recently updated its Donald Trump bio-book.
â€œI am proud that we are part of the new generation of political memorabilia,â€ Davis tells Comic Riffs with a certain paternal joy. â€œWhen Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Ron Paul sign copies for you, you know you are doing something right.â€