By Dustin Cabeal
Simply put, Unpresidential is about Kim Jong Un running for President of the United States after Donald Trump disappears one day. I’m telling you clear as day what Unpresidential is about so that you understand instantly that the book is satire, ridiculous and exactly what everyone that’s been screaming at the world of politics for the last year needs.
Why? Because Unpresidential illustrates just how jacked up, ridiculous and upsetting the current state our country is in. At first glance, you might think that it’s only seeking to poke fun at Republicans, but it’s not. Neither side of the divide is safe, but you can definitely see how the Repubs were a bigger target.
At times you’ll think, this book is too much. It’s too far past the realm of realism, but let me remind you that the majority of voting Americans felt that there wasn’t a chance in hell of Trump winning the White House. Just a reminder, he’s on month ten now… so… maybe it’s too ridiculous to believe that Kim Jong Un is the love child of a Bald Eagle and George Washington and so technically an American citizen, but there are also people that think the earth is flat and have go-fund-me pages to prove it.
Perhaps the best single page of this entire story is the second page. I want so badly to spoil it for you, but I can’t. I laughed my ass off because it was just too perfect for the story. Diving into the writing it’s very “woke.” The team of Man vs. Rock which consists of Kevin Bieber and Victor Reynolds have their finger on the pulse of the political and social media world and do so without bringing up “Fake News” nine billion times. Things like every big political scandal that seemed to be overlooked or forgiven too easily during the election, to things like starving kids in Africa wearing the losing teams champion football shirt. The gags are non-stop and consistent. There’s a consistent comedic voice throughout the story, and it never pushes too far. It reminded me of when I first read MAD and understood the jokes that I was reading. It felt as if no one was safe and that they were really like a funnier version of political cartoons. Unpresidential is funnier than political cartoons as well but hasn’t lost its tenacity the way that MAD has since being purchased by DC.
I only have a few gripes with the comic and the first stems from the lettering which was fine overall, but there would be spots in which ha different font would be used, and it would also have a stroke effect to it. I wasn’t crazy about this as it broke me out of the story some. It was just too much of a stark contrast to the other lettering which I’m sure was the point, but it extended too far.
The only other thing to nitpick is the art. It’s inconsistent, but I get that it’s the style the artist is going for in order to amplify the comedy. There are times when the style is different and the level of detail greater for a particular gag. I’m forewarning of you that because it is intentional, but I can definitely see some people being bothered or annoyed by it. In general, I wasn’t a huge fan of the art, but it does show a lot of improvement towards the end of the graphic novel. Particularly there’s a moment in which the story gets a bit surreal, and I took note of how improved it looked compared to the beginning of the comic. The art is weaker than the story, but it’s by no means bad and well suited to the story.
Whether people will admit it or not Unpresidential is exactly what we need right now. Not because it’s a breather from all the political chaos in the world, but because it reminds us of how we got here. It doesn’t normalize anything but amplifies how shit fucks crazy it is in reality. We all have these little bubbles of people that see the world the same way and so when reality crashes we wonder if we were a little crazy in how we saw the world. Unpresidential confirms that we did go through a chaotic election year and has the potential to find and unite people in the way social media and family failed to do so, or at the very least you’ll get a laugh and see Mike Pence rub another naked man’s shoulders.
Writers: Man vs. Rock (Kevin Bieber & Victor Reynolds)
Artist: Jeremy Labib
Publisher: Z2 Comics