Friday, August 3, 2007

Beyond Doonesbury and Mallard Fillmore

I spend in inordinate amount of time thinking about the comics pages, and sometimes it's obvious where the characters fall in the political spectrum. The party affiliations of the 'toons in Get Fuzzy are often incorporated into the strips (to the extent that a talking dog and cat can join a political party, at least). Other times it's a tad more cryptic; it's safe to say, however, that the cavemen in B.C. are solid Republicans. (And don't tell me that there was no Republican Party back in the time of cavemen. There was no Jesus then either, but that doesn't stop them from talking about him every chance they get.)

Sometimes, though, you have to dig deeper to find the political messages hidden in the funnies. Take Archie, for instance, a wholesome American lad whose comics are, against all logic, still being published (I always got Archie confused with Bazooka Joe, but I guess that's another story). Anyway, when Archie's not getting into (presumably?) funny situations, he enjoys pushing creationism and echoing the talking points of powerful corporate lobbies. Pretty soon he and the gang will be breaking into the Riverdale Democratic Committee and planting bugs -- if Jughead doesn't eat them first!

Then there's Spider-Man, fighting against criminals and misinformation about sex, as in this comic sponsored by Planned Parenthood. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Spider-Man seems to be a Democrat, I suppose. I mean, he lives in liberal New York City, is a member of the liberal media, and was driven to superheroics out of liberal guilt for his uncle's death. The details of the story are a bit dated: today, the hot-button issue is abstinence-only sex education, not brainwashing teens into getting knocked up so as to provide a steady source of child labor for a distant planet (although you never can be sure with this administration . . . ).

So to recap, the best comics-based propaganda the Right can muster is Archie, while the Left has a web-slinging crimefighter who stars in blockbuster movies. If I were Mel Martinez, I'd be on the phone day and night trying to get Garfield on my side.

No comments: