My review of PARECOMIC (2013), written by Sean Michael Wilson, drawn by Carl Thompson, lettering by some font (thank God it's not Comic Sans)
It's an infodump comic about Michael Albert's life and the participatory-economics vision he has worked on (with Robin Hahnel) ★★★★☆
About 200 pages tell you in black and white about Albert's life as a student activist, the general political climate in the US during the 60s and 70s and beyond, the founding of the alternative media projects South End Press (closed in 2014) and Z Communications with Lydia Sargent; and many progressive authors make an appearance or are mentioned in passing: Barbara Ehrenreich, Bertell Ollman, Noam Chomsky of course, and so on (while these folks are to the left of what's considered respectable opinion by the establishment, I wouldn't call any of them Marxist except Ollman).
The cover picture tells you it's all about this smug wanker standing in front of the United States Capitol telling you how to solve all problems of society, but inside it's warts and all. The drawings, whether of friend or foe, don't make them look cool or sexy. An old Michael Albert, often looking tired, takes you back to a time where a young Albert is full of… being even more tired and grumpy (and, on rare occasion, on drugs). There's a scene where young Albert gives a passionate speech and doesn't get any reaction from the students. Why would you tell people about that event? It's an honest piece.
The first part of it is brilliant, densely weaving together personal anecdotes and reflections on them and developments in society at large, peppered with quotes from Aristotle to Springsteen. Some parts are not, like when Albert drones on and on about what a great pal Chomsky is, gets some prize handed to him by Mikhail Gorbachev (eww), or the part where a fictional Marx gets convinced that Parecon is the way (it's just ah-yes-yes, poor Marx doesn't even get in one zinger). Especially towards the end, the visuals show too much people talking instead of visualizing what they are talking about. When you have long text and the font is all caps, it's good to make liberal use of highlighting. If there's another edition of PARECOMIC, I hope they'll do that (for example, I would bold all names). It ends with a good sPost too long. Click here to view the full text.