Cartoonist: Alex Schumacher
WHAT IS IT?
As the cover claims, this is a collection of Alex Schumacher's magazine work, each being a socio-political cartoon rarely more than a page or two in length.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
As stated, Defiling the Literati is less of a comic with an overarching plot, and more of a collection of socio-political cartoons Schumacher has done over the years.
They're definitely left-leaning, and many of the one-off comics skewer everything from, Trump & Nixon, to feminism, to growing up and feeling like more and more of a stranger in this crazy world.
Roughly half of the collection is dedicated to Mr. Butterchips, a talking monkey. Each of these one-page comics tackles institutional problems with America: poverty, taxes, prison and more. Though he's crude and his life might be very different from your own, Mr. Butterchips is likable, and you can see some of yourself in him and his troubles.
This is my first time reviewing a collection of literary magazine cartoons. I'm more used to traditional comics. That being said, Alex Schumacher's work was well-made and enjoyable, surprising and disruptive. It's hard to compare it to anything beyond individual political cartoons I've seen in the past, so I can't claim expertise here. But I definitely see value in this collection, and think you may, too.
Schumacher's cartoons are straightforward, unmissable, and powerful because of it
The cartoons lean strongly liberal which, if you're reading this, you probably do, too
There's a good balance between the light and humorous comics (like the Easter Bunny and technology ones) and the heavier stuff, leading to a well-rounded reading experience with its own emotional arc
Schumacher's paneling and framing shows talent and variety, pulling from classic cartoon styles and updating them with his own keen visual eye along the way
The lettering looks hand-drawn, and the balloons often have shapes or textures that give the reader more to take in than the plain word bubbles they may see elsewhere, elevating the cartoon style
Similar to the lettering, the art inside takes that cartoonish, clean-lined style, often updating it with physical, adult humor or subject matter (like in the below)
While many of the comics themselves are funny, behind that humor, you can tell that Schumacher is as tired and angry as many of us feel – it's really nice to see that in a political cartoon, rather than tongue-in-cheek subtlety
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Very adult! Cursing, nudity, drug use, lizard-people sex, etc.
Humor and political cartoons are tricky, and different types resonate with different people – the coarseness of Schumacher's style is very different from the more symbolic, family-friendly cartoons you see shared on Facebook
Trigger Warning: Prison r*pe is discussed and, in the digital version, a character (representative of the alt-right or neo-Nazis) uses racial slurs
No color, if that bothers you (which, it shouldn't, if you're a fan of political cartoons)
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Alex Schumacher has collected the best of his work in this collection. At times both crude and hilarious, and at others impassioned and emotional, Schumacher's work is always provocative and thoughtful. A must-have for any fan of socio-political cartoons.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Alex Schumacher characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Alex Schumacher or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED