Living & Dying in America: A Daily Chronicle, 2020–2022

Fantagraphics. Sept. 2022. 480p. ISBN 9781683965534. $29.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
This devastating visual diary from Brodner (The Trumpiad; Freedom Fries), a widely published political cartoonist and caricature artist, spans March 26, 2020, through January 1, 2022, during which time Brodner reviewed the news each evening and sketched one person or event who’d shaped that day’s happenings. These some-478 sledgehammer portraits document the victims, perpetrators, and results of losses and lies relating to the COVID pandemic, of minority oppression, climate change, migrant mistreatment, attempts at voter suppression, and above all, the chaos unleashed by Donald Trump and his followers. The occasional praiseworthy news items that appear in Brodner’s drawings, like the story of an immigrant family reunited, serve only to emphasize their rarity. The book’s art varies—from realistic black-and-white sketches honoring COVID patients and caregivers, to savagely distorted mixed-media satire, e.g., when Brodner chastises Kevin McCarthy as the love child of red-baiter Joseph McCarthy and ventriloquist puppet Charlie McCarthy or slams Mike Pence’s lies by reworking the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence.”
VERDICT A wrenching moral call to awareness and action that belongs in social sciences, history, and medicine collections and on curricula for high schoolers and up.
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