A Graphic Welcome for the RNC

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As politicians and businesses in the Twin Cities rev up for the Republican National Convention this September, groups throughout the region from all points on the political spectrum are preparing to welcome the GOP to town in various unique ways.

There’s the expected mobilization of protest groups, but there are also anti-authoritarian zines, yard-sign contests, zealous corporate sponsors, and tacky-pants enthusiasts. The latest addition to this list is cartoonists, who have lent their RNC-themed drawings to the hometown alt-weekly, City Pages, for its second-annual Comix Issue.

The offerings by local artists are many and varied, especially in the unabridged online edition. Titles range from “Elephantitis” to “Michelle Bachman’s RNC Diary” to “Zubaz of Freedom,” the last an homage to the RNC’s aforementioned tacky-pants mandate.

The quality varies–some of the strips falter when they load up their panels with tired jabs at easy targets; others buckle under self-seriousness–but in general it’s a fair sampling of the area’s artists and their political wit. One of my favorites is “Xcape From Xcel,” by Kevin Cannon, a single-panel strip envisioning a board game inside the convention’s host arena, the Xcel Energy Center (which was also, incidentally, the venue for Barack Obama’s first speech as the presumptive Democratic nominee back in June). For example, one square says, “You’re wearing a flag pin! Continue playing.”

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