Bumf vol. 1: I Buggered the Kaiser

Bumf vol. 1: I Buggered the Kaiser is a 120-page, full size B&W comic with color covers, perfect bound, written and illustrated by Joe Sacco, published by Fantagraphics Books.

This comic is cutting satirical commentary on the abuse of power. It is perhaps the best representation I’ve seen in pop culture of the absurdity of government paranoia and overreach in the guise of public security interests that grips our present day life. Artist and writer Joe Sacco perfectly captures the current atmosphere of assigning fear to the unknown unknown things we don’t know we don’t know in a Donald Rumsfeld-esque inspired comedy of horrors that resemble reality a little too closely for comfort.

In Bumf Sacco chooses to use Richard Nixon as the embodiment of a corrupt, all powerful leader that believes by virtue of his position he is beyond corruption, and quite possibly beyond the failings of humanity itself. Sacco delivers his lampoonery by quickly setting the stage of humanity’s descent from the pristine Garden of Eden to the soiled streets of New York in the shadow of 9/11 and the Global War on Terrorism. In this bizarre place Richard Nixon wakes in the White House beside an unaware Michelle Obama. As Tricky Dick settles into his return to the White House, the First Lady nonchalantly goes about her business oblivious to to her husband’s metamorphosis. Placing the power-hungry persona of Nixon against the modern backdrop of video game-like drone bombings, human pyramids, attack dogs, naked hooded bodies, water boarding, and general warfare really illustrates the downward spiral we’ve taken in the wake of the unrealized promises of hope and change pinned to President Obama’s election.

Award winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco includes himself in Bumf, first as a military leader completely incompetent but willing to lead his troops into certain death because that is the role he’s been handed, and by golly a soldier soldiers on. A not so subtle repudiation of the asinine blind devotion to duty that feeds the war machine in spite of reason, or more simply, common sense. Later the character of Sacco serves the war effort as a graphic novelist and continues to play this role throughout Bumf as he documents the events of the story he is telling.

As a graphic novelist, Joe Sacco’s art is engaging. The polished line work and abundant detail fill the pages with expertly rendered images that the reader will marvel at for their technical finesse while at the same time be repulsed by because of their subject matter. The story told here, although treated as a cartoon brimming with dark humor, is nonetheless a sad observation on the current state of affairs. The West has been at war against an ideology for a decade as world leaders fan the fires of fear, corporate leaders profit, and the media grapple for ratings by feeding disharmony. In these bleak times Joe Sacco has managed to preserve this moment in history as a collection of powerful words and black & white drawings that tell the disparaging tale of our woeful entry into the 21st century, and much like ZAP stands out as representative of the ’60s and ’70s counterculture, Bumf will serve as a testament to the ’00s paranoia and brutality.

You can find your copy of Bumf vol. 1: I Buggered the Kaiser at http://bit.ly/1xLuXIz but hurry before this comic is banned for your protection!

via Almost Normal Comics on Tumblr at http://bit.ly/1HeyR1L

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