Monday, September 28, 2009

Barack the Barbarian#2: where satire meets slapstick

Looking over the second issue of Barack the Barbarian, I still marvel that this is a limited series, rather than a one shot. As I said of the first issue, there is definitely some humour to be mined from casting Conan fan Obama into the role of a barbarian and reenacting his road to the White House as a Conan-style farce, but after you've laughed at the concept once, how does the humour sustain itself?

I suppose I should have remembered that writer Larry Hama is a veteran writer/editor of Crazy Magazine, so he does have a sense of humour beyond the "metafive" of Obama as Conan; for instance, the post-ice age interpretation of basketball:

As to the political satire? It's still about as subtle as Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

This month, Barack journeys into the Labyrinth of Pundits. To cross the threshold, one must answer a riddle from a Sphinx. Barack's Sphinx bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain toothy late night host:

By simply offering his opinion on sports, Barack gets in. Meanwhile, the Old Warrior faces a Sphinx who offers him a low-ball question ("Who's buried in Grant's tomb?") and Red Sarah refuses to answer her Sphinx's question, bluffing and bragging her way into the labyrinth.

Venturing into the Labyrinth of Pundits, we see an amusing series of send-ups of TV pundits, starting with Mo Doubt and continuing on to Choler (Choler: "It means rage!" Barack: "It can also mean diarrhea.")

We continue on to the Tweedledee/Tweedledum duo of Libbow and Billow and the stinky Nose-Pin Sean. If it sounds as though the right-wing take all the lumps in this book, I hasten to add that the lefties get a few jabs; witness, Ubermensch and Rake-Hell:

I still have reservations about the length of this series - in fact, I have no idea how long Devil's Due intends to run it. But Hama breaks out some funny lines and Christopher Schons' loose art is well-suited to the caricatures he unleashes. We'll see how it develops in the end.

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