Thursday, August 27, 2015

#Blaugust Day 27: Corndog Girl

In the world of comic books, Marvel and DC have both been in a period of flux recently. Worlds have ended, characters have been rebooted, it's a whole thing. If you were invested in existing superhero comics, it can seem like a bad time. But some amazing books are coming out of the chaos. One of those is Prez.

The original Prez came out in 1973 as part of DCs attempts to appeal to 'the kids of today'. It followed a teenager, Prez Rickard, who was elected President of the United States after the eligibility age was lowered. His book only ran 4 issues, and he's showed up occasionally since then, usually as an easter egg or in an alternate reality story. If you know the character, it's most likely from the story Neil Gaiman wrote using him in Sandman issue 54.

Where the original Prez came out in a time of youth protests and political action, this new one taps into today's social media frenzies, reality stars, and corporate power. The setting is near future; to me it feels like a few years down the line on the road to the world of Transmetropolitan. Corporate personhood has been established by amendment (CEOs are anonymous figures behind holographic representations of their corporation), votes can be cast via Twitter, and an endorsement from an internet celebrity can win you Ohio.

Pharmaduke is the sensational new character find of 2015

In this strange yet scarily familiar world, we follow Beth Ross as she goes from unwilling internet meme (she accidentally fried her braid in a corn dog frier) to President. For the first two issues she's very much out of her depth and subject to forces beyond her control. The third issue, which came out yesterday, is where we see her start to realize that she has an opportunity here, and maybe she can do something great.

She's not wrong

I mentioned earlier that this feels to me like a world that could eventually become the world of Transmetropolitan. More importantly, this book feels like it could be the next Transmetropolitan. Obviously Beth has nothing in common with Spider Robinson, but the book has a lot of that same twisted humor and strange yet familiar setting, and uses it to poke at the idiocies of the real world. The third issue just came out yesterday, so there's a good chance you could find the whole run so far at your local comic book store. It's also on Comixology if you prefer digital comics. Read it. You won't be disappointed.

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