Parecomic: The Story of Michael Albert and Participatory Economics

Sean Michael Wilson and Carl Thompson, intro by Noam Chomsky. Seven Stories, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-60980-456-5
As a primer on the history and theory of participatory economics, this title is never short on ideas, tracing the development of Michael Albert’s theories on self-management, social justice, and internationalism, and their origins in the civil disobedience and consciousness-raising movements of the late ’60s and early ’70s. As a student at MIT, Albert was inspired by the culture of activism to found Z magazine, ZNet, and the International Organization for a Participatory Society. Some readers may wonder why Wilson (AX: Alternative Manga) and Thompson (the webcomie Green Benches) have chosen Albert’s story for treatment as a visual narrative, and that treatment definitely makes some of book’s issues more palatable to a wider audience. Artist Thompson is also very adept at marrying the literal and the symbolic to allow Wilson’s prose, and therefore Albert’s ideas, to resonate with readers. There are moments, though, when the book stalls and readers find themselves wading through lengthy, text-heavy panel sequences featuring shots of Albert discussing a given issue. Still, Thompson and Wilson can be very inventive with their effects. Parecomic is inspired at times, and as a treatise on participatory economics, it’s pretty great. As a comic, though, it’s just pretty good. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 05/07/2013
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