cover image Sutton Impact

Sutton Impact

Ward Sutton, . . Seven Stories, $18.95 (160pp) ISBN 978-1-58322-677-3

Political cartooning has a long history, and most political cartoonists learn their craft by studying their predecessors. Sutton, however, comes to the field from the world of alternative comics, and much of the pleasure in this work comes from Sutton's deft use of that medium's tools. His approach owes more to Tom Tomorrow, Matt Groening and Joe Sacco than to Pat Oliphant or Herblock. First, his comics are almost always multipanel affairs, either telling a brief story or making a series of related comments on a particular subject. Second, he rarely uses the broadly symbolic or allegorical characters like Republican elephants and Democratic donkeys. His drawing style recalls that of alternative artists like Joe Matt and Chester Brown. Sutton is unapologetically liberal and assumes the same is true of his readers. He is, not surprisingly, savage on Bush and Cheney, and has strips that are anti–Wal-Mart, anti–Katherine Harris, anti-handguns, anti–Rush Limbaugh, anti-Hummer, etc. But his strongest cartoons are the ones where he addresses the mistakes and weaknesses of his fellow liberals: Nader supporters, apathetic fatalists, Democrats who won't stand up for their beliefs and so on. The strips are often accompanied by annotations, which are mostly unnecessary but occasionally amusing. (July)