cover image Barrack Hussein Obama

Barrack Hussein Obama

Steven Weissman. Fantagraphics, $22.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-60699-623-2

It’s not a simple matter to define exactly what this book is. On the one hand, the latest from Weissman (Yikes) seems little more than a series of grotesque caricatures featuring the Obamas, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and a predictable cast of supporting characters. However, the grotesqueness gives way at times to the surreal and, indeed, bizarre, as in an extended sequence in which Obama turns into giant bird, carries off his daughters to a desert island, and promptly metamorphoses into an egg. In the process, Weissman appears to manufacture something rather clever, since the reader’s attempts to impose his or her own political interpretation on the text or to find a narrative thread through the series of disconnected sequences constitute a fool’s game at best. In the end, readers will likely have to be content with being one part giddy and three parts puzzled, for although the book can sometimes be wickedly funny—in no small part due to Weissman’s clever illustrations—it can also be so oblique as to be incomprehensible. Perhaps that’s Weissman’s point: that the farce of contemporary politics has the capacity to make one simultaneously giddy, confused, and disenchanted. (Oct.)