cover image Living & Dying in America: A Daily Chronicle, 2020-2022

Living & Dying in America: A Daily Chronicle, 2020-2022

Steve Brodner. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-68396-5534

This sobering gallery of death and greed during the global Covid-19 pandemic from Brodner (The Trumpiad) exemplifies and elevates political caricature (this isn’t the funny pages). Between March 2020 and January 2022, Brodner documents people who suffered through the pandemic as well as those who profited from it. Beginning with a nursing manager, Kious Kelly, who died at a hospital where the staff wore garbage bags as makeshift masks, Brodner’s portraits of public servants who sacrificed their lives to help others are expressive and compassionate. At the same time, Brodner heaps scorn on opportunists like former Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler, who profited off several stock sales in the earliest days of the pandemic. He saves his greatest disdain for Donald Trump, depicting him as a twisted, obscene, vain monster (in one perhaps more hopeful panel, Trump is portrayed screaming behind bars). Brodner’s focus varies from individual stories to larger events, but he maintains a relentless march, full of grief and rage at senseless loss of life. There’s a dense and desperate quality to Brodner’s drawings. It’s a difficult collection to read, in response to difficult times to live through. (Sept.)