cover image Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful

Billionaires: The Lives of the Rich and Powerful

Darryl Cunningham. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-77046-448-3

Cunningham (The Age of Selfishness) cogently combines portraits of the lives and careers of Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, and Jeff Bezos into a graphic treatise that considers both the responsibility that wealth and power demands and the inevitability of such power corrupting absolutely. In chapters on Murdoch and the Koch Brothers, Cunningham portrays young men of privilege corrupted by a relentless desire to amass wealth and power at the expense of others, whether in Murdoch’s collusion with conservative leaders and his brutal suppression of unions, or the Koch Brothers’ efforts to bring fringe Libertarian philosophies into the Republican political mainstream. Cunningham then demonstrates how Bezos’s comparably modest upbringing didn’t prevent him from building an empire that exploits its employees. The minimalist color palette and pared-down visual style render this complex study on the machinations of billionaires consumable in a single sitting. Cunningham jumps from shot to shot through panels infused with irony and symbolism, such as the recurring motif of money emerging from industrial pipes, or giant hands and feet grabbing and crushing. The result is a witty but brutal critique of capitalism and corruption. (Apr.)