Politics. Is there any other subject so contentious? So fraught with tension? Of course, political cartoons have been around at least since Benjamin Franklin’s well-known “Join or Die,” working to inject a little levity (if not a little venom) into the situation. If nothing else, you can open up your favorite newspaper app and find an image that perfectly encapsulates everything you currently find at issue with the opposing party.
Take all that and combine it with the fact that learning from comics is a hell of a lot more fun than reading walls of text, and really, comic bios of the presidential nominees just make sense. Luckily StormFront Publishing is on top of it. From Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to Jeb Bush and Donald Trump, you can get a background on pretty much any of the major players.
Through both their Female Force (spotlighting powerful and important women, from Julia Child to Michelle Obama) and Political Power series (spotlighting everyone from Jon Stewart to Michele Bachmann), StormFront has created an impressive compendium of political biographies from across the spectrum. With most about the same length as your average comic book—under thirty pages—these are a great way to get a quick background on the candidates. And they are anything but formulaic, specially fitted to each candidate. Bernie Sanders gets a complete, though brief, biography. Jeb Bush’s focuses instead on the background of the Bush legacy and how that’s influenced Jeb’s politics.
When asked why StormFront was publishing bios from across the political spectrum, publisher Darren Davis said, “At the end of the day, I do not want anyone to know who I vote for, so we keep everything unbiased. I also find writers and artist who do not have agendas. It has worked really well so far! We try to keep on both ends of the spectrum.”
StormFront got into political comic bios from a desire to do something outside the comic book norm. They started their Female Force series in 2008 with bios on Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, expanding rapidly to women outside the political spectrum like Oprah and Ellen. After about sixty of those, Davis explains, “people wanted more—so we created the Political Power line of comic books. I thought it would be a great way to entertain as well as educate people in politics. It also makes for great political memorabilia!”
StormFront (previously BlueWater Productions) is one of the top independent publishers of comic books and graphic novels, uniting cutting-edge art with engaging stories produced by the publishing industry’s most exciting artists and writers. They’ve partnered with the likes of William Shatner, Adam West, legendary filmmaker Ray Harryhausen, and novelists S.E. Hinton and William F. Nolan. Biographical comics are something of a speciality for them.
Allyce Amidon is the associate editor at Foreword Reviews. You can follow her on Twitter @allyce_amidon