Friday, September 11, 2015

#IReadsYou Review: PREZ #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER: Mark Russell
PENCILS: Ben Caldwell
INKS: Mark Morales
COLORS: Jeremy Lawson
LETTERS: Travis Lanham
COVER: Ben Caldwell
32pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (August 2015)

Rated “T” for “Teen”

“Corndog in Chief”

Prez was a comic book series created by writer Joe Simon and artist Jerry Grandenetti.  The series, which debuted in 1973, focused on Prez Rickard, the first teenage president of the United States of America.  Prez ran for four issues before being canceled in 1974, and what was to be issue #5 was eventually published in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2.

Like DC Comic's relaunch of its comics line, The New 52, the “DCYou” publishing initiative brings back some obscure, cult, short-lived, and long-canceled comic book series and characters.  Thus, we have a new Prez comic book series, which is written by Mark Russell, drawn by Ben Caldwell (pencils) and Mark Morales (inks), colored by Jeremy Lawson, and lettered by Travis Lanham.

Prez #1 (“Corndog in Chief”) opens in Washington D.C. in the year 2036.  In Conference Room 104A of the U.S. Senate building, a powerful group of senators, known as “The Colonels,” have gathered for an emergency meeting called by one of their own, Senator Thorn.  A week before the presidential election, the incumbent U.S. president has ceased seeking reelection because of a tawdry scandal.  Now, The Colonels must decide whom their hand-picked replacement candidate will be.

Meanwhile, in Eugene, Oregon, at “Li'l Doggies House of Corndogs,” Beth Ross is having an embarrassing time in a workplace video.  Around the same time Beth is having trouble, presidential candidate, Senator Tom Downey, is suffering the indignity of shilling on a popular “videocast” for votes.  Senator Gary Farmer is a candidate, but is nowhere to be seen.  Twitter is going to make one of these three people the next President of the United States.

In my review of another new “DCYou” title, Harley Quinn and Power Girl, I basically said that all the people involved with that comic should be ashamed for putting out such an overwhelmingly mediocre comic book.  In the case of Prez #1, all involved should take a bow.  Part of me is surprised that DC Comics, a subsidiary of a giant media conglomerate, would publish a comic book that savagely lampoons not only American politics, but also corporate media and corporate interests.

Hell, DC Comics just left their historic home of New York City to move to Burbank, California so that it could be closer to its corporate parent's film-making operations.  That way, it would be easier for Warner Bros. Pictures' film and television divisions to exploit DC Comics' copyrights and trademarks.

Part of me doesn't want to buy what Prez is selling.  DC Comics is not a comic book publisher so much as it is a maintainer of copyrights and trademarks and also a lowbrow research and development division for a media corporation's film production and distribution unit.  This comic book reeks of hypocrisy, and the publisher is what its comic book, Prez, is making fun of.  Am I being a hypocrite?  I would totally believe that Prez is genuine if Fantagraphics Books or Rip Off Press published it (or especially defunct Kitchen Sink Press).

Anyway, the future that Prez reveals is now.  We are sick in our messy age.  If Prez is the real deal, then, it should be DC Comics' most popular comic book, especially outside of the usual circles of American comic books.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

The text is copyright © 2015 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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