Amongst the Lib­eral Elite

The Road Trip Ex­plor­ing So­ci­etal In­equities So­lid­i­fied by Trump: (RE­SIST) Elly Lonon, Joan Reilly (Il­lus­tra­tor), pow­er­house Books (OC­TO­BER) Hard­cover $19.95 (156pp) 978-1-57687-905-4

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews | Graphic Novels -

A po­lit­i­cally minded cou­ple em­barks on a semi­ambi­tious cross-coun­try road trip in the comedic graphic novel Amongst the Lib­eral Elite.

Armed with a tax re­fund, the lib­eral-lean­ing Michael and Alex, along with their cat Kit­tery (who’s some­times car­ried in a Baby Bjorn–type ap­pa­ra­tus), de­cide to “re­con­nect with Amer­ica” by vis­it­ing kitschy tourist sites, in­clud­ing sev­eral claim­ing to have the world’s largest fry­ing pan or ball of twine.

As an aid to their un­der­stand­ing Trump vot­ers, this might seem a bit con­de­scend­ing and naïve, but luck­ily, that’s the point. Based on her con­tin­u­ing prose fea­ture in Mcsweeney’s In­ter­net Ten­dency, Elly Lonon pokes fun at lib­er­als’ speech and be­hav­iors while be­ing com­pletely sym­pa­thetic to their cause. Michael and Alex are well-in­ten­tioned, some­times ad­mirable, some­times an­noy­ing fic­tional char­ac­ters who seem very real, down to their so­cial me­dia ob­ses­sions, com­plete with a re­cur­ring, con­vinc­ingly de­picted In­sta­gram feed and hash­tags.

There are a lot of po­lit­i­cal ref­er­ences, many of which might quickly pass (or have passed) their ex­pi­ra­tion date—amongst the Lib­eral Elite is very much an of-the-mo­ment pub­li­ca­tion. But even so, the gen­eral para­noia and guilt of the two main char­ac­ters as they vig­i­lantly guard against any­thing re­sem­bling racism, misog­yny, or po­lit­i­cal in­cor­rect­ness, even in them­selves, is both amus­ing and heart­warm­ing. Reilly’s black-and­white art is up to the task of doc­u­ment­ing the trip, with equal at­ten­tion paid to the sub­tleties of fa­cial ex­pres­sions and phys­i­cal ges­tures and the dis­tinct lack of sub­tlety of road­side cu­riosi­ties.

While “red vot­ers” might not find as much hu­mor in Amongst the Lib­eral Elite, those who lean left will find plenty of self-dep­re­cat­ing laughs that res­onate.

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