Friday, August 24, 2012
It's the Economy, Stupid...or is it?
The economy's been a disastrous, flaming mess for (at least) the past ten years. Michael Goodwin and Dan Burr's Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn't Work) in Words and Pictures does an admirable job of not only documenting the history of American (and sometimes world) economics, but also boils down the nuts and bolts of how money affects things on both a social and political level.
Economix takes an obvious note from Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, casting Goodwin in the narrator role, interspersing it with caricatures of historical figures that border on editorial. Burr's simplistic and clean style suffers when it comes to Goodwin's avatar, however: there's something almost creepy and generic, as Burr's expressiveness seems restrained, held back to keep the author from shifting into becoming a "goofy cartoon character." Maybe it's the lack of fully formed ears and nose, or maybe just the soulless beady eyes floating in Goodwin's glasses that creep me out. As an avatar meant to engage the reader, Burr's version of Goodwin falls short; this is alleviated, however, by Goodwin's ability to boil down as complex and painful a subject as economics into a readable graphic novel.
The strength of Economix lies in its sense of humor, one that sprouts up the most once we get towards the 20th century. It's a book that should go on the bookshelves of every voter (which, in a perfect world, would be every American adult), Democrat or Republican, as we gear up for an the brutal 2012 election.