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Everyman: Be the People
Review by Kerry Garvin

Story
Everyman Review: Cover Image
Everyman: Be the People

Story
Dan and Steven Goldman
 
Art
Joe Bucco

Publisher
FWD Books
 
Format
Softcover Original
 
Publish Date
October 2004
 
Cover Price
$6.00
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

If only I knew about this book last November, as I lay on my couch moping through election night and the bleak days that followed, I might have been comforted. If only I had picked up Everyman: Be the People and allowed myself to drift off into my American political dream scenario. The Brothers Goldman and Joe Bucco gave me a story to do just that and I walked through my depression none the wiser to their intriguing story and ideas. Now that I’ve discovered it, albeit tardily, part of me wishes their story was truth rather than fiction and the rest of me is hopeful that come November 2008 I’ll have an outcome that restores my faith in American politics.

Everyman: Be the People is a fictional account of a US election. Although the story is about the 2004 election, it is not about President Bush and Senator Kerry. Incumbent president Henry Birch fills Bush’s role here as the very Republican, conservative candidate with a questionable track record. Manolo Perez, an aide to President Birch learns of the President’s plot to steal the election with fraudulent electronic voting machines. Perez tips off the leaders of grassroots organizations One Love to let them know of the upcoming plot. What they do with the information and how they use it grabs America by the throat and doesn’t let go. The American political and governmental systems may never by the same again.

The Brothers Goldman offer liberal Democrats and left-wing activists an alluring daydream to ponder as we suffer through our current political climate. Everyman allows us to imagine a better scenario and the power of change that we didn’t see last November. The idea that the boys present is certainly interesting and thought-provoking no matter ones political leanings. It happens to use a Republican leader much like the one we have now, but the book would still succeed with a Democratic president with few story and plot modifications. Although the book is inherently left-leaning, the idea that an election could be stolen is hardly partisan. This aspect of the story is very appealing.

Despite the engrossing nature of the story, it is not without flaws. The story is rife with idealism and some truly unbelievable situations. While I realize the book is fiction, it is hard to imagine some situations in the book playing out in real life. For example, at one point One Love members Thomas Womack and Perdita Orozco seal themselves in the White House press room. In our high security post 9/11 world, it is impossible for me to believe that two unarmed citizens could hijack any part of the White House with such ease. Also, like most politicians, Everyman is excessively wordy. The Goldmans could have easily cut down the text to improve the story.

Finally, if there is one aspect of the book where the Goldmans succeed, it is in their characters. Presidential aide Perez and best-selling author and One Love member Womack are great characters. Womack in particular is developed well. The reader is given just enough information to feel at ease with him, but not told everything. I was left with a few questions about this character and will look to future volumes for answers.

Art

As I said before, the book is filled with copious word balloons. Bucco is not left with a lot of room to show off. Unfortunately, this is a detriment to the book. He isn’t given the chance to draw backgrounds and is stuck with head and body shots. Many of the panels could have been made more interesting if the perspective was changed. Also, although the realm of politics is most definitely intense and the subject matter here involved a lot of rage, the characters constantly look angry. Something about their eyes make many appear rageful when they actually aren’t.

Everyman Review: Interior Image

I was also not impressed with the layout of the book. The text in the balloons is small and their placement on the page unfortunate in many cases as the gutter swallows up the edges of many conversations. To read all the words I felt like I needed a magnifying glass and to break the spine of the book. All would be vastly improved if Bucco was given more room and used that room more effectively.

Final Words

Future volumes of the book, detailing the happenings in the One Love White House, are planned. I’m interested in reading where the Goldmans take their characters, hopefully exploring their political platform and personal relationships. I want to know how they can work with Congress to achieve their goals. Even though the book has some kinks with the art and layout that should be worked out before volume two, the story is interesting and warrants a series.

Recommended


Kerry Garvin (email) is a total nerd. She once made a robot out of tin foil for a boy she loved, but was too shy to deliver it. Kerry can also be found rambling at The Comic Queen and A View From the Ham.
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