‘Campaigners #1 & #2’ Comic Review
Written by Brendan Hykes; Art by MJ Barros; Lettering by Sean Rinehart; Editing and consulting by Mey Valdivia Rude
Kydra Frank is one of the main protagonists in Campaigners, and she is about to find herself in the center of political controversy. It all starts because of an on-the-spot interview conducted by a local news reporter. When asked whether or not she is excited to vote for the first time in the country’s tri-centennial, Kydra is not shy about her negative opinion of the country’s election process, specifically in regards to the presidential candidates “bashing each other’s faces.”
Apparently, this election procedure is a much more violent ordeal than American elections today. In fact, the process is essentially a boxing match to the death. It reduces the whole idea of an election to a national sporting spectacle. What is worse is that the citizens are easily wrapped up in the brutal proceedings. Worst of all, Kydra believes that it is simply entertainment meant to keep the people blinded to true, effective democracy.
The high school girl does not appear to be wrong either. It seems as if the president is only a figurehead for the people to look upon, while others behind the scenes quietly dictate the president’s actions and policies. Even the president is starting to realize that he has no power and no real knowledge about the documents that are constantly being pushed across his desk.
Overall, Campaigners has a great concept, and quickly gives readers background on the savage political process without having the two issues focus solely on that aspect of the story. Instead, the writer showcases Kydra and how she became the focus of social media and potential political change.
More specifically, the two issues explore Kydra’s feelings about her interview going viral. Her reaction is somewhat surprising as Kydra appears withdrawn. This withdrawn nature is especially apparent when she has the chance to connect with like-minded people at a protest, organized by her friend, Bianca Faye, or Bee. After such an outspoken interview on television, one would not expect Kydra to shy away from action when there is a chance to initiate change. Frankly, her timid response made me see parallels between her and the current president. Both have perceived power, but at the end of the day, the unknown people behind them are orchestrating everything. Now the question is, “who will use their followers to create actual power for themselves?”
While Campaigners has governmental procedures at its forefront, it showcases how government policies can influence public opinion into inhumane ways of thinking as well. Of course one example is the barbaric presidential procedures the people have come to readily accept. Then there is the harassment Bee faces because she is a transgender woman too. Thankfully, not everyone has been corrupted into thinking harassment is okay. Another student, aside from Kydra, interjects when Bee is called “a freak” and is grabbed by a male student during the school day. Part of the harasser’s objection apparently stems from the rules about how boys should dress, and it is not simply a school-wide rule. It is a country-wide regulation that the police enforce with physical means.
The policing of clothing is just a superficial aspect of a much more problematic ideology regarding gender identity, expression, and gender roles; however it is this legislation allows the toxic beliefs to fester and legally “justify” harassment of the transgender community. Although America outside of this comic realm does not have this particular demeaning regulation, state laws such as North Carolina’s Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, which rules citizens must use the bathroom corresponding to their “biological sex,” are accomplishing the same effect.
In many ways, Campaigners is giving readers a hyper-sensationalized version of our current political and social climate. Sadly, the injustices plaguing the transgender community are realistic, and while the current political process is not nearly as terrifying and vicious, many people could argue that election campaigns can become a superficial spectacle or a verbal “brawl” between candidates. In that way, Campaigners provides readers with critique of America’s shortcomings. It does this while entertaining and reminding readers that change is possible, and the result is a comic series well-worth reading.
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