These Comic Book Superheroes Are Taking On Their Arch Nemesis, Uncle Sam (Video)
For decades (probably even millennia), graffiti has served amongst its many purposes the promotion of awareness and politically-driven messages. By its very nature, graffiti is an anarchist’s weapon, allowing for the promulgation of anti-government (and other forms of push-back) visible to the masses. But what about comic strips? An art form that allows for the delivery of complex, sometimes deeply philosophical messages within a relatively tiny space makes it an efficient way to circulate easily digestible but equally powerful meaning, just like graffiti can. Their bright colors and being easily transferred onto walls and other public spaces make for striking displays that are hard to ignore, and now a group of creative activists are taking that potential to the streets, quite literally, in an effort to fight against corporate greed, particularly its effects on government.
Their moniker – Activist Comics – is straightforward, as is their approach. According to their website, they are “The PSA Crew, a loosely-knit band of street artists in Los Angeles using street art to spread awareness about important civic issues. Originally based on the covers of early Superman “Action Comics,” the idea was to both simplify important issues for a passerby while encouraging activism.” By adorning public spaces with comic-book styled panels, the crew has brought issues like gerrymandering and corporate influence to life by personifying conceptual ideas like voting, justice, and constitutional amendments into well known superheroes like Superman. There are also original characters like Lady Justice, Guilty Jerry, Miss Fair, and others who embody the universal trope of good versus evil and in whom Marvel has apparently expressed interest in optioning.
These artists and others are featured heavily in Where Else But The Streets: A Street Art Dossier, a book compiled by activist and filmmaker John Wellington Ennis whose career-long involvement with politics has made him a key figure in the movement against money in politics. Last year, he released Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes, a documentary that examines the corrupting influence of finance when used to manipulate and in many cases re-invent the way democracy operates. The film, which is available for a rental fee of $4.99, also includes the works of Activist Comics. Check out the trailer below.