Sunday, January 23, 2011

Now This Is Weird

(If you insist on having some context for this wonderfully bizarre image, it's here.)

So, Antarctic Press has started a new comic-book series featuring Sarah Palin and a suit of steam-powered robot armor.
Chris Murphy at Comics Alliance has reviewed the first (and so far only) issue, which he declares "so bad it's good":
Steampunk Palin hopes to capitalize on the popularity of two things. First, former Vice Presidential Candidate and ex-Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, whose life story of beauty queen to elected official to media celebrity has captivated a nation, both for those who find her to be an inspiring voice to the Tea Party movement of libertarian-influenced conservatives, and those who derive perverse entertainment from many of her public statements and behavior.

The second thing is steampunk, a literary genre that borrows the notions of cyberpunk and transplants them into an alternate history past or fantasy world, usually influenced by the works of H.G. Wells or Jules Verne. It's often characterized by the use of advanced technology substitutes reliant on non-electrical power, and a visual aesthetic heavy on intricately designed gearworks. ...

And while I'm willing to believe this book when it tells me it's trying to depict Sarah Palin, my response to the idea that it can be characterized as steampunk is more along the lines of "Hold on there." Although to be fair to the book, Steampunk Palin defies classification into any literary genre, unless there's a genre I'm unaware of simply called "WTF?!?"
Some other high points of weirdness: first, Sarah Palin isn't the only contemporary political figure to get the steam-powered robot upgrade: Barack Obama is also turned into a cyborg ("Robama"), and John McCain gets a robot arm, and they all team up to save Alaska from marauding Russians and rapacious energy companies. Second, the nefarious plot to steal all the energy (all of it!) is headed by none other than Al Gore! An evil Al Gore, going by the nom de guerre "Professor Greenhouse."


I figured a publishing house that could produce that would probably have lots of other, equally oddball offerings, and Antarctic Press's website doesn't disappoint.

There's another, even more cheesecake series starring Palin: "Sarah Palin, Rogue Warrior" ...

... "President Evil," in which all the dead U.S. Presidents rise from their graves to feast on the living, and President Obama has to battle them ...
... and, probably the least off-the-wall of any of them, "The Governator," which imagines Arnold Schwarzenegger's tenure as Governor of California as it might have gone if he really were an amalgam of all his action-hero movie characters:
Unfortunately, these politicians are not all lampooned equally in their comic-book representations; Sarah Palin, besides being made into a cartoon character, is also objectified and sexualized in ways that Barack Obama, John McCain, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are not. (About a third of the pages in Steampunk Palin #1 are devoted to pinup art of her; you can see an example at the Comics Alliance post I linked).

That's not going to surprise anyone who's even slightly familiar with either comic books or how Sarah Palin is usually depicted in the media; it's still depressing, though, that we're not yet able to caricature female politicians without turning them into hags, bimbos or sex objects.

3 comments:

Leah Jane said...

When I first heard of this marriage of Palin and steampunk in conversation, I thought, "Well, perfect, fits her fiendishly anachronistic views like a leather glove." But now, seeing that?
Come on, people! This is lazy and sexist. Funny how the two go hand-in hand.

Nitz the Bloody said...

....Obama and Palin team up in "Steampunk Palin" to save Alaska from oil companies? What?

Anonymous said...

Good section of text I have to admit. Well penned and extremely useful, cheers!