My brilliant cartoonist buddy, Kirk Anderson, just sent me a copy of his new Banana Republic book. Â Kirk writes an altie strip where a "Banana Republic" is an allegory for the Bush administration. Â That's Kirk's cool book on the right, buy it here. Â We have an archive of Kirk's Banana Republic strips on our site here. Â
Kirk tells me that he was commissioned to design a tattoo for some guy who wanted the Chinese guy standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square on his arm (I'm guessing the guy doesn't plan to travel to China). Â That's the art on the right - and its pretty cool. Â What Kirk wrote to me about his tattoo job amused me:
I guess tattoos can't replicate quite the same detail and subtlety as, say, Photoshop. Who would have guessed? So when I sent him four sliiiightly altered final designs to choose from, they were all the same to a tattoo artist! I suppose it's like if the chef asked you if you prefer the lasagna with or without the pinch of cardamom. "A pinch of what? A pinch?!" But I think it'll turn out pretty cool. He wanted the protester standing in front of the line of tanks in Tiananmen Square, done in a soviet propaganda style, like he had seen in some older work of mine (The Busheviks' Great Leap Forward). I sketched some roughs with the full line of tanks, and was kindly informed his forearm wasn't THAT big, thanks; and so it was pared down to one tank. Fun project! My drawings on human flesh!
I was wondering how Kirk would make the transition from Bush to Obama, and whether Bush's absence would leave the Banana Republic metaphor ringing a little hollow, and Kirk sent me this:
America's financial house, it turns out, is made of dung and straw, like that of a small, backward Third World nation. Our foreign debt is unsustainable and our currency is unstable, like those of a banana republic. Our rich-poor divide is being super-sized and our banks are being nationalized, like those of equatorial backwater dictatorships. How can anyone make sense of this in anything but a cartoon?
I stand corrected. Â It looks like the Banana Republic metaphor is with us to stay. Â See a great collection of Banana Republic cartoons by Kirk here.