In the wake of September 11, David Rees gave critics of the Bush administration’s response three-paneled doses of much-obliged comic relief. On October 9, 2001, the cartoonist debuted the first installment of his “glorious excoriation of our post-9/11 loony bin,” Get Your War On.
With a 90’s clip art aesthetic and Real Ultimate Power sensibility, the comic strip is a brilliant mix of humdrum office culture, rabid heterosexuality, and government satire, showing that hyperbolic patriotic affirmations from white-collared workers (and Voltron) make for awesome political critique.
Since Operation: Enduring Freedom provided the inspiration for Get Your War On over seven years ago, the cartoon has spun off into two books, one play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and now a weekly, online animated series courtesy of the mock pundits at the Huffington Post’s (where Rees sometimes blogs) version of The Daily Show, 23/6.
It’s the best thing to come out of 23/6 so far – the Swift Kids for Truth come in second and the McCain Girls get third – and it reinforces my feeling that comics can translate to web shows swimmingly. Check out Fatal Farm’s Lasagna Cat or the New Yorker’s Animated Cartoons if you need evidence.
And hey, independent content producers and new media studios! Need an idea for a new online series? Mine the pages of your alternative weekly and back issues of the local paper’s funny pages. There’s an abundance of untapped material.
I’ll even make the first choice easy for you. Make a show out of Red Meat. It’s underground enough to be hip, but has enough of a following to be a financial success. And don’t worry, Max Cannon, I don’t need any residuals. Just send me one of those Earl t-shirts as a thank you.