It’s a rare occasion when I worry that a comic book purchase will land me on a Homeland Security watch list. After reading the first chapter of the elegant hardback that I picked up at Westfield Comics, I was concerned.
The Nightly News was creator Jonathan Hickman‘s debut work. In it, he attempts to channel the popular rage that films such as Network andOutFoxed attempted to bring to the forefront. The pages are packed with “info-graphics” which (despite many disclaimers stating that the account is fictional) put forth a great deal of real information as it relates to the structure of corporate media in the United States and the world at-large.
This is a book that was several years ahead of its time. When the first of six issues came out in 2008, we had yet to witness the effects that the Arab Spring, Occupy, and Anonymous movements would have on the popular discourse. The only people screaming about globalization and the concentration of wealth into the hands of an ever-smaller circle of people were anarchists, ultra-liberals, and the basement-dwelling conspiracy theorists.
The book is a scathing indictment of the “systems of control” that have been created over many decades. Media, education, pharmaceuticals—nothing is out of bounds as Hickman verbally assaults the establishment.
Four years after its release, many of the topics that are addressed with violence in The Nightly News are core issues for the rising wave of populism that started with Egypt last spring and continued on through the Winter. Hickman’s mysterious driving force, “The Voice,” would be perhaps proud to see the new generation of activists who are not content to merely wave sins, but actively work to tear down the corporations, politicians, and purveyors of control whose works define the world in which we live.
If The Nightly News were to come out today, it would be hailed by the Occupy movement and decried by Fox News as a blatant call for violent uprising. In truth, it is a tremendous story whose broad, sweeping narrative reminds us that the struggle for freedom is ongoing and, as Thomas Jefferson famously said, that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” I’m sure The Voice would agree.