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Saturday, April 09, 2005

BOONDOCKS by Aaron McGruder

I never really got into BOONDOCKS the times I checked it out on-line, but recently when checking to see if my library had the recent BIRTH OF A NATION graphic novel McGruder did with Reginald Hudlin and Kyle Baker I saw they had A RIGHT TO BE HOSTILE, a collection of most of the first few years of the strip.

Like most strips, it reads a lot better in this format. I find I'm more forgiving of the weak strips and more appreciative of the minor chuckles when I can read a month worth at a sitting, and the really good ones work better with the context. The weak ones are there, of course, I won't deny that, but there are more good ones and overall it's a fun experience.

The introduction explains the change (following the Bush election and the terrorist attacks) in tone for the strip from a suburban family comedy with with occasional political overtones, but mostly character and story based with a supporting cast, to a political strip without real storylines and with just the few main characters. I'd caught edges of some discussions about that change on various on-line venues, so I know that a lot of people aren't too happy with it, but I think it comes out a lot stronger following the change. While it had a few mildly amusing storylines, that was never the strength of the first half of the book, and the political stuff is a lot funnier (although I suppose it might not age as well a few years from now when the Bush administration is history. Already I didn't even get a few of the references in the earlier strips).

I see a second collection is coming out soon, PUBLIC ENEMY #2. I'll have to check that out, it'll be interesting to see the last few years through McGruder's filter.

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