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Comic creators James Hudnall and Batton Lash have come under fire for a recent comic strip posted on the conservative website BigGovernment.com.
The duo regularly contributes a comic strip called “Obama Nation” — a play off of “abomination”– to the site, part of Andrew Breitbart’s online network. The Feb. 12th strip featured President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama eating dinner, with the president eating very small portions and the first lady eating a plate filled with hamburgers as they discuss her now one-year-old anti-obesity campaign. You can see the full strip for yourself after the jump.
MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell called it “a racist obscenity” on his program yesterday, while Mediamatters.org said, “It’s been a long time since I’ve expected anything approaching comity from the conservative media, but this is the sort of stuff most of us left at the grade school playground.” And on Technorati, Bill Schmalfeldt wrote, “… Brietbart’s hack comic drawers don’t understand satire. Instead, they show the First Lady as fat and scarfing down cheeseburgers, which she doesn’t do, they show Obama’s ears as impossibly large, the cartoon isn’t funny in the first place, and there’s no grain of truth on which to hang the satire.”
Hudnall, a former writer of Alpha Flight and Strikeforce Morituri, as well as creator of the ESPers and Harsh Realm, responded to the criticism: “There is nothing racist about the cartoon. The artist (Batton Lash) merely drew the first couple in caricature, which is what political cartoonists do. All we’ve done was to take a mild poke at the hypocrisy of the first lady. The press has already detailed the kind of foods served at white house dinners. It’s rarely diet friendly. Such as the menu at their super bowl party.”
Lash, the creator of Supernatural Law, said: “What’s racist about it? Cartooning — specifically political cartooning– has always been about exaggeration, whether it was Nixon’s prominent jowls, Carter’s toothy smile, or Bush ll’s beady eyes. If our current president is exempt because of the color of his skin, I think that would be racist. By the way, I didn’t depict the First Lady as fat — just a hearty eater!”
“The other common complaint one hears is: ‘Why wasn’t my book nominated when some book I never heard of was?!’ Well, you may not have heard of some of the books nominated, but the judges read them. So they’re in a better position to decide if they deserved it or not. Awards are great ways of bringing people’s attention to books that may have flown under the radar. I would have never read or even seen many of the books on the list had I not been a judge this year. I am glad to have had the opportunity because there are a lot more truly good books out there than I ever imagined and the diversity if content is very strong. If you think a book should have been nominated that wasn’t all I can say is, there are an insane amount of books and many of them are really good. So you may have come really close, but in the end there are only room for five or six nominations.”
–Writer and Eisner judge James Hudnall, responding to one of the complaints about this year’s Eisner nominations. His lengthy post on the process is worth a read, and he promises there’s more to come.