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A comic book for the Fox News set

In 2003, as Iraq burned, critic and conservative pundit Michael Medved wrote in the National Review about an "odd, unsettling" plot twist for one of Marvelís marquee men in tights. "Captain America, the patriotic superhero whose comic-book exploits inspired the nation in World War II, now feels uncertain about the nationís cause; in his latest adventures, [he] seems disillusioned, embittered, and surprisingly sympathetic to terrorists."

No such spinelessness for the Freedom of Information League (F.O.I.L.), the musclebound and rock-ribbed freedom fighters in Mike Mackey and Donny Linís Liberality for All, the first-ever comic book explicitly by and for conservatives. In the futuristic dystopia Mackey has created, Captain America is irrelevant. Thereís no need for him to fight for traditional American values because, says Mackey, "traditional American values are not traditional anymore."

Indeed, this is a nightmare world that would give Dick Cheney a fifth heart attack. Itís the year 2021. Al Gore won the 2000 election, and in 2004 terrorists, no longer fearing the pacifist US government, assassinated scores of vociferous conservatives instead. Seventeen years later, Chelsea Clinton is POTUS and Michael Moore is VP. "In God We Trust" has been wiped off the currency. The United States military has been conscripted into the UN. And the "Coulter Laws," FCC hate-speech legislation, have turned pundits into pariahs: Michelle Malkin is in the clink, Matt Drudge tops the FBIís wanted list, and Sean Hannity hacks radio signals from a hidden bunker. The horror!

Worst of all, Saddam and Osama ó who is now Afghanistanís ambassador to the UN ó are in cahoots, plotting to wreak further havoc on these effete and ineffectual shores. "Our nationís course, which was once like a forceful torrent," reads one narration box, "has become an insignificant stream, taking the path of least resistance."

But Reagan McGee, a strapping young rebel (born on September 11, 2001, natch) whoís cast off the milquetoast indoctrination of his liberal public schooling has other ideas. Teaming with Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, and Oliver North ó each is two decades older but now biomechanically enhanced ó he forms F.O.I.L. and sets out to put the world right.

When I reach Mackey, 37, at home in Lexington, Kentucky, he tells me, "Iím the nicest conservative youíll ever talk to." Heís right: heís affable, with a good sense of humor, even says he wouldíve been okay with a Lieberman presidency. But he writes for "the vast right-wing."

Does he detect a liberal bias in comic books? "It would seem that they tend to be," he says, extrapolating from studies that have shown majorities in publishing and media to be left of center. Still, he says, he wants Liberality for All to be read by all people, regardless of their politics. Because heís asking serious questions.

The leftward lurch he imagines "is certainly meant to be absurd." "The only way it could be told was to illustrate absurdity by being absurd," he explains. But, he asks me, is the idea of Michael Moore as veep really that far-fetched? He sat next to Jimmy Carter at the DNC, after all. And some have spoken seriously about Al Franken as a senate candidate. Fine. But Osama Bin Laden addressing the UN? "Arafat addressed the United Nations," Mackey replies. "With a gun."

"I want people to be able to read it and ask the question that I lay out," he says. "How extreme can you [liberals] go? How extreme can you stay on board for? Okay, you donít like Bush. So how do you do it? How do you handle these problems in America?"

Read more at www.accstudios.com.

Issue Date: November 11 - 17, 2005
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