In May, 2020 conceptual artist and educator Alexandro Segade published his 96-page graphic novel, The Context, a concept-heavy space opera steeped in super-hero lore featuring six powerful beings who somehow connect in a lifeless void. Borrowing elements from critical theory and conceptual art, the story switches between eroticised fight scenes and philosophical exposés.
The characters from the Context also made appearances in Creative Time and Art Forum, further evolving the work into an ever widening gyre of cultural criticism, queer politics and current affair, and culminating in the almost propagandistic Fall Of The Death Cult (Art Forum, October/November 2020). This two page comic ends in what may well be the most unambiguous and straightforward sentence in the whole oeuvre : “And I voted for Biden”.
To fully appreciate this strip, and the rest of The Context, you need to be able to navigate a lifelong obsession with super-hero narratives and their kabuki-like choreographed approach to conflict resolution, but in the end you will see that political comics can be more than straightforward jingoism.
Although I question the use of cats as submissive cult followers. Even Neil Gaiman knew that it’s almost impossible to get cats to even dream the same thing, let alone act it out.
(artwork © Alexandro Segade. All rights reserved. Quoted for review purposes. With thanks to Mark for the pointer)