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Minimum Security    by Stephanie McMillan order for
Minimum Security
by Stephanie McMillan
Order:  USA  Can
Nantier Beall Minoustchine, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

How safe do you feel since the creation of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, and the never-ending war on terror. If you feel safer, then I suspect your sole source of information is White House press kits. If you feel that we may not be safer but the current administration has managed to foil the devilish plans of evil terrorists, you probably watch Fox News. And if you feel that we are no safer today than we were four years ago or for that matter have never really been safe but rather lucky, then you probably have learned to avoid tv news and use White House press kits for fire fodder. You should also run with utter abandon to a local comic book store to pick up Stephanie McMillan's Minimum Security.

In her collection of short (one to four panel) comic strips, McMillan assaults the hate and ethnocentric ideals that embody the U.S. right wing political machine. Whether battling religious homophobia, over-zealous Iraq invaders, or the dubious dealings of King George, McMillan makes clear that she is not only proud of her liberal views but that those who reject liberalism help perpetuate extreme devastation and injustice in the world. She stands in defiance of Bush and his henchmen and does it with style and wit. Her assaults are timely and specific and she doesn't hesitate to state her feelings and accusations. She tackles Cabinet appointees, Terry Schiavo, Iraq, the 2004 tsunami, Bush's re-election, and numerous other hot topics over the past few years. We laugh, but then we cry, because we know it's true.

Though McMillan's artwork doesn't rise above the standard of political cartoons in most newspapers and journals, she still performs an amazing feat. She consistently sums up complicated issues and liberal viewpoints with simplistic panels and easy and accessible language. Her production of hundreds of panels - cohesively tied together with the same art style and thematically interlocked - demonstrates capabilities beyond those of the average political cartoonist. Obviously, politics will determine one's appreciation of this graphic novel. McMillan is blunt with her charges and viewpoint, leaving little room for discussion. However those who agree and find themselves leaning to the left will undoubtedly be sharing panels with friends and co-workers.

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