Comixology submit, my favorite source for new independent comics, has given me an unexpected gift in the form of the shortest comic I’ve read and reviewed for What’cha Reading: Andrew Jackson Throws a Punch. With that title and a subtitle like “An Inaugural Brawl,” how could I possibly resist? Answer: I couldn’t. And I’m glad I didn’t.
Andrew Jackson is one of those presidents who isn’t well-remembered these days. If pressed, someone might be able to tell you he was called “Old Hickory.” Andrea Tsurumi brings him to life on his inauguration day, brilliantly describing the rough style of those festivities in the 1800s when the White House was open to anyone, when Washington, D.C. was more a swamp than a city, and when manners were just a little cruder than they are now. I was expecting Jackson to start swinging at people, but the “punch” in question is a different kind: the alcoholic mixture served at parties of that era. Yep, in this comic Jackson gets a little ticked off and takes out his frustration by hurling booze. (You’ll have to read the afterwords to find out if this actually happened. And to get a recipe for the punch, which looks like it would be fun at holiday parties.)
Tsurumi’s art in this takes center stage; there are whole pages with no dialogue and those are some of my favorite parts of the book. This one really takes advantage of guided view and scrolling through the pages gives the feeling of animation in the style of a flip book. The backgrounds are all yellow, which gives the feeling of a sepia-toned daguerrotype of the day. The only other colors used are black, white, and red—the latter gives a great visual of Jackson’s anger rising to the surface. Most of the people in the panels are drawn to be background characters, just sketches on yellow with little shadowing or detail. Only Jackson is colored in with black and white, and only his face is fully detailed. It’s a great way to draw focus to the President.
This isn’t a grand storyline about a presidential era, it’s a character study that’s fun to read. I love that you get a real sense of Jackson’s personality in the course of 18 pages. It’s simple, it’s effective, and I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 Lightning Bolts.
ANDREW JACKSON THROWS A PUNCH: AN INAUGURAL BRAWL
Writer: Andrea Tsurumi
Art: Andrea Tsurumi
Get it now at comiXology.com