The Divided States Of Hysteria #1 by Howard ChaykinI read this because of the Twitter outrage. If Im gonna condemn something, Im not gonna do it on hearsay.
First, some things its not!
Despite what some of the internet says, this is not a right wing comic or Nazi comic, or an alt-right comic. If thats what youre looking for, youre destined for disappointment. The protagonists include a BLM sniper who shoots white people, a trans sex worker, and a Jewish grifter who cons the 1%. Not exactly right-winger hero material amirite.
Its also not advocating violence against minorities or marginalized groups. A surprising number of people dont seem to understand the difference between depicting something in art or fiction and advocating whats being depicted.
Hieronymous Bosch totally thought we should do this.
It is a very political comic, however. Chaykin describes it in the editorial as a dystopian vision of a polarized, post-election America conceived in the run-up to the 2016 election.
If, like me, youre fatigued with the media saturation of Americas domestic social and political problems - its racial tensions, its social injustice, its divisive identitarian politics, and its seeming determination to burn itself to the ground, this comic may not be for you. It focuses on those aspects of American society in violent, blood-spattered detail, so if youre not looking to fill your leisure with lurid illustrations of Americas dark side, you may want to give this one a miss.
This here is only the first issue, and it focuses heavily on character introduction and the inciting incident -- a terror attack on a New York City landmark. I dont know how Chaykins treatment of the issues hes attempting to explore and illustrate will develop, its too early to say.
At this point, I find most of the characters pretty stereotypical -- more caricature than character. Im willing to give Chaykin the benefit of the doubt, and entertain the idea the stereotyping may serve a purpose as commentary on the rigid conformity identity politics enforces when taken to an extreme or something, and that there will be character growth. Or maybe its just lack of space. Thirty pages is pretty tight to set up an alternate contemporary America, introduce five unrelated protagonists, and still kick off a terrorist attack.
A real highlight of this issue is the essay on the lettering that follows the editorial, and the care that went into trying to convey our hyperconnected, stream of consciousness reality and the pervasive nature of the cacophony of background voices we experience daily.
My rating reflects my opinion on this first issue -- the primary impression was infodump, there wasnt enough focus on any one main character for me to connect emotionally, and not enough story to hook me -- and maybe also my exhaustion with the themes on which its centered, but not the series as a whole or the controversy surrounding it.
Howard Chaykin is clearly courting that controversy and the provocation (some would say offense) is deliberate. I have a soft spot for artistic provocateurs, the blasphemers and the iconoclasts, who use their art to challenge the status quo and open up discussion. I think that may be what Howard Chaykin is attempting to do here. With only one issue, theres not enough material available for me to pass judgment on whether he succeeds.
There are some discussions worth having -- about political polarization and extremism, about marginalization and desperation and fear and rage, about justice and injustice. I may be too tired to have them, or have them around this comic, but that doesnt mean they arent important discussions, and relevant to our time, or that a comic book is not the place to examine them.
In conclusion, Im not loving this book but Ill probably read four or five issues anyway, just to see where its going.
The Divided States Of Hysteria #1
At my local comic store, it had sold out, all copies had been reserved, they were trying to get more. Whatever damage the reaction to the comic may have done to the reputation of Howard Chaykin , it has done wonders for its sales. And recruiting killers in some tangentially way related to the terrorists to take now the pan-racial Illuminati cartel actually responsible for the massacre. And on the way, pulling triggers, pressing buttons and generally exposing much of the raw anger erupting around America at the moment. And using the comic book form to portray the emotional and stress effect of the hour news networks and social media that both reflect and fuel the madness.
Sep 13, The Divided States Of Hysteria #4 trail of bloody murder in their wake— mayhem barely noticed and nearly lost in the escalating violence that.
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Image Comics has pulled the cover for Issue 4 of The Divided States of Hysteria , after readers were upset at how it showed a man of color hanged to death after being castrated. The cover, which can be viewed at the bottom of the article, was for the upcoming September issue of Divided States of Hysteria by Howard Chaykin. - The substituted cover for the Divided States of Hysteria 4.
A cartoon of a lynched Pakistani man hanging with mutilated genitals and a racial slur on his name tag might seem obviously incendiary, and to put it on the cover of a comic book the epitome of poor decision-making. But Image Comics did just that with the fourth issue of The Divided States of Hysteria, a new comic by industry legend Howard Chaykin — and then undid it a day later. An official apology was quickly released and the cover whisked away from the web. Which leaves the question: who the hell thought it was a good idea? And with so many recent examples of studios having to retract and apologise for their comics, how could such an image have made it all the way to print? Image is far from the only publisher to let questionable images go to print. How do these things happen?
Naturally, responses ranged from the cover to Divided States of Hysteria 4 , to the controversy stemming from Divided States of Hysteria 1 , released earlier this month and featuring a graphic, violent attack on a trans sex worker. In response to that one, Image released a statement that was actually an essay printed inside the comic already, in which Chaykin wrote excerpted :. Well, now one does—and while you were pissing and moaning about hyphenates, they got to own the USA. Soon after, Image announced a second print of the sold-out book, seeming to capitalize on the controversy it with the press release headline:. Of course, they do control which books they choose to publish.