Indifference has replaced "Big Brother" in 2024, a new
graphic novel that updates George Orwell's classic book, 1984.
Orwell's Big Brother was a world government that monitored and
controlled every aspect of life.
Indifference and self-absorption is the fruit of the control
wielded by massive multi-national businesses in 2024.
rule so permeates each employee's life that losing one's job guarantees
death by starvation. This is a very
subtle, familiar and frightening layer that author Ted Rall slathered onto
Rall's plot is simplicity itself. Winston endures the grinding
sameness of life by occasionally buying illegal electronic games and other
items banned by his government and employer.
Real danger adds a thrill to his mundane existence when Winston
begins a loveless affair. But his world collapses when even sex becomes boring, and
a black-market freeware that links him to old TV shows. When the
authorities arrest him, Winston confronts the shopkeeper who informed the
authorities of his purchase.
"Thanks a lot, dude!" says Winston, flustered. "Now
I'll NEVER be able to pay back my student loans!"
Yes, humor does occasionally relieve the relentless ugliness.
Many readers will find the profanity in 2024 tasteless and
unnecessary. Profanity is always tasteless, but is used here to show the
baseness of lives lived like animals in this spiritually dead world.
Rall's art is minimalistic and abstract, one step above a doodle,
and may be enough to place wallets back in the pocket or purse of casual
browsers. But it sets his stage perfectly, its simplicity even blunting
some of the cold, hard and dead nastiness. It removes titillation from sex
and excitement from violence, his simple lines and flat grays painting the
unending, numbing sameness of Rall's bleak, unromantic, godless future.
This graphic novel is a bummer, man, a downer, depressing, and
highly recommended for adults.
2024/$15.95, 96 pgs., hardback from
NBM Pub./available wherever comics and books are sold.
Review by Michael Vance
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