Even those who are already familiar with the conceptual foundations of democracy in the United States could use a refresher now and again, and what better what to refresh yourself than comics? This is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance gives readers the opportunity to brush up on the basics in a fun and engaging way, whether they are reviewing the information or learning it for the first time.
While the comic does cover voting and the political process, it does so in a non-partisan manner: liberal, conservative, or otherwise, anyone (and everyone) can benefit from this overview of the current state of democracy in the United States. In addition to including more than a dozen quotes from different sources about the nature of democracy, the comic includes a cavalcade of relevant terminology and a survey of how different types of governments – local, state, and federal – overlap and work together in the U.S.
The straightforward art, which is (suitably) comprised of shades of red, white, and blue, helps by making topics that might otherwise be too dry for readers into a more engaging read. Furthermore, certain statistics are presented alongside a visualization of the information they convey, which can better assist some readers in comprehending otherwise abstract details.
In addition to a full 22 pages of informational comic, This is What Democracy Looks Like also includes a couple of one-page comics about personal experiences voting, connecting individual stories with the more general information that precedes them. A letter describing the process of making the comic is also included in the back, along with a list of sources for learning more about the democratic process (and how to get involved at a local level).
The comic, which was published by The Center for Cartoon Studies (with support from the CBLDF), is the collaborative effort of several cartoonists, including lead cartoonist Dan Nott, editor and contributing cartoonist James Sturm, with additional work by Nomi Kane, Michelle Ollie, and Eva Sturm-Gross. The backup comics are by Summer Pierre and Hallie Jay Pope, respectively, and the cover is by Kevin Czap.