Sofia Warren is a cartoonist whose work has been featured regularly over the past four years in The New Yorker. Now Warren is getting ready to debut her first full-length graphic novel, as IDW’s Top Shelf Comics imprint has announced Radical: My Year With a Socialist Senator, a graphic memoir about Warren’s time embedded in the office of a Democratic Socialist New York state senator.
Here’s how Top Shelf describes Radical:
In early 2018, cartoonist Sofia Warren was not paying attention to New York state politics. But that summer, her Brooklyn neighborhood began buzzing about Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old democratic socialist running for state senate whose grassroots campaign was inspiring an army of volunteers. When they beat the odds and won, Warren found herself wondering what would happen next. How does it work when an outsider who runs on revolutionary change has to actually do the job? So she decided to find out.
A graphic memoir to be published by Top Shelf Productions in June 2022, Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator is a remarkable first-hand account of Warren’s experience embedded with Julia Salazar and her staff during their first year in office. From candid conversations and eyewitness experiences, Warren builds a gripping and intimate portrait of a scrappy team of community organizers battling entrenched power structures, particularly to advance Julia’s marquee issue of housing rights.
At every key point during the year — setting up an office, navigating insider politics, public pushback, testy staff meetings, emotional speeches, protest marches, setbacks, and victories — Warren is up close and personal with Julia and her team, observing, questioning, and drawing, as they try to translate their ideals into concrete legislation. Along the way, Warren works toward answers to deeper questions: what makes a good leader? What does it mean to be a part of a community? Can democracy work? How can everyday people make change happen?
In a statement accompanying the announcement of the memoir, Sofia Warren described what she hopes readers take away from learning about her experiences with Salazar and her staff:
“So much of this experience was a surprise to me,” says Warren: “that for their entire first legislative session, Julia and her staff let me be in the room; that ‘the room’ was just as often a food court, or a senior center, or a march in the middle of a blizzard; that they were as open with me about their frustrations as they were about their victories; and that I — an introverted, cynical millennial living through the Trump presidency — could leave the experience so motivated and inspired. I hope that readers leave this book feeling the same.”
Democratic Socialism is an often misunderstood political viewpoint, and the use of the ‘s-word’ makes it an easy target for pundits on both sides of the aisle, but it’s a view that an increasing portion of the U.S. population holds. Perhaps Warren’s graphic memoir will shed some light on what Democratic Socialism is all about for those who are interested in it. If nothing else it should be a fascinating look at the inner workings of an active political office.
The 312-page Radical: My Year With a Socialist Senator is set to arrive in bookstores on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022.