Wednesday, April 10, 2002


Speech Bubble Burst
The Ochlocrat

Published by Comics Conspiracy, written by Doug Miers and illustrated by Gerry Alanguilan.
£2.10 / $2.95
This is a very funny book indeed. And by 'funny', I mean both 'funny peculiar' and 'funny ha-ha'. It is a one-off high-concept science-fiction story, revolving around the central character, The Ochlocrat.

'Ochlocracy' is, according to the dictionary, quite simply 'mob rule'. So how is mob rule represented by an individual? Easy - he's a type of vigilante enforcer, motivated by the constantly changing public opinion that is relayed to him. He takes action as dictated by the whimsy of the majority, which results in him switching roles from an exposer of corruption to an amorous seducer in the brief time it takes for a phone vote to be counted. This being the future, presumably phone votes (or their equivalent) take very little time indeed.

In our current climate of 'Reality TV', of Big Brother and Survivor, the idea of the general populace voting on the actions of a state-sanctioned vigilante is all too plausible. Raising as many serious questions as genuine laughs, the writing is extremely thought-provoking.

The art is detailed and extremely fine black and white inkwork, and is of especially high quality when rendering vehicles and the grim urban surroundings the story takes place in. Gerry Alanguilan is clearly going to be a name to watch - his grasp of perspective is excellent - but his figure drawing and facial expressions are not quite so impressive. It would probably have been beneficial if his pencilwork had been inked by someone else, as it is a little heavy-handed in places.

However, it is an interesting comic, and worth checking out, if only for the posse of heavily-armed attack lawyers and the gags about adult viewers.