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Andrew Jackson Throws A Punch
posted July 28, 2013
Self-Published, softcover/handcrafted mini, 14 pages, 2013, $10.
I think this may have been the most fun of the comics I picked up at this year's MoCCA Arts Fest in New York City; it was also one of the three best. Tsurumi's comic displays a great deal of visual confidence and slips between styles like the work of a creator twice Tsurumi's age: there are text-heavy pages, and a sequential page that relies on the reader being able to discern a split between fantasy and reality, and a gigantic gate-fold style spread where a single image offers up a fairly standard narrative progression.
Our hero is President Andrew Jackson. Jackson is likely the biggest monster this country has ever put in the White House, or at least the biggest one that lacks a troubling connection to some political issue of today. Because he's a creature of the past, everyone can pretty much agree that Jackson was one explosively violent dude. In her festival-cited publication, Tsurumi chooses to portray the famously raucous inaugural party the just-elected head of state threw himself in the white house. She kicks the whole thing into helium-inhaling land by making Jackson such an irascible, violent nutball that he manages to disrupt that expression of populist change by beating the shit out of a bunch of people. This is all fine and good, but the comic is very, very short in a way that seems a real lost opportunity. With so much dependent on mood, there's not a lot of room to sustain anything here, even the core narrative. It feels like a book with the guts ripped out.