America Jr.

America Jr. has an intriguing premise: due to bureaucratic error, a town finds itself its own country. (The premise is superficially similar to the African-American-driven Birth of a Nation, but in that case, the secession was intentional.) This volume is a collection of webcomics, so each page contains two comic strips, making for frequent punchlines while introducing the characters and advancing the story. The setup nicely allows for political comedy that isn’t too pointed or biased.

America Jr. cover
America Jr.
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Writers Nick Capetanakis and Todd Livingston open the story with Darren returning to Millerstown after giving up life as an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles. Due to his experience, when the town’s independence is discovered, he finds himself steering a bunch of wackos through the necessary changes. The cast includes the power-hungry mayor, his fanboy nerd assistant, a demented ex-Marine, and the requisite peanut gallery of one-noters, including porn-obsessed teen boys and hard-of-hearing dirty old men. Brendon and Brian Fraim (Knights Of The Dinner Table: Illustrated) provide clear, clean artwork that’s a perfect match for character-driven developments.

The town’s biggest concern seems to be finding a new national anthem, although the setup also allows for sequences about immigration, the needs of democracy, government focusing on the meaningless, and the apathy of the populace. It’s a lighthearted, amusing look at how disconnected most people are from politics … and how life in a small town works. Extras in the collection include pinups by guest artists and the clever idea of blooper strips (like they do with the Pixar movie credits — scenes from the real strips redrawn with the kind of goofs real actors sometimes make).

The webcomic is at The Fraim brothers also illustrated Antiques: The Comic Strip. Writer Todd Livingston has been interviewed online. A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.

2 Responses to “America Jr.”

  1. Zuda for August 2008 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] out the strips this month because of The Adventures of Rocki Gibraltar. I enjoy the work of the Fraim Brothers, but I can see why this strip is running last at this point. It’s flat […]

  2. The Odd Squad #1 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] reteamed with the Fraim Brothers, Brendon and Brian, for a new miniseries. (They previously did America Jr. together.) The Odd Squad is kind of like Eureka, only more paranormal comedy, less science […]




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