Veeps

Looking for something to read while waiting for the election returns to come in? Check out Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance. It’s published by Top Shelf, even though it’s not a comic; instead, it’s a collection of historical profiles. Written by Bill Kelter with illustrations by Wayne Shellabarger, it covers the whole run so far of American Vice-Presidents, or as they have it,

… a platoon of rogues, cowards, drunks, featherweights, doddering geriatrics, bigots, and atrocious spellers [sitting] one bullet, cerebral hemorrhage, or case of pneumonia away from the highest office in the land.

In addition to the 46 who have served so far, four notable near misses are included, such as Geraldine Ferraro (the first woman nominated to the position) and James Stockdale (Ross Perot’s running mate).

Kelter doesn’t have an easy task. As his introduction points out, he’s trying to cover a range of personalities from colorful men to dull functionaries, and the office of VP (until recently) veered sharply to the latter. It’s a great book for playing, “hey, did you know…” with those around you, unless they’re the kind to get annoyed by frequent interruptions. So little is known by most about these characters that it’s certainly an education. The crimes and violent incidents start early and extend almost to present day. The tradition of enlisting old fogies who could never get elected on their own also is a long one.

You can read a 12-page preview online. Tim O’Shea has interviewed the two about the bathroom floor that started the whole thing and many other revelations. There’s even a companion film, Road to Insignificance, coming next year, about the creators in the time of the election of the newest VP.

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3 Responses to “Veeps”

  1. Rob Says:

    In the words of John Nance Gardner (FDR’s VP in the ’30s), being Vice President was “not worth a bucket of warm piss.” Thanks for pointing this book out–it looks like it should be a good one.

  2. Chris G. Says:

    Johanna, what does the Stockdale section cover? I only knew of him as Perot’s running mate until I read this account a few years ago — which made me regret whatever “Who am I? Why am I here?” jokes I had made since 1992.

  3. Johanna Says:

    They do cover that quote, explaining it as a lead-in to a self-explanation that he never got back to. I hadn’t realized that Stockdale was only a placeholder, and Perot never got around to naming a permanent candidate.

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