Birth of a Nation : A Comic Novel
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Birth of a Nation : A Comic Novel

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  334 ratings  ·  47 reviews
This scathingly hilarious political satire—produced from a collaboration of three of our funniest humorists—answers the burning question: Would anyone care if East St. Louis seceded from the Union?

East St. Louis, Illinois (“the inner city without an outer city”), is an impoverished town, so poor that Fred Fredericks, its idealistic mayor, starts off Election Day by collect...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published July 20th 2004 by Crown (first published 2004)
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Mza
Apr 16, 2011 Mza rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: persons of colour
Recommended to Mza by: Nobody
If this were a movie (as Hudlin and McGruder originally intended), it'd be the most entertaining Hollywood movie I've seen since 1977; and maybe now someone will make a movie in which East St Louis secedes from the Union and renames itself Blackland and prints up currency featuring the likenesses of MLK, Malcolm X, James Brown, and Will Smith (!?) -- I didn't expect to elect a black president in '08, either. It's about time somebody made a "comic novel" -- they call it that on the cover, none of...more
Aili
Jan 07, 2008 Aili rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: folks interested in American politics, race politics, urban politics, or the election
What happens when the voters of East St. Louis are disenfranchised and Bush steals the presidency? East St. Louis secedes from the U.S., of course. Wacky hijinks ensue.

This is solid political satire from talented guys ( Aaron McGruder, creator of the comic strip The Boondocks, and Reginald Hudlin, director of House Party). Kyle Baker's art is ideal for the work -- he's got an animator's heart, so he gives the characters real movement and facial expressions. The only reason this didn't get 5 st...more
Robert Beveridge
Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin, Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel (Crown, 2004)

Despite having Kyle Baker artwork, which is always a “wow” factor in a graphic novel, I took one look at the synopsis for this book and had the sneaking suspicion I was going to hate it. Oh, boy, political satire in comic book form. Is it going to work any better than it does in the movies, in music, in poetry, etc.?

Can I get a hell, yeah!?

While McGruder (The Boondocks) and Hudlin (producer of a number of Hollywood...more
Cfo
Feb 06, 2014 Cfo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Jack Cole, Garry Trudeau, Mad Magazine
A nearly perfect satirical stampede, occasionally marred by technical remnants of its origins as a Hollywood spec script.

I'm glad it eventually manifested as a comic, though. You can never have too many excuses to give Kyle Baker work.
A.D. Carson
"Pretty good book. Easy read, and very entertaining. I think the format of the "Comic Novel" makes this book extremely accessible. Would definitely recommend to fans of The Boondocks comic/cartoon."
shannon
with this, reached the 50 book point for the year. getting rid of cable was such a good idea..... i am so glad i did it.
Melanie Page
A fantasy rendition of what would happen if a community of black Americans were denied the right to vote by being falsely labeled as "felons" in the government system.

The three authors do a smooth job of helping the reader remember the numerous characters and who is speaking. The book doesn't have speech bubbles; instead, you'll read the font below what is mostly pictures within a square space (like a comic strip).

I nearly lost it when one citizen of the newly-created "Blackland" yelled, "The Am...more
DW
Dec 26, 2010 DW rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to DW by: Bruce Spearman-El
Funny. Enjoyable. A definite message within.
ayrdaomei
Dec 30, 2007 ayrdaomei rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: conspiracy theorists, diehard McGruderites
Shelves: finished
This book was co-written by Aaron McGruder, of The Boondocks fame. It takes place in a parallel reality, if you will, in the aftermath of an American election much like the one in 2000. Some names have been changed, but there are a lot of recognizable players (e.g., President Caldwell is clearly meant to be President Bush). The story centers on a majority-black city in Missouri where many residents are "mistakenly" kept from voting in the election. Unsatisfied by the response of government to th...more
Christoaugust
Meh. Too absurd and not in the good way. The comic beats are straight out of the most cliched kind of early 2000s "Friday" rip-offs and the satire is obvious and never half as biting as McGruder is known for. A relic of the angry Bush years, when every liberal was churning out similar dreck. This one is also somewhat ineptly constructed, halfway between a script and a comic. Makes sense that it was a cash-in following the failed attempt at making the film.
HeavyReader
I found out about this book when reading All the Rage by Aaron McGruder.

It is more like an illustrated story than a graphic novel, full color, no word or thought bubbles over characters' heads.

It's the thinly disguised story of George W. Bush being handed the presidency despite the fact that so many people (mostly people of color) were not allowed to vote. In this version of the story, the mostly African American city of East St. Louis, Illinois secedes from the union and becomes Blackland.

I lo...more
John Lamberth
Aaron McGruder

Really interesting read. I thought they did a great job of creating an "alternate history" book (in graphic novel form) and gave great thought to the unintended consequences of decision making. There were a few things I disagreed with as far as what would happen, but that's more nitpicky than anything.
I actually enjoyed this even more than his "Boondocks" stuff.
Sheehan
Picked this up as it came across my desk at the Library; love the Boondocks and have fond memories of Bebe Kids, so I figured what the hell.

The narrative is classic, East St. Louis secedes from the Union, and makes it work, so that was kinda nice.

I laughed out loud a few times, and nodded my head a bunch, so it was worth the couple hours it took me to get through it.

High school kids would definitely enjoy this...
BrainBackBend
This is a great book, but it is not suitable for middle school students due to language.

In addition to the stellar art work, the complex story line mashes political themes, African American culture, disenfranchisement, economics, and more.

Here are some links:

http://www.thefourthrail.com/reviews/...

http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Nation-Co...

Bryan
This is an adaptation of an unproduced film script. It feels rushed and cheap. Occasionally stage direction from the script is simply left in as a caption. I deducted one star for that.

Dr. Strangelove this is not but it is amusing. Incredibly dated for a piece that is only 4 years old. I wish Kyle Baker had a hand in the writing as he operates with greater depth in his own work.
Zeo
I'm not so much of a fan of Hudlin, but pairing with McGruder seems to have worked well - I get the impression that they're both better editors of other people's work and respect each other enough to listen to each other's edits, and that comes together here. Baker's artwork is wonderful, of course. It's a fun alternate history comic.
Kathleen
I decided to reread this book since I hadn't in more than five years. Still hilarious, although I find it a bit sad that this is a conversation we all forgot about after 9/11 and Bush's subsequent 2004 reelection.

If I ever start a country, our national anthem might borrow a theme or two from a television show at that.
mika
birth of a nation at first caught my eye because of the white supremacist movie of the same title featuring the KKK in the origination myth of the klan. very funny. I got a little bored of the layout – sometimes the lack of speech-bubbles got tedious. I have to repeat though, very funny! very clever! amazing piece of satire.
Elizabeth
This is a beautiful, radical story that made me laugh, gave me chills, and evoked a tear or two at times. I'm really glad that when the authors' movie pitch was rejected, they found another way to share their imaginative look at trying to live nobly and care for each other under Empire.
Books written by POC
It's a screenplay that could never, ever, ever get made into a movie - yeah, Hollywood's not going to leap right on a movie about East St. Louis seceding from the U.S. - so they made a comic out of it. Not the most feminist comic in the world, but hilarious and awesome anyway.
Molly
I liked this- even when I wondered if it was ok to laugh at certain things (who puts Jesus on a flag??) Being from the other
St Louis, I know it challenged me on alot of my stereotypes. It would make an awesome movie.
Dani-girl
i give it a 3.5 out of 5. Really quick read, really entertaining. Finished in one day. And like somebody else said, the lack of speech bubbles is a little annoying.
Joel
kyle baker is pretty funny. why i hate saturn & you are here are great but this takes the cake. south saint louis seceded after the 2000 election & that's just the 1st few pages...
Matteo
it's rare to read a comic-book work of fiction which deals with serious issues, gets all of the geopolitics right, and is FUNNY AS HELL.

this is theonly such book i've ever read.
Darrell
what a comic book should be - i re read this a little bit more than Alan Moore's Watchmen
Martine
OMG!!! Loved this book, he needs a sequel. I learned the truth about what happened in the 2001 elections from this satire!! But the state that seceded was the best part!!!
Dan
I think my enjoyment of this graphic novel would have been considerably greater if I was Black or had any knowledge of contemporary African American culture. :/
Andrew
The Boondocks guy gives us one of the best pieces of satire I've read in years. I just love the whole idea. One of the most ballsy graphic novels I've ever read.
Tippy Jackson
One of the best graphic novels I've ever read. How could we let the 2004 election be stolen? That shame is remedied in this story.
Michael
Feb 19, 2008 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: St. Louisans

I'm from St. Louis and it makes me look at the eastside in a whole new light (not that I knew much about it in the first place).
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Aaron McGruder is an American cartoonist best known for writing and drawing The Boondocks, a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip about two young African American brothers from inner-city Chicago now living with their grandfather in a sedate suburb. Through the leftist Huey (named after Huey P. Newton) and his younger brother Riley, a young want-to-be gangsta, the strip explores issues involving...more
More about Aaron McGruder...
A Right to Be Hostile: The Boondocks Treasury The Boondocks: Because I Know You Don't Read the Newspaper The Boondocks: Public Enemy #2 The Boondocks: Fresh for '01...You Suckas All the Rage: The Boondocks Past and Present

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