I loved them when I was a kid, those comic books, and although I abandoned them in high school they have grown and matured within the culture of the world, not only the United States. I have not been able to keep up with the development of the genre, but it certainly has burgeoned over the past three decades. We now have illustrated novels and stories, and the cartoon and the illustrated narrative have firmly established themselves. Firmly. They have even influenced contemporary cinema as in Sin City where the "illustrated" qualities of each shot overlay the cinematic qualities to produce a visual experience that is memorable.
Every once in a while, I have run across a memorable one, a combination of illustration, narrative, and commentary that leaps off the page and into my consciousness--the Art Spiegelman MAUS I and Maus II were real discoveries; R. Crumb's the "Short History of America" was another, and today, after a few hours of reading some history and then a few disheartening articles on Iran and Palestine, I ran across another classic in seven parts, David Horsey's "Empire Rising, A Satirical History."
It will make you laugh out loud or at least chuckle, if the news of the weird world gets too heavy. Horsey is a cartoonist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and has won the Pulitzer Prize a couple of times. It's a delightful translation of the history of the current Bush administration into parodic Roman History, and filled with wonderfully literate puns (John Kerry is "Kerriolanus" for example).Each of the installments can be viewed in .pdf format, or the individual frames of the comic panels can be viewed individually.