During the mid-'80s, my political education came almost entirely from Bloom County, to which my brother introduced me and to which I immediately became attached. Really, what's not to love about a preadolescent Bob Woodward type, his feminist elementary-school teacher, and a neurotic penguin with an unhealthy Caspar Weinberger obsession?
It's only recently that I've followed any political cartoonists as slavishly as I once followed Berke Breathed and his creations Milo Bloom, Bobbi Harlow, and Opus. But one of my now-faves is Jen Sorensen, whose weekly strip Slowpoke—syndicated in the likes of Ms., The American Prospect, and the L.A. Times—proudly continues Bloom County's tradition of sly commentary, absurdist characters, and spot-on barbs. Sure, I wouldn't mind if she threw a couple of talking animals into it (hard political and cultural truths are always more palatable when they come from the mouths of pigs or penguins), but Sorensen's jabs at everything from right-wing rhetoric to technosexual Calvin Klein ads consistently manage to distill a newspaper's worth of humor and horror into just four small panels.
Sorensen is currently on the road with her new collection, Slowpoke: One Nation, Oh My God! and, for any Portlanders out there, will be reading and showing slides at the always-awesome Powell's City of Books this Friday, April 25. I'll be in the front row, laughing ostentatiously loudly—join me, why don't you?