The wait is over for us Obama fans. It's Biden. Did you yawn a little too? Yeah. With all of the mystery surrounding Barack Obama's vice-presidential choice and the collective yawn expected coming from old man McCain's choice, it is only natural to want to look back at our Vice Presidents. Thankfully, Top Shelf Productions is there for us fans when we really need someone to give us background on one of the most useless, yawn-inspiring, but usually laughable jobs in the executive branch. Well, at least before we got a buffoon like Bush actually in the Oval Office.
Have you ever wondered about those individuals who are a stroke, bullet, or over-sized pretzel away from being President? It seems like the office of the Vice Presidency hasn't amounted to much until the recent administration. Hell, I even have an undergraduate degree in History and Geography and I must admit that I don't know too much about most Vice Presidents. Everyone knows the guy sitting in the big chair, but not the guy throwing wild drunken, parties just across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In fact, there probably wasn't much of interest out there on our VP's for anyone to really care. That is until now.
Enter Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger.
In October, their new illustrated novel Veeps hopes to set the record straight on the most peculiar office in Washington. If the previews available are any indication of the overall quality of the book, fans of politics and humor will be very pleased. The book promises to chronicle the Vice Presidential lives of our nation's most obscure statesman. The timing is just right, too. This election is proving to be a high-interest election by anyone's reasoning.
The authors approach their material from a historical vantage point that is dipped in irony and humor. Most comic book fans will appreciate the way the authors approach the material, as it is more akin to reading something from Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert than a history book. This book is set to prove that the truth really is funnier than anything you could make up.
To promote the book, the authors haver established a website, a blog, and Top Shelf is offering a preview as well. Based on the ample preview material, it is safe to say that this will be one of the funniest books to come out this year from any comic publisher. Illustrated novels like this don't seem to see the light of day often from modern comic companies, but Top Shelf has done a bang-up job by getting behind this book. At times, the preview selections available currently are hysterical as is the case with Franklin Pierce's VP William Rufus DeVane King, the nation's thirteenth.
King was a unique character, potentially the first homosexual to serve in VP capacity. The authors write of King's personal life that, "Besides the Vice Presidency, King shared with Thomas Jefferson a rumored habit of indulging in sexual relationships with his slaves. Unlike Jefferson, though, King’s trysts were believed to be with his male slaves. We can’t know precisely all that John Quincy Adams had in mind when he called King 'a gentle slavemonger', but in this light the imagination wanders." King, like many of our first Vice Presidents, also didn't live too long once in office. He lasted forty-five days before killing over from tuberculosis, leaving a sad postscript as "the least remembered man in American history.”
Politics can be so staunch and stiff that it is a rare and welcome surprise to have a book like this come along, no less from a comic book company. History can be very funny, especially when considering an office like that of the Vice President's. Sadly forgotten over the course of time, Veeps offers an insightful and funny look at what it means to be the number two man in America.
Veeps is an illustrated hardcover by Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger set to be released on October 29, 2008 from Top Shelf Productions. Readers can preview the content of Veeps by visiting their web page or by visiting Top Shelf Productions. You can order the book via Top Shelf Productions or Amazon.