Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, September 05, 2010
      ( 9/05/2010 08:59:00 AM ) Bill S.  

“CONSPIRACY THEORIES ARE FOR OLD PROFESSORS!” Produced in collaboration with a non-profit advocacy group called Privacy Activism, Networked: Carabella on the Run (NBM) is a cautionary graphic novel about the ways we’ve so willingly abandoned our rights to privacy in the techno age. Scripted by Gerard Jones and illustrated by Mark Badger, the comic tells the tale of a blue-skinned college girl who’s an escapee from another dimension. She meets up with Nick Schumer, an engineer designing a new type of shoes, “perfect trainers,” that can gauge the wearer’s physical responses. After he inadvertently gets hold of some hairy technology from Carabella’s world, the hyper-inventive Nick juices up his prototype shoes so that they can connect to the world wide social networking web. Once a greedy venture capitalist latches onto Nick and his creation, the results could mean the world-wide enslavement of humankind.

Author Jones builds this alarmist scenario comically: starting out with the small ways that social networking can provide information about ourselves to the world at large. When our initially camera-shy blue skinned girl gets her photo snapped at a party by a fellow student who puts it on a FaceSpace page, she gets a lot of unwanted attention from a group of female Star Wars fanatics. Later, when Nick sells his first batch of web-connected shoes, he has to face a group of p.o.ed customers who’ve had revealing upskirt shots posted on the web. This is all small-scale compared to the dangers faced by Carabella, Nick and friends once some creepy types from our heroine’s repressive dimension show up and join forces with the smarmy venture capitalist.

Jones, a comics pro and pop historian who first became known with the parody spy series The Trouble with Girls, is skilled at keeping things lightly humorous without belying the seriousness of his themes. Written toward a young adult readership, Networked occasionally comes close to over-pushing his points, but aided by Badger’s crafty art -- capable of wittily quoting Kirby and the modernists in a single panel -- its core didacticism never overwhelms either plot or characters. In the world of Networked, the enemy of personal freedom is less our government and more avaricious moneymen (in collusion with the gummint, of course) looking for ways to mold a compliant consumer class. In its way, this book reads like a lighter updating of seventies era paranoid movie thrillers like The Conversation. Some story conflicts never lose their relevance -- unfortunately.

(First published on Blogcritics.)


# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter