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by Barbara Slate illustrated by Barbara Slate

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-937258-11-8
Publisher: Richard Minsky

The Mueller Report gets the comic-book treatment in this graphic novel.

The much-anticipated Mueller Report—officially titled Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election and named for Robert Mueller, the special counsel who conducted the probe—was finally released to the public on April 18, 2019. For those whose eyelids get heavy at the very idea of the two-volume, 448-page redacted report, Slate (You Can Do a Graphic Novel, 2018, etc.) offers this condensed, visually stimulating version: a graphic novel of excerpts accompanied by illustrations of the relevant events. Readers can learn all about Russian spies’ posing as Donald Trump supporters on Facebook; the infamous meeting between the Trump campaign and Russian agents in Trump Tower; Trump’s asking for United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ resignation; and Trump’s many colorful tweets. Along the way, the author delivers cartoonish depictions of the major players, often placing their own words—as recorded in the report—into speech bubbles. Even with Slate’s attempts to streamline the report, the book makes for some technical reading. “The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations—a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States,” reads the first sentence, accompanied by smirking portraits of Vladimir Putin and Russian businessman Yevgeniy Prigozhin. The author’s drawings are simple and quite endearing—if not always flattering to those they portray—and she organizes the narrative in a way that is easy to follow. It’s unclear who would be interested in reading Mueller’s findings at this time given that new Trump scandals have already displaced these older ones in the public’s mind. Still, for those who have not perused the work and need to get the highlights, Slate’s version goes down far easier than the original report. One could imagine it proving a useful tool in the future for readers who wish to understand the particulars of the Russia investigation when it is no longer general knowledge. But for those who just lived through it, the volume is less entertaining than it is distressing, disturbing, and occasionally infuriating.

A well-crafted visual depiction of the troubling contents of the Mueller Report.