Townsend brings his high spirits and hijinks to bear, in comic-book format, on the life and responsibilities of the United States president.
Despite all the corny, at times plain bizarre, jokes that saturate this story of the presidency, Townsend manages to cover considerable ground. The information imparted doesn’t run particularly deep, but in simple, mostly jocose language, he manages to explain the Electoral College, the dangers of being president and the countermeasures that have been established, the roles of the president in foreign policy and as commander in chief, and how a presidential pardon works (including pardoning the Thanksgiving turkey), as well as a history of the White House and a vest-pocket biography of George Washington. Peppering the larger themes are scads of factoids, from George Bush tossing his lunch at a state dinner to Calvin Coolidge’s pygmy hippo to the July 4th deaths of Adams, Jefferson and Monroe. The sheer density of material on the page can occasionally be overwhelming, with panels of text—lots of text—and drawings in a great chromatic swarm, though the rhythm and direction of the story is never in doubt. Now and then Townsend will throw in a nonsense panel, as much to keep readers on their toes as a stab at levity.
A selective but revealing collection of presidential thises and thats, which put an appealingly human face on the executive branch. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-12)