Visual Tropes in “Barack the Barbarian”

27 Oct

Here’s a bit of a COMM 200 assignment I’m working on right now.  Keep in mind that the audience for this short piece is my professor(s) and other COMM students who may not know that much about comic books. Either way, I figured people might find it interesting:


Although the selected piece isn’t a direct political cartoon like one seen in the newspaper and instead from a comic book, the individual frame from the story can still be considered containing tropes especially when isolated from the whole comic.  The most obvious trope within this frame is hyperbole.  The comic takes modern day figures and instead imagines them in a barbaric time.  Plus, Sarah Palin’s womanly features such as breasts, hips, and flat stomach are enhanced and John McCain’s indecisiveness (shown in the text bubble), and short staunchness are also exaggerated. Irony is also employed since Palin’s sharpness in speech debate as a weapon is replaced with an arrow which could also be considered somewhat of a synecdoche.  The effect on the reader/viewer that the frame may have would possibly be humor because of Sarah Palin dominating over McCain despite McCain having the higher standing.


This cartoon is actually the cover to Barack the Barbarian #2 where Barack fights against “the screeching enchantress” Ann Coulter.  Alliteration can obviously be seen in the title of “Barack the Barbarian” and the text before it of “Righteous Retribution.”  Once again, hyperbole is employed in the comic to suggest that a small framed woman can carry a giant sword and the American President dresses up in wooly underwear slinging around axes.  Possibly, the text on the cover may be an apostrophe since the text is addressing readers of almost terror comics (from the 50s) instead of the political pundits that may find the comic funny.  Irony is also common in this cover because the cover is constructed like a crime or terror comic of the 50s while positioning modern day figures on the cover in an even older, barbaric setting.  The weapons of each character may also stand as a metonymy for the respective character with Coulter’s sharp sword being associated with her quick stabs at people in politics.


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