Few cartoonists could pull off Matt Bors' new book, Life Begins at Incorporation (230 pages, $20). Not because of the cartoons—in shape and tone, the Portland-based artist's style is so similar to Jen Sorensen's Slowpoke that their brand of clean-lined lefty absurdism may be its own subgenre—but because of the essays that accompany them.
Incorporation is not so much a cartoon collection as it is an illustrated manifesto where pictures split space with cranky arguments about why Obama has been a disappointment and how "sites like Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk have taken over our lives…."
Bors is a great cartoonist, but concerns about the essays start mounting during the hacktastic foreword by former Oregonian political cartoonist Jack Ohman: "Some people say that editorial cartooning is dying…it is dying, but not from old age, or disease. More specifically, it is dying because of two reasons. It's being murdered and it's committing suicide. Simultaneously."
Thankfully, Bors acquits himself almost as well with a keyboard as a Sharpie. He's especially engaging when describing his trip to Afghanistan and agitating for class warfare. His defense of "Glorious, messy Occupy," accompanied with perfect illustrations of the Portland camps, ends up being one of the better arguments ever mounted on behalf of a messy public square.