Saturday, April 24, 2010

Next Time They'll Just Use a Photo

You have to admit, the idea is pretty funny: Fortune magazine hired illustrator/cartoonist Chris Ware to do the cover for its upcoming Fortune 500 cover.
Fortune magazine cover with dominant 500 drawn as a glass-walled building, squatting on the U.S.
Clearly, someone at Fortune wasn't aware that Ware's work "explores themes of social isolation, emotional torment and depression," as the Wikipedia entry about him says. It's similar to the way conservatives like my governor, Tim Pawlenty, can be fans of Bruce Springsteen without realizing what the lyrics of "Born in the USA" actually say. Or maybe the magazine's art director is a monkey wrencher. Who knows?

Whatever the reason, Ware's illustration is a keen example of afflicting the comfortable. His basic concept is a huge corporate structure squatting upon a devastated landscape. But it's the details that make it worth looking at.

On the roof of the building, corporate executives get paid big bucks, drink champagne, laze around and dance with joy. But where is their money coming from?

From the dump trucks that are busy picking up cash everywhere, then driving up the winding roads to the corporation.

They're helped out by helicopters that raid the U.S. Treasury (having already left the Greek treasury broke).

Not to mention that little casino known as the stock and bond markets.

Meanwhile, regular people shop at the Big Box Super Glut store, or get paycheck advances, while others worship Warren Buffet.

Other people are underwater in their homes (which are conveniently located in the Gulf of Mexico, south of New Orleans).

And the 401K is dead. (Note the misspelling of "cemetery" -- that's one of my classic errors, too!)

Of course, south of the barb-wire-ringed Mexican border, there's some exploitation going on.

And a final touch -- a nest of survivalists keeps an armed watch, while tea partiers wave their flags and blow off some steam.

Ware showed the cover during a talk at C2E2 (the Chicaco Comic and Entertainment Expo), on April 16, 2010. He has said he accepted the assignment because it would be like doing the cover of the 1929 issue -- the year before the magazine was founded.

They aren't running the illustration, by the way. Just in case you had any doubt.

Here's a much larger copy of the full illustration. Don't miss the Guantanamo prisoners in the bottom right corner.


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

This is wonderful! Hard to believe they didn't know what they'd be getting!

elena said...

Wow: thanks for sharing this. Quite amazing!