Filling in the Blanks

(Courtesy Mike Giba)
(Courtesy Mike Giba)
Posted July 16, 2012 at 12:01am

Once upon a time, cartoonist Mike Giba pictured himself sketching the larger-than-life superheroes and wily criminal masterminds that ruled his adolescent world.

But after a 2011 wake-up call, he put away such notions and decided to illustrate the embarrassingly little he knew about the political players who shape our collective reality.
Giba has been working on his “Home Team Politics” project for more than a year now. The original plan, which gripped his brain after Giba heard some conservative talk show rhetorically carpet-bomb a sitting politician he had never heard of, was to put together a yearbook-style guide of elected officials.

As his research widened, Giba started carving out subsets of particularly relevant authority figures until he got to the handful of projects demanding his attention today.

The first concept, the 2012 yearbook, is a 600-page coloring book featuring every Member of the 112th Congress, all nine Supreme Court justices, key members of President Barack Obama’s administration and every state governor. Each full-page print includes the featured caricature on the front and spaces on the back to record biographical details (name, birthplace, Congressional district, previous occupation, etc.).

“It would be helpful for people to leave near their television … so they can pick out politicians who pop up on the news,” Giba suggested. “That’s how I’ll be using it.”

Spin-offs include: executive branch (core White House staff and agency czars), tea party caucus and progressive caucus coloring books as well as a collection of trading-card-sized prints of all Congressional folks.

Giba said the comprehensive yearbook and progressive caucus are in the can; the self-employed artist hopes to wrap up the tea party volume in the next few weeks.

Money is tight and final delivery uncertain. But Giba is committed to putting some, if not all, of his Crayola-friendly guides in the hands of the public ahead of the upcoming elections.

“Whether or not the 2012 version is a success financially, this is a project I will be pursuing for the rest of my life,” he pledged, adding, “Work begins on the 2013 edition on Nov. 6!”