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Random House USA Inc
General Humor

X-Presidents Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A parody of a superhero comic book, based on an animated series done for Saturday Night Live. Smigel pokes fun at our four living ex-presidents, and uses all the conventions of the form: the bold lettering, the painful alliteration, the cheesy ads, and even the fine print on the copyright page. But the addition here of gratuitous x-rated material suggests the male adolescent level of humor—and it's not even on a par with the best work in that vein, say, South Park or Beavis and Butthead. Taking off from standard "origins" episode, Smigel and company establish that "the fabulous foursome for right against might" gain their super powers in a freak electrical storm, and find it a welcome change from fishing and building houses for the poor. Joining at "a place of solitude where humans never venture" (i.e., the Ford Library), they decide to display their skills at carnivals and on Fox TV. Eventually, Henry Kissinger reveals to them their true destiny: to save mankind from a grand cabal of evil that includes everyone from Castro and Quaddafi to Reptilio and Electro Brain. This coalition of aliens and communists plants spy chips in Barbara Walters's brain, and takes hostage Bill Gates ("the nebula's nerdiest native"). After smoking crack, they steal the Statue of Liberty and other national monuments. But the ex-presidents save the day. The funniest material is on the edges of the central parody: an ad to sell "magic dirt" to the elderly, a spoof editorial page, and scenes in which the presidents break out into a groovy rock band. But the graphics are substandard—a hurried conversion from their low-tech style on television, where this third-rate material was mildlyamusingat best. Stavans, Ilan LATINO U.S.A.: A Cartoon History Illus. by Lalo Alcaraz Basic (200 pp.) Sep. 1, 2000

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