The American government is comprised of weak-willed eunuchs, ignorant sociopaths, sexual deviants and jackbooted fascists.  Or at least, this is the government that Derf, the artist behind the long-running strip “The City,” portrays for us.  Published online every Monday, “The City” is a straightforward, no-words-minced comic about American politics.

It’s not just politicians that get skewered, though – Derf also attacks the media, the military, religious institutions, and the populace at large.  In fact, no one escapes “The City” unscathed as people of all ideologies and from all walks of life are dissected by Derf’s satirical scalpel.

In spite of this, there is an element of tragedy in Derf’s depiction of the American populace.  At worst, they’re selfish and willfully ignorant, intoxicated by their gadgets, TV shows, and fast food; however, they sit at the bottom of the proverbial dung heap of contemporary American culture, while it is the leaders who shoulder the most blame: the people who craft the rhetoric and lock the populace in a pattern of ignorance.  There’s no complex conspiracy at work here, though – it’s through the machinations and manipulation of a few power hungry individuals that the United States continues on a downward spiral of ignorance, intolerance, and financial ruin.

To compliment his bold political commentary, Derf’s art style is confident featuring bold, thick line work and harsh angles.  When he uses color (as he has consistently in recent years), he tends toward clean colors with little to no shading.  His art is anything but simplistic, though, as he contrasts his straightforward style with fairly complex visual compositions.

If I were to offer any criticism of “The City,” it would be to say that in his lampooning of the American public at large, Derf is occasionally guilty of the same over-generalizations that can potentially lead to ignorance and bigotry.  That being said, it is precisely the biting nature of his satire (something that is fairly rare in left-leaning political cartooning) that makes it an important read.  I would be remiss not to acknowledge that Derf’s work has had an indelible influence on my own.

While you peruse “The City,” I would encourage you to take a look at the rest of Derf’s work.  “Trashed” is a fantastic bit of semi-autobiographical story-telling from a rare perspective, “Punk Rock & Trailer Parks” is an insightful period-piece about growing up punk in working-class America, and “My Friend Dahmer” is a haunting portrait of the formative years of one of America’s most notorious serial killers.  All are well worth a thorough read.