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Literature

Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance

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J. Caleb Mozzocco

America’s big win on November 4 may turn out to be a loss for comedic vice-presidential historians, an admittedly small subset of the electorate, which includes writer Bill Kelter and artist Wayne Shellabarger, the authors of Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance.

See, Joe Biden looks like he’s going to be just one more highly competent, highly engaged leader with his own portfolio of influence, along the lines of Mondale, Bush I, Gore and Cheney. But Sarah Palin? The Alaskan governor fits in far better with the oft-shameful tradition of the vice president’s office, at least as it has stood for most of America’s history.

The Details

Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance
Four stars
Bill Kelter and Wayne Shellabarger
Top Shelf Productions, $20

That tradition is the purview of Veeps, for which Kelter provides lighthearted biographies of all 46 VPs, while Shellabarger provides portraits of each, and cartoonier illustrations of highlights in their careers, like Aaron Burr chopping off a man’s arm, Andrew Johnson’s drunken inauguration speech and Hubert Humphrey being dressed up as a cowboy and laughed at by Lyndon Johnson.

It’s an engaging and entertaining look at American history from a unique vantage point: the eyes of the back-up emergency presidents, who watch it unfold behind metaphorical glass stamped “Break in Case of Assassination.”

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