Amidst the brouhaha surrounding the Wikileaks embassy cables, there’s been a consistent murmur of surprise and delight at the literary riches to be discovered in the trove of classified messages. At the Guardian, historian Timothy Garton Ash called one cable-writer’s style “worthy of Evelyn Waugh.” At the Atlantic, tech editor Alexis Madrigal has curated a delightfully-presented carousel of cables that work like “short stories that provide a unique and fascinating view into the lives, concerns, and tribulations of American diplomats and the people they monitor.” And now illustrator Joe Alterio is taking a sampling of those ambassadorial-cum-literary dispatches and working them into mini comics—the first of which, reproduced above, appears at my home-away-from-Gearfuse, HiLobrow.com. It’s a reminder that Wikileaks is not only an avatar of a new kind of journalism and a challenge to regnant powers—it’s also a remarkable experiment network-age storytelling.
July 27, 2021
July 13, 2021