Edward Snowden will join JFK, Pope John Paul II, Lee Harvey Oswald, Nelson Mandela, Brian Epstein, and Pierre Trudeau in the ranks of real-life figures who have had their stories told in the medium of comics. Released this week in both print and digital, Snowden gets the full treatment as a modern American icon in Beyond: Edward Snowden by Valerie D’Orazio and Dan Lauer, published by Bluewater. That particular publisher specializes in important historical figures, but Snowden must be the most “ordinary” of all of them. He isn’t a General, or a President, or some great civil rights leader or artistic genius. But his name is already one of the most legendary in the 21st century.
Snowden is one of the first true 21st century “outlaw heroes”. In, of course, the same sense that Western outlaws were heroes, and cold war figures such as Daniel Ellsberg were heroes. They’re rare examples of people from within a large and complex system with numerous cells and cadres who are willing to make a fool out of authority figures. Whether they do any real good, or real harm, is a matter of debate. What they unquestionably do is appeal to that broad swath of the democratic populous that loves to “stick it to the man”. It must strike Snowden as a singular honour to be immortalized as a comic book hero.
The comic is available for purchase here.