Normally, there's not much of an excuse to read a graphic novel with bad art. The drawings in A People's History of American Empire look like they were done in Microsoft Paint, but who really expects a socialist comic to be about anything but the message? This rendition of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is an attempt to boil down the key examples of American assholery into a format that lazy people might actually be willing to read.
The problem with Zinn's People's History is the fact that most people don't like to read big, wordy books. In this respect, the graphic adaptation is a success. It's an oversize, illustrated CliffsNotes on everything shitty America has done to other countries since 1890. Starting with Wounded Knee, the book covers barbaric military actions the U.S. has taken throughout the 20th century to solidify its international empire. Through the occupations of Vietnam, the Philippines, and in Central America (to name a few), historic events are cleverly compared to modern American blunders.
Though the illustrations are markedly poor, they still occasionally manage to inspire emotion through graphic violence, like the mangled head of a Kent State student lying in a pool of blood, or the screaming faces in the airplane windows en route to the World Trade Center. Aesthetic mediocrity aside, it's still rewarding. When you finish, you feel smart—almost like you read a real book about something important.