Lab U.S.A. would be the most disturbing comic book ever published if it were a work of fiction. Unfortunately, the book is more than 150 pages of undiluted horror are an academic chronicle of systematic institutional abuses perpetrated over the last century on an unsuspecting American public. Artist and author Kevin C. Pyle's grotesque, exquisitely rendered images supplement his serious and well-documented research exposing the underbelly of America's biotechnology industry.

Pyle has assembled a lengthy anthology of abuses that would make any stomach turn. The information presented in Lab U.S.A. is dissected from declassified military, psychiatric, and medical files, and prison archives. From the widely publicized Tuskegee experiments (a case in which 399 black men of Macon County, Alabama diagnosed with syphilis were never informed of their condition, in order for government's public health doctors to observe the progression of the debilitating disease) to little-known Dow-sponsored dermatological tests on prison populations with components of Agent Orange. From the willful harvesting of hepatitis-tainted plasma in prisons, to the intentional aerosol release of infectious biological agents in densely populated areas, Lab U.S.A. presupposes that our country and its inhabitants have long been unwitting lab rats.

In our heightened sense of bio-terror awareness, Lab U.S.A. is a must-read for socially conscious Americans. Pyle's work makes the mock shock and horror employed by the government in its handling of the anthrax scare all the more burlesque. As we enter the new year, do not lament the recent loss of your abstracted civil liberties or sense of personal security. Be utterly consoled by the fact that you never possessed any of those things to begin with, meat puppet.

By Kevin C. Pyle
Autonomedia Press
$17.50, 160 pages
ISBN: 1570271178

Autonomedia Press
PO Box 568 Williamsburg Station, Brooklyn, New York

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