Printed by Fantagraphics
There are times I wish I was old enough to have enjoyed the 1960’s, instead I have to live my life variously through reading some of the underground comic books from the time. Usually the only way I can get them is through the larger anthology style comic books that have many single shot authors or anthologies that follow one author through their experience writing comic books. Jack Jackson in that context is a very special example of the weirdness and in some cases, the unflinching look at what America was based on, and how we got to where we are. This anthology is an interesting take on early American history and Texas. From the massacre of 300 shipwrecked Spaniards by the Karankawa Indians, to the history of Texas and the Colt 45, to the trials of putting on a free concert in Austin in the 60’s you get an interesting take on life through the eyes of Jack Jackson. At times it is downright fundamentally interesting, especially the part of about xenophobia and Texans (although I also think this is somewhat over with for some Texans). Overall, this was a bizarrely wonderful journey through some of the things I missed because I was essentially a very small child during the time, and I doubt anyone would really have brought a four year old to a free love in concert in a park that goes horribly wrong.
There are a number of stories in the books, the Camino Real Comic series tells one version of the history of Texas from the Indian days to the 1960’s. God’s Bosom tells the true story of a Spanish shipwreck on the Texas coast where many people are killed by some very angry Indians. The Good Life, The Savage Within, and Possum on a Stick are stories about Yoyo Pintado, who murders his wife and her lover in a fit of jealousy and must run from the law. The story of the Colt Revolver tells about the development of the gun and its influence on the extension of Western civilization into the Wild West. Nits Make Lice is the story of an unprovoked attack by the military, under a commander with political ambitions, on an Indian village. The rest of the book covers Jack Jackson’s time with Rip-Off Press, and then some of the smaller stories that essentially pokes a lot of fun at Urban Texas Cowboys.
This is an interesting point in time release of comics that probably would have languished in the back basement of someone’s comic shop until the building was torn down for a new high rise. Some of these early underground comic though are a poignant part of history, and if you are into comic books, something you will want to read. It is awesome to see Fantagraphics re-release these comics into popular culture again because they are an important part of the history of comics. The 1960’s were not all crappy superman and batman comics, there was some real dynamism happening in the industry then, as much as there is now. I am rating this comic book five of five stars, because it is extraordinarily well done, and is an interesting and approachable way of getting a look at early underground comic books. This one is well worth owing, and loving in your physical comic book collection.
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