Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Roswell, Texas

Roswell, Texas, (by L. Neil Smith, Rex F. May, Scott Bieser, and Jen Zach) is a graphic novel that takes place in an "alternate universe" where Texas remained an independent republic after The Alamo. Fast-forward to 1947 and President Charles A. Lindbergh has dispatched some Texas Rangers (law enforcement officers, not baseball players) to Roswell, in West Texas, to investigate a reported crash of a flying saucer!

However, other countries are interested in getting there first. President Walter Disney of California and his Nazi allies, as well as the United States and the Franco-Mexican Empire are all interested in what can be found at the crash site.

For graphic novel and/or alt history fans, it is an amusing, fast-paced frolic. The story is full of actual historical figures as main characters or just a cameo appearance, including John Wayne, Lawrence of Albania (Arabia), Frank Sinatra, Lyndon B. Johnson and The Pope.

Only little tidbits of the "why and how" of this alternate timeline are revealed in the story, but I was first intriged by the map of the Federated States of Texas on the back cover (hightlighted below). The borders of this Republic of Texas are much larger than the State of Texas today, or even the territory of Texas that was wrested from Mexico in 1836 and 1848.

In little bits here and there throughout the story, the reader learns that in 1861, when the American Civil War started, Texas cut a deal with the United States. In exchange for Texan assitance putting down the rebellion, they were deeded most of Louisiana, Arkansas, and all or part of present day Missouri, Kanasas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

While the scenario is a bit implausible, it is necessary to create the shoot-from-the-hip culture that exists in this Texas of 1947 (and 1964). Every Texas stereotype is enlarged for comedic effect. For instance, in Texas, all citizens are required to carry a handgun. You must have a permit to be exempted from this law...

Published by Big Head Press, the comic was originally serialized on their website, and can still be found there in full color.

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