November 25, 2007

Satirical look at Roanoke

The Lost Colony Book 2: The Red Menace (:01 First Second Books)Miscreants and misfits populate a mysterious hidden island in Grady Klein's irreverent take on American history. The Lost Colony: The Red Menace throws together a greedy governor, an altruistic ex-slave, a "reformed" Native American, and a host of other not-so historically accurate characters, all trying to get by in an analogue of the famously doomed Roanoke colony.

As the old adage goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Klein seems eager to make sure we recognize the mistakes and the greed of colonial times, to the point where easy comparisons can be made between the titular colony's characters and certain modern-day counterparts. When the sleazy governor/head banker of the town makes an impassioned speech about the courage it takes to admit to being a war profiteer, it's hard for me not to think of like-minded organizations like Halliburton and Blackwater USA.

Klein also explores the topic of propaganda in the in-universe comic book "The Completely True Adventures of Johnny Crevasse ... Hunter, Patriot," which stars a kind of colonial Captain America (he even has a sidekick named Bucky!) whom nearly every character is fascinated with. Crevasse (who never actually makes a real appearance in the story) has an entire line of merchandise glorifying his one-man war against the native red menace; naturally, the members of the community eat it up.
Comment:  "The Lost Colony" doesn't get any points for portraying an Indian as a Plains chief and a drunk.

You can see a nine-page sample of this comic here.

No comments: