Jack Jackson loved American history and creating comics. He combined these into a single vocation and created a legacy of historical graphic novels that has never been equaled.
Jackson is credited with creating what many consider the first underground comic, God Nose, in 1964. He co-founded Rip-Off Press in 1969, and made some of the most scathing satirical comics about contemporary America ever seen. But, Jackson was a Texan, and in the 1970s he returned to his roots and began writing and drawing short historical comics about Texas history. He then went on to produce six graphic novels chronicling 19th century Western history focusing on his beloved Texas and the Plains Indians. Fantagraphics, which published Los Tejanos originally in 1981, is proud to bring his graphic histories back into print in a series of three volumes, each reprinting two of his long narratives.
The first volume features Los Tejanos, which Fantagraphics published as a solo book in 1981, and Lost Cause (1998) chronicling Texas history before and after the Civil War.
Los Tejanos is the story of the Texas-Mexican conflict between 1835 and 1875 as seen through the eyes of tejano (literally Texan of Mexican, as distinct from anglo, heritage) Juan Seguín. It is through Seguín, a pivotal and tragic figure, that Jackson humanizes Texas fight for independence and provides a human scale for this vast and complex story.
Lost Cause documents the violent reaction to Reconstruction by Texans. As Jackson wrote, Texas reaped a bitter harvest from the War Between the States. Part of this dark legacy was the great unrest that plagued the beaten but unbowed populace. The tensions caused by Reconstruction are told through the Taylor-Sutton feud, which raged across South Texas, embracing two generations and causing untold grief, and the gunslinger John Wesley Hardin, who swept across Texas killing Carpetbaggers, Federal soldiers, and Indians.
Jackson’s work is as known for its rigorous research — he became as good an historian as he was a cartoonist — as well as its chiseled, raw-boned visual approach, reproducing the time and place with an uncanny verisimilitude.
This edition includes an essay by and interview with Jackson about the controversy Lost Cause generated, and an introduction by the novelist Ron Hansen.
Praise for Jack Jackson:
“Of all the early graphic novels that appeared in the late 1970s, Jacksons were the most like the form as we understand it now Jacksons Texas was capable of grotesquery and atrocity because Jacksons art was able to communicate extreme, transcendent moments without hesitation or shame. Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter
“His histories were not for the faint of heart and not for those that believe the past was filled with kind and considerate polite people that cared for each others FEE-WINGS, no... he portrayed the past with all its warts and boils. Harry Knowles, Aint It Cool News
In Lost Cause, Jack Jackson has found a bold and vivid new way to tell an old story the story of John Wesley Hardin. Larry McMurtry
"As for 'Los Tejanos,' I find Jackson's work... fantastic. What realism! What power! Blueberry is quite pale next to his adventures!" Jean "Moebius" Giraud
Advance praise from Booklist: Jackson is one of the founders of the 1960s underground comics movement (his 1964 God Nose predates Zap Comix by four years), but he's best known for relating the unvarnished history of his native Texas... This hardcover volume gathers two of his later works: 1989's Los Tejanos, the story of Juan Seguin, a hero of the Texas revolution later labeled a traitor ; and Lost Cause, a 1997 post-Civil War account of unreconstructed Texans who had supported the Confederacy... Jackson spins these sprawling, complex yarns with a skilled hand, imparting them with a rugged authenticity that makes them all the more compelling, never shying away from the violence and racism endemic to the period. His rough-hewn, craggy illustrations are an ideal vehicle for these tales of the rugged men who carved out the Lone Star State. Gordon Flagg