The Boston Comics Roundtable recently published an anthology of short comics called Inbound 4: A Comic Book History of Boston. Some of the writers and artists behind this volume will be at Porter Square Books on Thursday, 21 January, at 7:00 P.M.
Inbound 4 is a 144-page paperback with 35 stories that discuss events from the first British settlements in Massachusetts through the search for Whitey Bulger. A few pieces have eighteenth-century or Revolutionary import:
- A tour of the Granary Burying Ground and the story of Boston’s first duel (with anachronistic mustache) by Eric Heumiller.
- A spread on the “Dark Day” of 1780 by Bob Flynn.
- Introductions to the Sons of Liberty by Matt Aucoin and Pope Night by Baldemar Byars.
- A Cape Cod pirate comic by Richard Jenkins.
- Aya Rothwell and Dave Unger’s graphic explanation of the main roads in Waltham.
- Will Clark’s recount of Shays’ Rebellion, which uses the same trick as in the picture book Unite or Die! and tells the history through a class pageant.
- A glimpse of Harvard in 1776 in Dave Kender and Ron Lebrasseur’s curiously laid out dissection of town-gown tensions in Cambridge.
- Braden D. Lamb’s depiction of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes writing “Old Ironsides,” about the U.S.S. Constitution.
The art and storytelling styles vary greatly, and some of my favorite pieces are well outside the Revolutionary period: Susan Chasen and Dan Mazur’s story of the last meeting of the Booth brothers in April 1865, Troy Minkowsky and Samuel Ferri’s depiction of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force guerilla-marketers as the Katzenjammer Kids, and Jaime Garmendia and Dirk I. Tiede’s history of the Molasses Flood, which told me stuff I didn’t know.
I’m not sure which contributors will be at the talk and signing at Porter Square, but I understand David Marshall will be there to speak about his efforts to portray Dee Brown’s detention at gunpoint in Wellesley with historical accuracy. Because one of the challenges of depicting history in comics form is portraying details that prose histories don’t have to deal with.
Copies of Inbound 4 are available through the Boston Comics Roundtable and select local retailers; I got mine at the Million Year Picnic in Harvard Square, and of course it will be sold at Porter Square Books.