J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Truly Revolutionary Webcomics

You’ve probably noticed a dearth of newspaper comic strips with Revolutionary content. In fact, I can’t remember seeing any since around the time of the Bicentennial. Fortunately, the web provides a platform for dedicated sequential artists to reach niche audiences.

One of the most prominent is the romantic adventure The Dreamer, by Lora Innes. Here’s its introduction:

Beatrice “Bea” Whaley seems to have it all; the seventeen year old high school senior is beautiful, wealthy and the star performer of the drama club. And with her uncle’s connections to Broadway theater, the future looks bright ahead of her. Little does she know that her future might actually be brighter behind her.

Bea begins having vivid dreams about a brave and handsome soldier named Alan Warren—a member of an elite group known as Knowlton’s Rangers that served during the Revolutionary War. Prone to keeping her head in the clouds, Bea welcomes her nightly adventures in 1776; filled with danger and romance they give her much to muse about the next day. But it is not long before Beatrice questions whether her dreams are simply dreams or something more.
The first printed collection of The Dreamer has just come out from IDW Publishing. It’s 160 pages and covers the first part of the story arc titled “The Consequence of Nathan Hale.”

I hadn’t stumbled across The Paul Reveres, by Tina Pratt, until I read Desizn Tech praising its illustration. It takes a, well, less serious approach to the start of the war in Massachusetts:
Remember having to learn about the American Revolution in grade school?

You didn’t do your homework, did you?

You obviously missed the part of our nation’s history where all the battles were fought with electric guitars and awesome hair. It’s a good thing for you, however, someone did pay attention and is prepared to give you these golden tidbits of historically accurate tales.
This comic offers anime-influenced versions of Revere, Thomas and Margaret Gage, and even Johnny Tremain (“Saying Johnny is weird would be a total understatement”).

Finally, I’ve been meaning to mention The Adventures of Brigadier General John Stark, by Eric Burns. Alas, there have been no new installments since August 2006. [ADDENDUM: But see comments.] Hard to believe that there are no more unanswered questions about Gen. John Stark.


Robert S. Paul said...

Welp! Say goodbye to productivity while I catch up on all of these....

Charles Bahne said...

Electric guitars, eh? Is this related to Paul Revere and the Raiders of my high school days? Or am I dating myself here?

You know, those kicks just keep getting harder to find.

J. L. Bell said...

Different groups, but these comics Paul Reveres also seem hungry for the good times, baby, hungry through and through.

Eric Burns-White said...

Oddly enough, almost immediately after you posted this, Brigadier General John Stark's missives began being posted once more. And yet, I only saw your post today.

Regardless, the link is appreciated. :)

(Have you read the Rose biography of Stark? My wife found it for me -- excellent stuff.)

J. L. Bell said...

Oddly enough, I was taking notes on Ben Z. Rose’s John Stark: Maverick General today. And yet, I only saw your comment just now.

Eric Burns-White said...

In fact, now that I look at it more closely, this post came out the same day that the comic started updating again. That's just too odd.