Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? Our guest this week is Van Jensen, writer of Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Great Puppet Theater. To see what Van and the rest of the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below.
Written by CC Colbert; Illustrated by Tanitoc
First Second; $19.99
Growing up in the South, my friends and I were rather conflicted about the Civil War. On the one hand, there was a lot of geographic and cultural pride. We joked about the War of Northern Aggression (at least, most of us were joking), made proclamations that “the South will rise again,” cursed Yankees, patriotically ballyhooed the Confederate flag, and loved The Dukes of Hazzard. On the other hand, we knew that the right side won that war, that slavery was evil, and that racism was unacceptable. We absolutely revered Abraham Lincoln, and we thought that John Wilkes Booth – what little we knew about him – was the Devil himself.
Since then, I’ve always wondered about Booth. Why he did what he did. Who he was working with. If even Southern boys like us hated the man, who could be evil enough to support him? What kind of hood-wearing, baby-murdering secret society did this guy have to be in to want to assassinate the most beloved president this country’s ever had? What can I say? I was young.
I didn’t wonder any of this enough to do my own research, mind you, or even to crack open a book on the subject. Deep down, I probably suspected that the answer wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’d made it out to be in my imagination. But when I saw that First Second was publishing a comic about Booth – written by historian Catherine Clinton (Mrs. Lincoln), no less – I was eager to see what it revealed. Sure, it’s publicized as a fictionalized account, but this was the perfect opportunity to satisfy my curiosity about the notorious Booth, and in my preferred medium.
How it did, after the break.