REVIEW: Galveston TPB
Release Date: 28 May 2009
Created By: Johanna Stokes and Ross Richie
Writer: Johanna Stokes
Artist: Todd Herman
Covers: Greg Scott
Colours: Digikore Studios
Chapter 2 Assists: Andres Lozano
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Editor: Matt Gagnon
First Issue Plot: Tom Peyer and Mark Rahner
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Proclaimed as Deadwood with pirates, this trade collects the four issue miniseries about the adventures of the infamous pirate Jean Lefitte and the legendary frontiersman Jim Bowie. This is just a straight up collection of the original floppies, no extras (except the gorgeous covers by Greg Scott before each “chapter”), and is 102 pages in total.
Historical fiction is usually more entertaining than reality, at least in my experience. With historical fiction, we get to work with elements of real places, people, events, and times, but we get the benefit of rubbing some funk on it. Spice it up, and history suddenly becomes more interesting causing people to go researching what these people were really like. Such is the case with Galveston.
I mean, you can’t start the story off with the claim that these two men were friends and not look it up, right? Am I the only one who did that? A quick Google of Jim Bowie turned up nothing on him being friends with Jean Lefitte, which was too bad because Johanna Stokes and Ross Richie have created quite the bromance for these two historical legends. Of course, sticking to history would have been super boring and you wouldn’t have felt much but disgust for the two (Bowie and his brothers apparently did a slave trading/money laundering scheme for Lafitte and only made about 3 trips to Galveston in his life). So thank Crom they decided to zazz it up and make it a buddy story!
First thing’s first, this is not Deadwood with pirates. Let’s just get over that one right now. Yes, it’s set in a “western” time, in a place with questionable law, but that’s about where the similarities end. I expected period speak and LOADS of drama, death and expletives, and none of that was in this trade. It’s more like Lethal Weapon with pirates, cowboys, and American Indians.
Don’t take that to mean this was a bad trade; on the contrary, it was an extremely entertaining read despite the fact I didn’t get what I thought I was getting. Stokes handles the relationship between Bowie and Lafitte so well, that I was genuinely surprised these events didn’t actually happen. She has a brilliant grasp on dialogue and it was her storytelling that kept me interested when I wouldn’t have been otherwise. There was a point where the story lost me completely (as in, I had no idea why the two main characters weren’t in Galveston anymore), but quickly throwing in a BFF fight between Bowie and Lafitte and then moving into the final conflict of the story helped me bypass that confusion. I don’t think you can avoid that kind of jumping around in a story when you’re working in a four-issue space. She keeps everything that is great about romanticizing this point in history (the adventure, wildness, freedom) while making the story feel contemporary and humorous.
Definitely worth picking up for fans of pirates and one-shot stories. It’s a fast, entertaining, chuckle inducing read that celebrates that outlaw spirit we all like to think early America had.