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The Daily Read: 12/04

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Though the alternate history genre has certainly made an impact on comics (by way of Watchmen) there haven’t been too many entries into webcomics – until Roswell, Texas. This webcomic, by novelist L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser at Big Head Press, follows the assumption that Davy Crockett survived the Alamo and kept Texas sovereign and separate from the rest of the United States of America. Part of this expanded Texas, however, is infamous Roswell, where Texan militia men encounter alien life forms at the crash site.

Certainly one of the most original entries into the current webcomic range, Roswell, Texas, blends together alternate versions of famous historical personalities ranging from Charles Lindbergh to Malcolm X.

Though these characters further enrich Smith’s overall story, many of them are so entrenched in their historical identities that they bear little to no resemblance to their real-life counterparts. However, with cowboy militia men tracking down alien crash sites and dodging Nazi, American and Franco-Mexican agents, a little subtlety goes a long way. Still, the site is pretty bare as far as character profiles go, and with so much history packed in the pages, an onsite introduction probably should be considered.

The navigation is slightly different – with Previous Page, Next Page, Next Chapter, Current Chapter and This Week options. If you want to go forward, you just click the current page, which makes speed reading quick, easy and convenient. However, going backwards is a bit more difficult with the aforementioned buttons, and I’d hazard a guess most of those could be replaced with a simple archives link.

The art is exceptionally professional, and quite frankly one of the reasons this alternate history subject matter works so well, as Bieser’s visuals complement Smith’s quirky and innovative scripting. Admittedly, this is the kind of exposition-heavy story that could collapse under its own weight in the hands of other creators, but Smith and Bieser make it work through an affection for the characters which is colorfully portrayed.

Overall, Roswell, Texas is yet another engrossing read  and one that is undeniably cinematic and creative as well. As I said before, there aren’t too many alternate history works in the genre of webcomics – but this one should do well to set the gold standard for years to come.

In other news, I’m really glad to see Last Blood sitting gory at number #1 of Top Webcomics. After reading it all the way, I am slightly disappointed in a few areas: several characters literally bit the dust too soon, and the plot of zombies piloting air planes to engineer the downfall of mankind has become too far too convoluted. With that said, however, this webcomic has never failed to keep me coming back for more – it knows how to get its hooks stuck right into you!

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