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A review of Roswell, Texas, home of famous historical characters being Texas Rangers

Ludic Live has a review of the webcomic entitled Roswell, Texas. Reviewer Leonard Pierce was not very complimentary.

The comic is set in an alternate reality in which the Texans won at the Alamo and established a Libertarian-style Republic of Texas that lasts until the present day (or, at least, until the time at which the story is set, in 1964). This gives Smith an opportunity to show off his knowledge of history, which is unfortunate, because he hasn’t any. Historical insight is either misapplied or missing.

T.E. Lawrence is a main character, and he’s portrayed as maybe in his mid-40s. In fact, in 1947, he would have been 60 years old, and also dead. The president of Texas is Charles Lindbergh Jr., who is portrayed as a middle-aged man; but had the Lindbergh baby lived, he would have been only sixteen in 1947. Why not just make it Lindy himself? Especially when you consider that…

…the main villains in the book are Nazis. Which isn’t that odd, Nazis being the most convenient of all villains in any kind of historical fiction. What is odd is that one of the main characters is clearly established as being the daughter of Adolf Hitler, who moved to Mexico after WWI and became a successful painter rather than a fascist dictator. This makes it unclear how the Nazis rose to power. But just to make it clear that he hates them, the author establishes that the Nazis are all gay, and dresses them in pink uniforms and/or leather bondage gear.

I know, it sounds kind of awesome, right? But believe me, it isn’t so much nutty as it is just stupid. That’s one of the worst things about it — it takes these insane concepts and manages to render them boring instead of hilarious. If Harry Stephen Keeler had written it, it would have been amazing; with L. Neil Smith, it’s just ridiculous.

The Malcolm X thing is a perfect example: at first glimpse, I thought “Whaaa? He made Malcolm X a Texas Ranger? This could be great in a crazy way.” But Smith doesn’t do anything with the character. He literally has no personality. He’s just a sidekick who tags along and occasionally provides some plot service or exposition. He could have made him a radical black nationalist in real life, which would have provided conflict, or he could have made him the total opposite, a fawning Tom. But he didn’t do anything with him at all; he’s completely generic. So why make it Malcolm X? For no reason I can see other than for Smith to say “I am aware of the existence of famous black people”.

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Posted on June 16, 2011, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. If Leonard Pierce’s other reviews are as sloppy, semi-literate, and agenda-driven as this one, then he should find another hobby. He’s not doing anyone a service by writing such drivel.

    • I know! Having an opinion of your own is the most nefarious agenda anyone can have.

      • You know, I’ve seen plenty of people get butthurt over reviews, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone getting butthurt over a review on a site where the review wasn’t originally posted

        • There were some issues a while back about Pierce writing a review to a comic he didn’t read; makes sense that Scott would complain about him having an agenda.

  2. Nazis are all gay, and dresses them in pink uniforms and/or leather bondage gear.
    Hahaha. I’m pretending someone things Gay Bejeweled Nazi Bikers of Gor is serious fiction.

    • Of course I mean “someone thinks.”

    • When Hitler encountered the nascent NAZI Party in Munich he found it was a collection of misfits — some down-and-outers, various lost souls, libertines, and quite a number of homosexuals, including Ernst Roehm, a former Reichswehr officer with greater ambitions. In our universe, Roehm became head of the Sturmabteilung (SA), aka “the Brownshirts,” basically an enforcer gang of uniformed thugs who helped the NAZIs rise to power. There were a fair number of open homosexuals in those ranks, who like most other SAs took the “Socialist Workers” part of the NAZI party name seriously. After Hitler consolidated power in 1933, the SAs became a liability, Hitler had Roehm killed, and the SA disbanded.

      In the Roswell, Texas universe, in Hitler’s absence, Roehm became head of the NAZI party and led it to power. Roehm’s NAZI party had a few superficial qualities different from Hitler’s NAZIs — for example, the higher a soldier’s rank, the more pink he wears on his uniform — but they were just as anti-Semitic and otherwise twisted. Roehm and much of the German NAZI leadership were killed in 1945 by a nuclear bomb developed by Albert Einstein and his friends, and planted by joint task-force of the Irish Republican Army and the Irgun (one very youthful participant of which was Meir Kahane). But by then the NAZIs had conquered the main island of Britain, and a new power structure headed by the formerly deposed British King Edward VI took over.

      Just so you know.

  3. Oh gosh, that webcomic sounds awful. Love the snark in that review, however!

  4. the world depicted in this comic is so insanely absurd, i can’t decide if i’m more offended or entertained. jeez — god help texas, please.

  5. Those who can’t write………….review those who can. Right Pierce? Smiths books will be around after you are loooooooooong forgotten. Sucks to be you I guess. To bad there was not a photo of you here. I envision you as resembling the fat loser comic shop owner on The Simpsons.

  1. Pingback: The Webcomic Overlook #220: Roswell, Texas « The Webcomic Overlook

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