Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Below are some sample pages from the earliest version of the book, which was eventually rejected by Chronicle Books.  I might post the rejection letter a little later, it's actually pretty funny.

But first: All the trials of rejection put me in mind of the great iconoclastic historian and illustrator Jack Jackson (1941-2006), who had to drive all over Texas selling his graphic history novel out of the trunk of his car.  Here's a picture of Jack Jackson in 1979 outside Rip-Off Press, which he founded in San Francisco with his fellow Texans - it's R.O.P.'s second or third office, on 17th Street and Missouri.
Jack Jackson, center, outside Rip-Off Press, all the way down on 17th and Missouri Streets. 

God only knows for what ignoble "high-tech" purpose the building is currently used, but it once housed the press that printed the work of a real American maverick - Jack Jackson - an Anglo kid who grew up amongst Mexican-Americans in Seguin, Texas, and not only never lost sight of their joined history but had the tenacity to painstakingly research and record it in a novel manner.
The Rip-Off Press building is not that far from San Francisco's old Roxie Cinema, where, at approximately the same time as the above photo, I went as a grade-schooler to see Kurosawa's Siberian adventure Dersu Uzala (another true story which, like Jackson's work - and mine - concerns land use and capital.)
Later, as a teenaged bike messenger, I rode by the Rip-Off Press building hundreds of times with absolutely no clue what a giant had passed there before me.
Just the thought of Jackson having to drive all over his native, gun-happy Texas, walking up onto peoples' porches and trying to get them to buy his graphic history novel in 110-degree heat should give one pause.  But that was Jack Jackson, the coolest Texan who ever lived.

It's true - my work is pretty girlie compared to Jackson's fearless and muscular work, but to its credit it's also 90% less sweaty, as you can tell from the excerpts below: