A new comic book hitting shelves this week imagines a full-scale revolt against the federal government in the state of California over President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies.
Calexit, a new series from Black Mask Studios, is set in a bitter future in which the state of California is plunged into a war with the federal government and a civil war within its own borders. The story in the the comic describes a world in which climate change has ravaged much of the state, while masked Californians battle the government to defend immigrants.
Although Calexit creator Matteo Pizzolo says this isn’t about politics but more about the characters of an era of hardship, all the talking points are there to convince us of how wrong a Trump Presidency is and how bad it will be in the future. Homeland Security agents are painted as the bad guys and Zora, a Mexican immigrant who becomes a “resistance army” leader, and Jamil, an “apolitical smuggler” are justly fighting back against thetyrannical government.
The comic and entertainment world are full of outspoken people who use Twitter and others media to object or make a point in politics and civil matters. We reported previously that George Perez’s and othernotable writers and artist are Boycotting comic conventions in states that helped elect Trump by not appearing to represent their work in that “Red State.” Dan Slott writer of Amazing Spider-Man quit twitter for a time because of the heated political conversations overload he was generating on the social media. Tom Brevoort the Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing at Marvel once commented in a series of Tweets: @DanSlott Tweet less, write more!
Do political themes have a place in comics? Well yes they do in satire the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose problems or injustice in society. Does the comic reader want to read a steady diet of this kind of hard approach to the political climate in Calexit the comic? Perhaps some, but as a person who has talked to hundreds of comic fans I think that a majority do not. They do not want to be reminded of thepossibility of a depressing situation and possible war in California but instead give me a situation where heroes prevail or not in an impossible situation with no “in your face” political agenda. I think comic readers are tired of political rederic in comics and a story they have to dig out of the political mess that might be interesting.
If I want the argue politics there is social media with Twitter and political message boards. Comic Books are bad place to correct society and they were created primarily for entertainment. People read them for story and art and not to see correct thinking forced on them.
Fact is California has a legal way to secede from the United States, if they have the will to do it. It is no secret that Black Mask Studios are not doing well they are taking donations on http://viewcomic.com/ to help promote their site and vision in comics. They have a gauge on the site showing they have raised $47 as of July 12, 2017. This is clearly an effort to put Black Mask media in the minds of comic readers.
More about Black Mask Studios
In an interview with EW, Calexit creator Matteo Pizzolo said the comic was developed before Trump became president, but that it had become “very much a product of the Trump era.” Pizzolo also said to him, the comic isn’t as much about politics as it about “people learning to take care of one another at a time when it feels like we’re all slipping apart.”
“The guardrail we’ve established for ourselves is to stay focused on the core thematic idea: to celebrate the spirit of resistance,” Pizzolo told EW. “And from there we avoid doing direct political commentary. It’s peppered here and there, but we try and devote our efforts to serving the story and characters.”
After the story, the comic also features nonfiction backmatters in its second half, including interviews with progressive activist Amanda Weaver and Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers.
Of course, Calexit is also a real-life political movement in California. In May, the Los Angeles Times reported that activists are already gearing up to attempt to place an initiative on the state’s 2018 ballot that would allow California to secede from the rest of the United States. An effort to get a secession initiative on the ballot in 2016 did not succeed.
The first issue of Calexit goes on sale Wednesday, July 12.