I wanted to love Stokes’ and Herman’s Galveston. I am a die-hard Texan, so a Texas-set graphic novel based on the real life meeting of legendary Alamo defender Jim Bowie and pirate Jean LaFitte seemed like a definite winner. Unfortunately, the story just didn’t work for me. The wise-cracking, sassy characters seemed pretty one dimensional (or Jack Sparrow-y), weird misspellings took me out of the book (“Commanches” and “Comanches”, its vs. it’s), and not a lot seemed to happen in the story. Additionally, in real life, Bowie and LaFitte’s working relationship wasn’t as fun as it was depicted in the book so it felt a little weird to ignore that.
The plot of Galveston is simple – Bowie and LaFitte are in Galveston, Texas,. LaFitte is more or less running the town, and LaFitte’s troubles in Louisiana have followed him to Texas. His ex-business partner is in town looking for revenge. LaFitte also has a love interest. You can guess how things go.
While I didn’t enjoy the book and will definitely be selling it at Half-Price Books or Austin Books & Comics’ Sidekick Store, Herman’s art and the coloring are fantastic. The mix of ball-point pen and watercolor-esque shadings are gorgeous. On second thought, I might keep them just for the look.
Overall, I would not recommend this book to anyone. It is neat to know that Bowie and LaFitte knew each other in real life. Unfortunately, their business partnership was because of the slave trade. Not great material for a light-hearted comic, so Stokes left that part out.