US History in Comics for 'Hamilton' Fans
It’s a bit late in the month for an Independence Day post but I know in quarantine many a viewer, myself included, have been watching the American Musical Hamilton on Disney+ (over and over and over again) to celebrate what we can while indoors. In 2015, Hamilton took the musical world by storm and now finally it’s available to all viewers and it’s still just as incredible in the way it opened the door to Broadway and to making history more accessible for all people and for those who want to know even more I highly recommend these historical titles to help you keep the Hamilton train going NONNNN-STOP. American history has long been chronicled in comic books with a majority of our favorite heroes being born in the World War II era but you can find a wealth of comics and graphic novels depicting the birth of our nation. If you’re a musical lover or a history buff you’ll love these titles that give us a change in perspective on the events that shaped our nation and inspire us to this day!
Uncle Sam (U.S.) by Alex Ross and Steve Darnall
Like all of Alex Ross’ work (and written by Steve Darnall), U.S. is a visually stunning two issue commentary on the history of the United States where “Sam” is a homeless vagabond wandering the land of the free from as early as before Shay’s Rebellion to the Civil Rights movement and onward, taking in the more negative aspects of our history, learning from it, and facing the future with optimism for our country. It is a beautiful and poignant rose colored glasses-less book and if you get an opportunity to read this I can’t recommend it enough.
REBELS by Brian Wood
This title came out on the heels of the Broadway sensations initial release and it chronicles the start of the revolutionary war in a beautifully illustrated story of militias, the common man and woman surviving in the colonies, and has an exceptional show of humanity and perspective in the struggles of those not in the spotlight of the revolution lived through. I know my recommendations often hinge on the artwork and this anthology title definitely does not disappoint. If you didn’t catch it on the shelves as it was released in 2016, pick up the trade which has all 12 issues in one, you’re in for a beautifully done historical fiction treat.
Nathan Hales’ Hazardous Tales by Nathan Hale
These graphic novels are perfect for all ages and this author I highly recommend for all readers due to just how much knowledge he packs into these small books. He’s written several excellent ones about the American Revolution including Lafayette and One Dead Spy which are excellent showcases into the true happenings during the revolution that are much beloved by young readers and older audiences alike. He has written a plethora of other historical titles so even with the Hamilton bug, I recommend all young readers give the whole series a read!
Alexander Hamilton by Jonathan Hennessey and Justin Greenwood
Naturally on this list, I have to have this illustrated biography of the 10-dollar founding father included. This all-encompassing hardcover is much like the musical in showcasing Alexander’s life and if you are a fan of the play, I would say this is a must read. It makes this chapter of American History accessible for teens and adults alike, is well researched, and the artwork matches the writing in an exemplary fashion. It focuses on the facts as they happened while still being an entertaining and most importantly educational read for those looking for more beyond the play.
Hark! A Vagrant and Step Aside, Pops by Kate Beaton
As a teen growing up on the internet, you couldn’t get far without seeing these hysterical takes on history by the always excellent Kate Beaton and her adaptations on the founding fathers is still just as hilarious and is based wholly on facts or adapting them to fit surreal situations. While this entire comic collection is not based in its entirety on the American Revolutionary War, the founding fathers are very much present and you will love the book for the rest of its historical and literary commentary. Both books I highly highly recommend for any fan of history with a twist!
Written by Bedrock City Contributor: Victoria Flood