Calexit #1 by Matteo Pizzolo, art by Amancay Nahuelpan
Black Mask Studios, 2017
Available: Kindle ebook and comiXology
Calexit #1, a new comic series from indie publishing house Black Mask Studios, presents a frightening world not far off from the current political climate. A fascist, autocratic president takes control of the United States, but loses California, the sixth largest economy on Earth. The largest mass demonstration in history happens only one day after the president takes over, and not surprisingly, the state he lost has the largest turnout of protesters. The next week, LAX and SFO, two of the largest international airports, are blockaded by protesters. California becomes a political battlefield after declaring its status as a sanctuary state, and her citizens refuse to be ruled. Deportations similar to home invasions occur regularly; militiamen are hired to act as guards, and California is angry. Jamil, smuggler to some and courier to others, and Zora, a freedom fighter for the Pacific Coast Sister Cities Resistance, are at the center of this dystopian story.
There is strong political commentary in the first volume of Calexit that left me uneasy, yet hopeful. Pizzolo doesn’t pull any punches with his content, and Nahuelpan’s art adds to the gritty, imposing environment and characters. The President uses language and terminology that is uncomfortably like that of our current president, and has the same perfectly coiffed hair when he makes his fleeting appearances. The man in charge of deportation operations is the spitting image of Steve Bannon. I’m wondering what the next installment will look like in the coming months as our real world political landscape shifts.
This volume includes an editorial essay written by Pizzolo that sheds light on the world of Calexit and interviews with political activist Amanda Weaver, director Lexi Alexander, and professor emeritus and author Bill Ayers. Recommended.
Contains: blood, nudity, violence
Reviewed by Lizzy Walker