Oh, Columbus. We’ve all known you since childhood. For certain, it was during 1492 that you sailed the ocean blue. Subjugated the native peoples of South America. And, then, despite all reason, became the man we celebrate on Columbus Day. Not Amerigo Vespucci, that other, more humanitarian, enterprising Italian explorer for which our country is named. But that’s another story.
How you celebrate depends on what state or nation you’re in. If you accept Columbus as your life-long study buddy–he was on that 3rd grade test after all–you might spend this day blissed out with family, enjoying a patriotic cookout. If you live in Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota, and various cities in California, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Washington, or on certain tribal lands in Oklahoma, however, you don’t celebrate Columbus Day at all. You might celebrate Discover’s Day, Native American Day, or Indigenous People’s Day; or, you might not celebrate anything, legally mandated to work instead. Oregon, can we please just have a day off?
Thankfully, no matter the nature of your Columbus/Discover’s/Native American/Indigenous People’s Day celebration, there’s a comic book to suit the occasion.
Try some of these suggestions:
Empire by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson
Dear Golgoth: the world is indeed yours! But what are you going to do with it when there are no more superheroes to spar against? A darkly funny look at what happens when the villain gets what he truly desires.
Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar
Ready for a Soviet State of Mind? So’s Superman. When everything you’ve ever known is anti-American, why would you question reality? The Man of Despotic Steel: what a joy to meet you, comrade.
Copperhead by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski
Welcome to Copperhead, where’s the plenty of grime to go around. Being a sheriff in outer space is much like being a sheriff on Earth. Except for the alien hillbillies. Fully fleshed characters and plot: a Discover’s dream.
The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius
The dystopic journey of a low-class detective hunting an artifact, this mind-bending work lent much to The Fifth Element. Expect the movie’s tropes, only more.
Native American Day and Indigenous People’s Day
The unfortunate, tragic truth is this: yes, white settlers, led by the ever-intrepid Columbus, slaughtered the Native American peoples.
In deference to their struggle, check out one of the following publishers to learn from a strong people who continue to celebrate their own unique culture and heritage:
- Blue Corn Comics (Peace Party)
- Alternative History Comics (Moonshot)
- Super Indian Comics (Super Indian)
Now, back to Columbus Day. Or Discover’s Day. Or Native American Day. Or Indigenous People’s Day. Thanks to all of the open-source knowledge we currently have available to us, you can read as you please, a little or a lot about all sides of this “national” holiday. Enjoy some downtime–except in Oregon. Though Oregonians, I do recommend these comics for your lunchtime reading enjoyment.
Until next time: enjoy your comic books and learn from our shared history!