In Alien Alamo, Travis Houston and his son, James battle to save the world as well as their relationship in 1957 Texas.
The story starts in 1957 when the Russians have just launched Sputnik into orbit. The world was changing, and World War II veteran Travis Houston was struggling to adapt in Alamo, Texas, United States of America.
All he wanted when he mustered out of the Marine Corps was some peace and quiet and a safe place to raise his son, James, but the horrors of war, and the death of his wife. Have left him empty and distant. The meteor shower changed all that. Only it wasn’t a meteor shower. It was an invasion!
Creatures from another world want ours, and the lonely things standing in their way are a few men, a boy, and his dog. This is what Travis needs to purge his demons. A new war to focus on, one that he will fight alongside his son. They will come to know each other in ways that only the shared experience of combat can unite.
The Houstons are vastly outnumbered, but they are Texans, and they have each other. Fighting the creatures is not an easy task but they somehow manage to get even with practical ideas. However, this is short-lived when they face an even bigger challenge. Will they be able to defeat the creatures and save the world?
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Alien Alamo was created written and illustrated by Graham Nolan. Further, the book was colored by Gregory Wright and lettered by Eric Weathers. The art for the main wraparound cover was done by Graham Nolan and colored by Elisabeth Breitweisner. Aaron Lopresti and Butch Guice are the cover artists for the alternative covers offered in the campaign.
If you had asked me back in 2020 before diving into crowdfunding entertainment if I knew any of these artists. The answer would have been “negative”. Regarding American comics, I’m what people call nowadays a normie. I knew Stan Lee if that counts but if you’ll ask me to name the artist who created the characters portrayed in DC and Marvel movies I wouldn’t know how to answer.
Through crowdfunding entertainment, I’m discovering talented artists that have interesting stories. Graham Nolan is a veteran comic book writer, artist, and publisher and the recipient of the prestigious Inkpot Award for his contributions to the comic arts.
He is the co-creator of the iconic Batman villain “Bane”, the creator of “Joe Frankenstein”, “Monster Island”, “The Chenoo”, “Sunshine State”, and now, “Alien Alamo”. Currently, he is working now with his own publishing company Compass Comics Inc.
Alien Alamo is a western, action, and science fiction-inspired tale set in the 1950s. The 64-page perfect-bound book with a spot-varnished soft cover for the young and adults. The book has no label spine because of the wraparound cover style. The second and third covers are not. The art is just great.
The 1957 story is told in color. However, the flashbacks to World War Two are printed in black and white. The book finishes with two promo pieces of art featuring the main character, 2 pages with character designs, a “Thank You” page including a thank you strip, and a summary of the upcoming projects: “Giant-Size Two-Fisted Manly Tales” and “The Ghosts of Matecumbe Key”.
The story is clear, dynamic, and immersive. An alien invasion during a time when the main characters are facing their personal challenges and must figure out how to survive on their own. The story is engaging because you feel for the characters and want to know what they would do next.
What stood out to me was the emphasis on the father-son relationship which is so much needed these days. Father figures are important in a family structure for their role as protectors, mentors, and authoritative figures. The existence of their role has been challenged by the absence of fathers in modern family structures and diminished to even unnecessary.
The father and mother figure each has their role and responsibility within the family structure. In the absence of one of them, it becomes difficult for the one parent to take over the responsibilities of both figures.
PTSD AWARENESS FOR WAR VETERANS
I assume illustrating PTSD is not easy, but it is also not common for me to see in graphic novels. In the book, we learn about the struggle of a war veteran with PTSD. We didn’t have a third world war yet but there have been many regional wars and conflicts that generated many more victims of this kind of PTSD. Victims (veterans) struggle on their own with often limited or sometimes no government support.
I do hope this brings it more into the conversation to focus on the real issue of PTSD under returning soldiers which have been overly ignored. Instead, you see people more focused on PTSD from social media which may exist but it is not equivalent to the PTSD caused by war.
NEVER GIVE UP
The story of Alien Alamo tells you to never give up. Every problem has a solution. It may be difficult to solve but if you try it and it doesn’t work try something else, but never stop trying to find solutions. Sometimes the most difficult-looking problems can be solved with the most simple and practical solutions.
BE BRAVE AND FACE YOUR DEMONS
During one of the crucial moments in the story, Travis is forced to face and eventually overcome part of his PTSD. James is a brave boy when dealing with his father’s PTSD. You see this by his behavior that his experiences have matured him however he still wants to just be a boy.
EXPERIENCE WITH THE CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN
I may have been “overly enthusiastic” about backing the crowdfunding campaign. I got the tier with the ‘Monster Comic 3 Pack” which included the Alien Alamo book with the main wraparound cover accompanied by a copy of the 2020 Chenoo, and the 1998 Monster Island. All books were signed by Graham.
I also got the tier with the signed ashcan which contains the original layouts and the script. You can see the artistic progress and the changes made such as the third panel on the second page of the book. I also got the tier with the digital version of the book, the tier with the Compass Comics Swag, and the tier with the limited-edition shirt. Do you see what I mean by “overly enthusiastic”?
The project also included some free goodies, or stretch goals as they are called in crowdfunding, as well as an Alien Alamo featuring Cyber Frog Comic size print, a bookmark, 2 trading cards, 2 compass comics stickers, an Alien Alamo logo sticker, and an alien-creature sticker. I also received a “Thank You” letter which is very much appreciated.
Later, when I was receiving deliveries from other campaigns I backed is when I realized that maybe I have put myself in the corner with the package delivery costs. You know service fee, insurance, tax, that kind of stuff. I don’t use the traditional post service for these types of orders.
To say that I was concerned would be an understatement. I was in panic mode. I wasn’t sure whether everything was shipped at once or not. When I received the tracking number via Indiegogo I assumed it was just for the Monster Bundle as that was the only tier with a tracking number. Thankfully Graham and his team had the patience to deal with my issues. Great costumers service! And yes, everything was shipped in one box which made me so happy.
I noticed that some creators ship tiers individually which may be good for them in terms of saving storage space and maybe shipping costs on their side, but it is a nightmare especially when there is no tracking number.
Long story short I have a particular shipping situation where I technically use the services of a package delivery company to manage my packages in the U.S. That is why tracking numbers and invoices are very important for me to receive. Customs always ask to provide the estimated value of the product.
Alien Alamo is not just another alien invasion tale. It’s a story about family and courage. The art is beautiful, and the physical copy is top quality. The crowdfunding campaign is closed but the book can be found on the Compass Comics website.
Graham did a great job with managing the campaign despite the challenges encountered and did an outstanding job providing continuous updates regarding the progress of the project on a weekly basis.
So far, this has been one of the most satisfactory campaigns I backed so far. What I liked so far about crowdfunding entertainment is the professional way some creators are treating their campaigns instead of arguing with their customers or complaining to fellow creators. There are those like Graham who just get things done.
His next crowdfunding project Giant-Size Two-Fisted Manly Tales is currently live on Indiegogo: a collection of ball-busting, knuckle dusting, lip splitting, teeth spitting tales of toxic masculinity by some of the greatest in the business including writers Chuck Dixon, Mike Baron, Beau Smith & Tim Rozon, Kevin Greviouix, Graham Nolan and comic book artists Michael Golden, Butch Guice, David Williams, Andrew Paquette, Larry Stroman, Roberto Castro, Dan Lawlis, Kelsey Shannon and more.