Jackson, Jack 1941- (Jaxon)
JACKSON, Jack 1941-
Born 1941, in Pandora, TX. Education: Texas A&I (now Texas A&M, Kingsville), accounting degree.
Office—Paisano Graphics, Austin, TX 78709. Agent—c/o Sunbelt Eakin Press, P.O. Drawer 90159, Austin, TX 78709.
Writer, graphic artist, cartographer, and historian. Cofounder of Rip Off Press, San Francisco, CA, 1969; founder of Paisano Graphics, Austin, TX.
Inducted into Texas Institute of Letters.
AUTHOR AND ILLUSTRATOR, EXCEPT AS NOTED
Comanche Moon, a Picture Narrative about Cynthia Ann Parker: Her Twenty-five-Year Captivity among the Comanche Indians and Her Son, Quanah Parker, the Last Chief of the Comanches, Rip Off Press (San Francisco, CA), 1979.
Los Tejanos, Fantagraphics Books (Stamford, CT), 1982.
Long Shadows: Indian Leaders Standing in the Path of Manifest Destiny, 1600-1900, Paramount Publishing Company (Amarillo, TX), 1985.
Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821 ("Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students"), Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1986.
(Illustrator) Robert Wooster, Soldiers, Sutlers, and Settlers: Garrison Life on the Texas Frontier, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1987.
(With Maurine Theresa Wilson) Philip Nolan and Texas: Expeditions to the Unknown Land, 1791-1801, Texian Press (Waco, TX), 1987.
Secret of San Saba: A Tale of Phantoms and Greed in the Spanish Southwest, Kitchen Sink Press (Princeton, WI), 1989.
(With Winston De Ville and Robert S. Weddle) Mapping Texas and the Gulf Coast: The Contributions of Saint Denis, Oliván, and Le Maire, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1990.
Flags along the Coast: Charting the Gulf of Mexico, 1519-1759: A Reappraisal, Book Club of Texas (Austin, TX), 1995.
Manuscript Maps concerning the Gulf Coast, Texas, and the Southwest (1519-1836): An Annotated Guide to the Karpinski Series of Photographs at the Newberry Library, Chicago, with Notice of Related Cartographic Materials, Newberry Library (Chicago, IL), 1995.
(Editor) Pedro de Rivera, Imaginary Kingdom: Texas as Seen by the Rivera and Rubí Military Expeditions, 1727 and 1767 ("Barker Texas History Center" Series), Texas State Historical Association (Austin, TX), 1995.
(Illustrator) George Farías, The Farías Chronicles: A History and Genealogy of a Spanish/Spanish Family, New Santander Press (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1995.
God's Bosom, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1995.
Threadgill's: The Cookbook, Longstreet Press (Atlanta, GA), 1996.
Lost Cause: John Wesley Hardin, the Taylor-Sutton Feud, and Reconstruction Texas, Kitchen Sink Press (Northampton, MA), 1998.
Shooting the Sun: Cartographic Results of Military Activities in Texas, 1689-1829 (two volumes), Book Club of Texas (Austin, TX), 1998.
(Editor) Manuel de Mier y Terán, Texas by Terán: The Diary Kept by General Manuel de Mier y Terán on His 1828 Inspection of Texas ("Jack and Doris Smothers Series in Texas History, Life, and Culture"), translated by John Wheat, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2000.
The Alamo: An Epic Told from Both Sides, Paisano Graphics (Austin, TX), 2002.
(Editor) Juan Nepomuceno Almonte, Juan N. Almonte's 1834 Inspection, Secret Report, and Role in the 1836 Campaign, translated by John Wheat, Texas State Historical Association/Center for Studies in Texas History, University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX), 2003.
Contributor (early career) to periodicals, including Skull, Slow Death, Fantagor, Mother Oats, Ranger, and Insect Fear; author and illustrator of God Nose, from 1964, and Optimism of Youth, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA); illustrator of Stolen Heritage, by Abel G. Rubio, El fuerte de Cibolo, by Robert H. Thonoff, and Tejano Journey, by Gerald E. Poyo. Early comic strips published under name Jaxon.
Jack Jackson is the creator of one of the first underground comics and a writer, graphic artist, cartographer, and illustrator who has continued to combine his art with his love of Texas history by publishing many volumes of his own and by illustrating works by others.
In college Jackson majored in accounting, and upon graduation he took a position with the state of Texas. He worked in a basement office in Austin, while at the same time creating cartoons for publications that included the University of Texas Ranger. So that his supervisors wouldn't learn about his moonlighting, he signed his strips as "Jaxon." His first comic book, God Nose, was printed with the help of friends late at night in the State's printing office. As Gary Cartwright noted in Texas Monthly, "The first significant underground comic was printed at government expense."
Jackson lived in an apartment house dubbed the Ghetto. Cartwright noted that the people who partied there included singer Janis Joplin; Gilbert Shelton, creator of "Wonder Wart-Hog" and the "Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers"; and Joe E. Brown, the model for Freak Brother Freewheelin' Frank and a cofounder of Underground City Hall, Austin's first head shop. Cartwright also noted that Jackson, their mutual friend Bob Simmons, and most of the other Austin artists and musicians, had left Austin for San Francisco by 1965. There they founded and worked in such enterprises as the Avalon Ballroom, the Family Dog, Rip Off Press, and Rip Off Review. Austin became more progressive over the years, and most of the expatriates, including Jackson, returned during the 1970s.
Two of Jackson's ancestors died at the Alamo, and he was fascinated with history from an early age. His Comanche Moon, a Picture Narrative about Cynthia Ann Parker: Her Twenty-five-Year Captivity among the Comanche Indians and Her Son, Quanah Parker, the Last Chief of the Comanches, was published by Rip Off Press in the late 1970s. It was followed by Los Tejanos, a biography of Juan Seguin and the Texas Revolution and Republic.
Jackson, who comes from a ranching background, wrote Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821, a history of Spanish western ranching in which he documents the ranchers' courage and resourcefulness, and the introduction of livestock, its ownership, and the evolution of management practices. He theorizes that practices like open-range grazing of unbranded cattle (mesteños), developed by the Spanish, were appropriated, as was their land, by later generations of Anglo ranchers. Jackson focuses on the area that now includes San Antonio, and he also studies the trade relationships between Texas and other areas, particularly Louisiana.
Larry McDonald said in Western American Literature that Los Mesteños is an example of the scholarly works that finally address "the failure to recognize the full importance of the Hispanic influence upon the development of the cattle industry in the West, or the denigration of that influence." Marilyn McAdams Sibley wrote in Journal of American History that "the book is thoroughly researched and the thesis well-documented.… In addition, Jackson writes with an easy style. Several interesting appendixes and a collection of his own sketches further enhance the whole."
Jackson's volumes include several that study the mapping of Texas, including his collaborative work Mapping Texas and the Gulf Coast: The Contributions of Saint Denis, Oliván, and Le Maire, in which the historical importance of maps created by sixteenth-century cartographers enriches the history of the region. Journal of Historical Geography's John L. Allen noted that "although the efforts of early Spanish and French cartographers to produce usable and reliable maps of the Gulf Coast form the central focus of the study, there is also a heavy emphasis on cartography as a tool that was important, even vital, to the clash of imperial ambitions of European powers in North America."
Flags along the Coast: Charting the Gulf of Mexico, 1519-1759: A Reappraisal is a limited-edition text that focuses in the first half on two maps created by Spaniards that changed the course of history in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the second half on the early history of French Louisiana. Donald E. Chipman wrote in Southwestern Historical Quarterly that Jackson's book is "based on impeccable scholarship. It is also a labor of love by one of Texas's most diversely talented historians."
Imaginary Kingdom: Texas as Seen by the Rivera and Rubí Military Expeditions, 1727 and 1767 contains the translated and edited diaries of two Spaniards who were sent to Texas on separate missions by the Crown to advise on policy and reforms. The diaries also reflect observations on the social and physical environments of the Spanish Borderlands, including topographical details and information about colonial settlements and conflicts with the Apache and Comanche tribes.
God's Bosom is a collection of Jackson's work from the 1970s to the 1990s. It includes a history of Rip Off Press and memories of his counterculture cohorts and a number of historical tales. In these he writes and draws the history of the Colt revolver and details a brutal massacre by the Karankawa Indians of all but 300 Spaniards who were shipwrecked in Texas in 1560. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the black-and-white illustrations "assured and strikingly expressive, rendering the details of period life with humor and great drama."
Shooting the Sun: Cartographic Results of Military Activities in Texas, 1689-1829, like Flags along the Coast, is published by the Book Club of Texas. While the latter is a study of the charting of the coastline, Shooting the Sun focuses on the cartographic history of the Texas interior.
The Alamo: An Epic Told from Both Sides is Jackson's graphic history of one of the most notable events in Texas history. Cartwright found that Jackson "takes pains to research his subjects. For the Alamo book, he spent as much time studying the clothes, weapons, houses, and oxcarts of nineteenth-century Texas as he did drawing the panels of characters."
Margaret Moser, who reviewed The Alamo for Austin Chronicle Online, wrote that the author/illustrator's graphic histories "are what make Jackson transcend the rank of illustrators." Moser noted that Jackson portrays the history of the Alamo not only from the perspective of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, but also from that of the Mexican soldiers. "To them," added Moser, "he has returned a kind of dignity by emphasizing their courage and sacrifice, thus living up to the book's subtitle, An Epic Told from Both Sides. It's a loving if unsentimental view of Texas's greatest battle." Jackson self-published The Alamo through his own Paisano Press in Austin.
Cartwright described Jackson at age sixty-one, saying that he "looks like one of his drawings. He has bushy gray hair, a floppy mustache, and the fixed scowl of a cantankerous, ascetic cartoonist who spends most of his time alone. A rare genetic disease similar to arthritis has crippled his hands, making it difficult for him to hold a pen. Nevertheless, he works at least six hours a day, every day, in the book-strewn studio behind his modest North Austin home. Work is his life, and it has been for years."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, April, 1987, Gilberto M. Hinojosa, review of Los Mesteños: Spanish Ranching in Texas, 1721-1821, pp. 511-512.
Booklist, December 1, 1989, Ray Olson, review of Secret of San Saba: A Tale of Phantoms and Greed in the Spanish Southwest, p. 717; March 15, 1995, Gordon Flagg, review of God's Bosom, p. 1298.
Hispanic American Historical Review, May, 2002, Paul D. Lack, review of Texas by Terán: The Diary Kept by General Manuel de Mier y Terán on His 1828 Inspection of Texas, pp. 354-355.
Journal of American History, 1987, Marilyn McAdams Sibley, review of Los Mesteños, pp. 156-157.
Journal of Historical Geography, October, 1991, John L. Allen, review of Mapping Texas and the Gulf Coast: The Contributions of Saint Denis, Oliván, and Le Maire, pp. 488-489.
Journal of Southern History, February, 1988, Douglas W. Richmond, review of Los Mesteños, pp. 101-103; November, 1997, James Taylor Carson, review of Imaginary Kingdom: Texas as Seen by the Rivera and Rubí Military Expeditions, 1727 and 1767, pp. 855-856; November, 2001, James E. Crisp, review of Texas by Terán, pp. 843-844.
Publishers Weekly, March 13, 1995, review of God's Bosom, pp. 66-67.
Southwestern Historical Quarterly, July, 1992, Light Townsend Cummins, review of Mapping Texas and the Gulf Coast, p. 129; July, 1995, Donald E. Chipman, review of Flags along the Coast: Charting the Gulf of Mexico, 1519-1759: A Reappraisal, pp. 119-120; April, 1997, Margaret Swett Henson, review of Imaginary Kingdom, pp. 511-512, Diane Reid Elliott, review of The Farías Chronicles: A History and Genealogy of a Portuguese/Spanish Family, p. 514; October, 2000, Gerald D. Saxon, review of Shooting the Sun: Cartographic Results of Military Activities in Texas, 1689-1829, pp. 308-310.
Texas Monthly, March, 2003, Gary Cartwright, interview with Jackson, pp. 64-66.
Western American Literature, spring, 1987, Larry McDonald, review of Los Mesteños, pp. 78-79.
Austin Chronicle Online,http://www.austinchronicle.com/ (October 11, 2002), Margaret Moser, review of The Alamo.
Comics Journal Online,http://www.tcj.com/ (August 4, 2003), Gary Groth, "Critique Revisited: An Interview with Jack Jackson."*