/ Cory Doctorow / 2 am Fri, May 26 2017
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  • With Briggs Land, Brian Wood gets inside the scariest terror threat in America: white nationalists

    With Briggs Land, Brian Wood gets inside the scariest terror threat in America: white nationalists

    Stories matter: the recurring narrative of radical Islamic terror in America (a statistical outlier) makes it nearly impossible to avoid equating "terrorist" with "jihadi suicide bomber" -- but the real domestic terror threat is white people, the Dominionists, ethno-nationalists, white separatists, white supremacists and sovereign citizens who target (or infiltrate) cops and blow up buildings. That's what makes Brian Wood's first Briggs Land collection so timely: a gripping story of far-right terror that is empathic but never sympathetic.

    Grace Briggs wasn't born into the notorious, wealthy, heavily armed secessionist Briggs Family, but when she married the family's future patriarch at 15 and bore him three children, she became a Briggs. And when her husband went to jail for attempting to assassinate the president, she had to raise their sons together, while serving as Jim Briggs's conduit to his family, bringing him comfort items in jail and returning to the heavily fortified "village" with his orders.

    But now Grace has learned that Jim Briggs is ready to turn state's evidence in order to get his freedom and access to cash from fracking licenses, she has staged a coup, taking over the family, risking assassination and ushering in a new era in the centuries-old smuggling clan, a time where women like her are recognized as first-class citizens instead of property for their husbands.

    Jim Briggs isn't taking his wife's betrayal laying down. Within hours of her return from prison, the assassination attempts have begun, and she can't be sure it's not her own sons behind them.

    Briggs Land builds on the empathic -- but not sympathetic -- portrayals of far-right separatists in Wood's seminal graphic novel DMZ. It's timely: the Trump era has been a moment of uneasy glory for white nationalists and their fellow travelers, who, having long craved the spotlight, aren't entirely sure what to do with it.

    Briggs Land is also in development as an AMC TV series, further evidence of its zeitgeisty nature. Being a Brian Wood comic, it's also gripping as hell, a nonstop crime novel that involves rogue FBI agents, ruthless skinheads, closet racists and overt ones, doting parents who also happen to be unspeakable monsters.

    It's as promising a beginning as you could hope for. Read the first two chapters for free.

    Briggs Land Volume 1: State of Grace [Brian Wood, Mack Chater, Lee Loughridge and Tula Lotay/Dark Horse]

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