Seamus Heffernan’s Freedom explores what life would be like in Boston if the upstart colonists lost the American Revolution. The main character, Adam Farr, is a teenage apprentice who ends up caught between the British army and the insurgents who haven’t given up the dream of liberty, as Heffernan explains to J.L. Bell in a fascinating five-part interview at Bell’s history blog, Boston 1775.
Heffernan tells Bell that he got the idea during a discussion of heroes in 2005, at the height of the War on Terror. Later on, he explains further:
During my research I was struck by all of the parallels of our founders’ struggle to rid themselves of the British military and that of people in the Middle East struggling against their own enemy, which happened to be us. Regardless of the reasons why, nobody likes it when an army lands on your shores and starts pushing you and your countrymen around. And when that force is overwhelmingly more powerful, you often rely on tactics your enemies decry as craven, dishonorable, even immoral.
I think it’s important for us to remember that we came from a stock of folk whose “betters” reviled them as traitors and terrorists. It’s also important to remember that in many cases, our founders acted as such, out of necessity. So I’d like for my readers to draw parallels so that they can look at all the situations in new ways.
It’s a fascinating idea, portraying these events the way they were perceived at the time, rather than through the lens of mythology. Heffernan has done a great deal of research in order to ensure that his comic is historically accurate (except for the premise), but he throws in a few twists, including a colonial-era superhero. He is publishing it with the aid of a grant from the Xeric Foundation; the jury for this year’s grants liked Freedom so much that they gave him twice the amount he requested. Heffernan released the first issue in September, and he hopes the project will extend to three volumes, each collecting five or six issues of the comic.