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Wednesday, June 17, 2020 

Lucky Luke will deal with racial issues of the 19th century

The Brussels Times says the Belgian western comic strip by Maurice de Bevere that began back in 1946 is going to deal with racial segregation as it was in 19th century USA:
“Lucky Luke’s stories are supposed to take place during the Civil War and beyond, yet African-Americans are never represented in the albums, except in a marginal way,” explained Jul, the French screenwriter of Lucky Luke’s two previous albums, “The Promised Land” (2016) and “A Cowboy in Paris” (2018).

Throughout the 80 albums in the series, black people make sporadic appearances, often without dialogue.

The album “Un cow-boy dans le coton” (A Cowboy in the Cotton) will be released on 23 October. “It was conceived well before the death of George Floyd,” Jul said.

The album cover shows Lucky Luke, gun in hand, in a cotton field alongside a black sheriff. In the background are four Ku Klux Klan members with lit torches.

The story takes place in Louisiana. Lucky Luke has inherited a huge cotton plantation and will have to fight against the powerful in the region and against racial segregation. He is backed by his rivals – the Daltons – as well as Bayou Cajuns, white people left out of the prosperity of the South.

Besides the Daltons and Cajuns, Lucky Luke gets help from Bass Reeves, who in real life was the first black deputy sheriff west of the Mississippi. Born into a family of slaves, Reeves was considered one of the greatest gunslingers of his time and has arrested more than 3,000 criminals.
The comic strip was known for guest-starring several tongue-in-cheek variations on real life figures in the past. I do hope this tale doesn't stem from political motivations, but rather, from an altruistic viewpoint on race relations, and the writers for this story do have a good historical choice for the main black guest star.

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