In 2009, I started on what I thought would be a quick, fun educational project: Creating 10 small comic books about Oregon’s history. Over the last generation, Oregon has changed so far, with gentrification, development, and a changing economy reshaping the state in many ways. I thought comics would be a perfect way to help newcomers and native Oregonians alike build understanding of our surroundings in a relevant, accessible medium. While many people won't take time to visit a history museum or pick up a big, dense history book, comics help bring history to the people. The project grew bigger than I ever thought it would! Local arts and culture nonprofit the Know Your City published the series of 10 comics, which have now sold over 5,000 copies.
The comics also inspired several other graphic education projects. Based on the success and demand for the Oregon History Comics series, Know Your City published a series of illustrated biographies of Oregon activists called Comics for Change, an illustrated poster about foreclosures in Portland, and a graphic guide to renters rights. The group also published a stand-alone history comic about Tom McCall and the Oregon Vortex. In 2017, Know Your City commissioned 10 brand-new comics for a second edition of the Oregon History Comics.
You can find Oregon History Comics at Know Your City, in bookstores, and at the Multnomah County Library.