A statue of the “QAnon Shaman” and others entering the Capitol adorns the Mall. Proud Boys and Oath Keepers patrol DC. Confederate flags flutter all over town, including behind the statue in the Lincoln Memorial. This is the world of 1/6, a four-part comic-book series that imagines a world in which the assault on the US Capitol succeeded in overturning the 2020 election. Harvard Law professor Alan Jenkins (pictured below) created 1/6 with activist Gan Golan and artist Will Rosado. We talked to Jenkins about the project, which kicks off this month.
Can you describe the universe of this comic? What’s going on?
We find our main characters about nine months after the successful insurrection, so fall of 2021. We see a raid on news operations that have been dubbed enemies of the people. We see armed militias and white-supremacist organizations roaming the streets. One of the things that we learned in the trial of the Oath Keepers is that they were hoping and apparently asking President Trump to deputize them under the Insurrection Act, so they would have become federal troops or federal officers.
How does their coup succeed when the real-life insurrection failed?
You know the point at which officer Eugene Goodman led the mob away from the Senate chamber? In our universe, the mob turns right instead of left and they enter the Senate chamber. The point is, only a few things had to happen differently in order for their efforts to be successful. In the best tradition of speculative fiction, we just tweak a few things.
How different is life in this book from what Washingtonians experienced during the Trump administration?
[His supporters] were significantly in control at that point, but they were not fully in control. The protections and guardrails of our democracy stayed in place, but they were almost broken. The more research I’ve done in cowriting this graphic novel, the more chilling it’s become.