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‘Lizard In A Zoot Suit’ Adds A Sci-Fi Legend To Real Chicano History

From the cover to "Lizard In A Zoot Suit." (Courtesy Lerner Books)
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The Zoot Suit Riots of 1943 occurred in L.A. when Navy servicemen beat up young people who were largely Latino. The purported reason was that those young people were wearing “zoot suits,” baggy ensembles seen as extravagant at a time when the nation was supposed to be preserving cloth for World War II. Throw in the widespread racism of the time, and the powder keg exploded into a week of attacks.

Writer/artist Marco Finnegan took those riots, and his family’s own history, as a starting point for his new graphic novel, Lizard In A Zoot Suit. He combined the riots with a true story from the 1930s: a geophysicist who convinced the L.A. city government to let him search for underground tunnels that allegedly belonged to a lost race of lizard people.

No secret civilizations were found, but Finnegan wondered what would have happened had the story been true... and how that could interact with two young women who were part of the zoot suit culture. You can read a preview of the graphic novel and interview with the creator in our full story.