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Some are incongruously funny, such as “The Man in the Green Hat,” by Sean Fahey, Borja Pena and Evan Keeling, which is the story of the bootlegger who supplied Congress with its hooch during Prohibition. Ditto for “Karat,” by Peter S. Conrad, the story of the late FBI Agent Brian Kelley, who was wrongly implicated as a KGB mole before the feds caught Kelley’s guilty colleague, Robert Hanssen. The stumbling investigation of Kelley is handled with a deft, absurdist punch.
And some just tell forgotten stories, such as “101 Miles of Monument,” by Jim Ottaviani and Nick Sousanis, which recounts the connection between the Metro rail system’s design and Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Since the anthology came out in late summer, there has been chatter about a sequel or ongoing series about Washington. Asked whether he would be up for a Part II, Dembicki demurred.
“I’m not sure I have the energy for that,” he said. “Everyone’s got their own temperaments.” Corralling all those cartoonists and storytellers into one project was enough to convince him to give it a rest on being an editor, at least for a while.
“But I’m never going to say never. Maybe in a year, I’ll change my mind.”
In the meantime, he’s working with Jason Rodriguez — who wrote “National Pastime” for “District Comics” — on another project for Fulcrum Publishing that follows in the District anthology’s footsteps.
“It’s early, early colonial stuff in New England,” he said. “Jason Rodriguez is heading that up. I’ll enjoy handing over the reins and being just a contributor.”
And he’ll even get to return to his roots for it. Dembicki is a longtime resident of the Washington area, but he’s originally from Connecticut, and he will be working with the state’s historian on his contribution to what is tentatively called “Colonial Comics.”
“They’re very interested in making this a historically relevant book,” he said, in a way “that you can only convey in comics form.”