The Big Bend area has always been one of the most alluring places in the South. On one highway, a trio of towns-Marfa, Alpine, and Marathon-show that untamed geography stirs an inspiring spirit.
Back in town, comic strip artist Chris Ruggia opens his small studio with pleasure. “Jack,” his cartoon ode to the ecology of the vast Big Bend wilderness, stars kangaroo rats, jackrabbits, and coyotes. “It’s such an emphatic region,” the quiet man says. “As an artist, you really respond to it.” Guided by biologists from The Nature Conservancy and Sul Ross, interpreters from Big Bend National Park, and his own wandering eye, Chris’s more than 40 “Jack” online episodes bring art and the landscape side-by-side.
photo: The courtyard at Marathon's Gage Hotel.