Thoughts of the Graphic Sort

A place where I can discuss my addiction to graphic novels.

Posts Tagged ‘Based on a True Story

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan & Nico Henrichon

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Oh, Brian Vaughan, I just can’t get enough of you!  After reading Y: The Last Man (posts on that series coming soon), I needed to read everything else his hands have touched.  I came across Pride of Baghdad before I read Y, but it sat on the shelf for a few years.  After I finished Y, I remembered I had it and couldn’t wait to read it.

Pride of Baghdad was inspired by the true story of four lions who escaped from a zoo during an American bombing in Iraq.  Vaughan tells the story from the lions’ point of view as they navigate the war torn streets and try to find freedom.

Not only is Vaughan’s storytelling in top form with this novel, but Henrichon’s artwork absolutely dazzles.   Vaughan and Henrichon pull no punches–the devastation of war is right in your face, through the text and the artwork, which makes the plight of the animals even more intense and gripping.

This is one of those stories where my only complaint is that it is too short.  I wanted more time with the lions, to see more of the world through their eyes, but it is fitting I was denied this request since war has the tendency to butt in where it’s not wanted.

Written by JP Weezey

March 28, 2012 at 8:00 am

The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert

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Graphic novelist Emmanuel Guibert used reporter Didier Lefevre’s photographs from his 1986 trip to war-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders to create The Photographer.  Guibert intersperses his drawings with Lefevre’s photographs to create an account of the selfless doctors who risk everything to care for those who need it most.

The Photographer is a tome of a graphic novel.  At almost 300 pages and the size of a coffee table book, it is a bit daunting, actually.  But Guibert skillfully arranges each page with a mixture of text, drawings, and photographs to keep the story alive and moving along.

The photographs were what really made the novel magic for me.  Seeing the real people, the images that Lefevre actually saw on his trip, made me pause and really appreciate what an undertaking this journey was for him.  From paying off clan leaders for safe passage, to being unable to save the smallest children caught in the crossfires, to climbing mountains in the dark to evade trigger-happy soldiers, Lefevre’s time in Afghanistan is an eye-opening experience.

But it is his dealings with everyday people and tasks, such as when he tries to intervene in their guides’ mistreatment of their pack mules or when the locals make fun of him for not being able to grow a beard, are the moments that truly stand out for me.  I was fascinated by how even the mundane tasks were so different and made things difficult for the doctors and Lefevre.

The Photographer is a clear, unflinching account of what war does to those who can’t fight back.

Written by JP Weezey

March 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Review

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