Friday, May 26, 2017

Back Issue Week Friday edition


This set of back issues to look for has a theme.  It is, comics about war, from the Korean war to the mid 1980s.  Or, nearly the entire length of the first Cold war.  Broken by Reagan's military spending and directed financial attacks, the Soviet Union collapsed and the world has been recovering since.  The books here are not all well established, but I've chosen for these recommendations books to give you thought about the story being told, and why it is being told the way that it is.

When the Berlin Wall fell, everybody knew the world had, in fact, changed. The people of Germany above all others knew this, and welcomed the change.  To celebrate the fall of the wall, a European publisher released Breakthrough.  Not only was this moment about the Wall, it also, de facto celebrated the end of World War 2 in Germany.  With the reunion of the two German states, East Germany, of the Communists, controlled by the Soviets, and West Germany, member of Nato and the financial powerhouse of continental Europe united as one state, the war and punishments and sanctions were truly over.

This work is amazing.  I gave copies of it to my German friends working in the US.  A couple even broke down in tears reading, by just paging through it.  I loved having this book to share.

The works of Joe Sacco are political, deeply disturbing, and important.  His views on Gaza and Palestine are, perhaps, fair, to some who side with Israel, but his works aren't there to present both sides equally.   As opposed to the stories in comics that use the action and drama to show the cost of war, Joe Sacco investigates it on a moral and personal level.  Those kind of works are almost always going to show a single side more than the others.

The Arab/Palestine/Israeli wars as seen by Garth Ennis and Tomas Aira in War Stories, is brutal, horrifying, entering the genre of horror at times, and well done.  The tank stories here illustrate the wars well.  They were a nightmare of blood, sand, and hate.  Anyone who is a history reader, such as me, will tell you, the intensity of this is painted incredibly well, both in the words and in the art.

Eclipse Comics published a number of anti war, anti establishment comics.  This was not a bad thing, not anything just following their personal and political viewpoints.  This can work against a company.  When doing anything that ruffles feathers, it is important to be aware of the backlash.  Having said that, I bought these, bought more than for just myself, and shared them.  I might not be a prototype Lefty, but I am a person who thinks we resort to war far too much.  El Salvador was a document of the fucked up situation greed and bitterness led to.  Real War Stories were two relatively anti military books, that told stories about how bad things can happen in the name of country.  Brought to Light by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz was a thorough, heartbreaking look into the consequences of black operations, the Iran Contra Affair, and the actions of the CIA run rampant.


In The Other Side Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart tell the story of being the home team in the Vietnam war.  It is rather unique in doing this, no matter how dark this is, it is important and was a truly great work.  As hard as it was for Americans, it was worse for the Vietnamese people.  This is a story about a tragedy.

Marvel's THE NAM is similarly disturbing, but from different perspectives.  In this case the stories are very well done, being in many ways the war recollections of US and Allies who served.  With attention to detail, an accurate depictions of people and equipment, the Nam is powerful story.  And Marvel was

WAR MAN was a story of the 1980s world of brushfire wars, arms dealing, and the desire to fulfill one's desires, monetarily and physically more than any desire to help others.  Some might see this as a cynical work.  Or a metaphor for various people who make profit from war but are also seen as being "heroic".  This is different than any other Chuck Dixon work.  He isn't evangelizing the world of arms, money and war.  He is showing a side of it, but not promoting it, from the perspective of a person who has a body of work using war a setting. 

No comments: