Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The subtitle of this new graphic novel is "Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones."
It's 125 pages of terse, illustrated storytelling -- danger, bitter humor, outrage, the aforementioned boredom -- from freelance conflict journo David Axe and artist Matt Bors (whose sardonic strip Idiot Box graces CP each week).
The Columbia, S.C.-based Axe, still a pretty young guy, has spent the past five years covering wars for everyone from Defense Technology International (the deep-pocketed arms mag whose paychecks financed his sojourns) to The Village Voice and The Washington Times, C-SPAN, Wired and Esquire.
He's filed from Iraq, Lebanon, East Timor, Afghanistan, Somalia and Chad, among other locales, witnessing bloodshed, corruption and glimmers of humanity.
War is Boring is a very personal work, but there's nothing feel-good about it. Axe is alternately (and simultaneously) soul-searching and self-loathing. He runs away to war because stateside peace seems mind-crushingly dull (even if the cure strikes us as worse than the disease). He's happy to be home ... then itching to head back overseas, personal relationships falling by the wayside. He earns his cynicism, but ends up jealous of the people at home who are ignorant of all he's seen.
It's all rendered in Axe's tight prose and Bors' lean but affecting (and often bitingly humorous) style.
The book is new this week on New American Library.