As you may or may not know I (Neil) am very fond of graphic novels,usually ones that have a factual narrative and are ideally based around a war of some sort. So just thought I’d give you a heads up on my latest find, actually it was more of a present than a find (thanks love). Having read all ten volumes of the brilliant Hiroshima survivor ‘Barefoot Gen’, I’d since experienced something of a lull in decent comics for grown-ups. Fortunately this Christmas the drought ended as I received a hat-trick of quality literature. In the form of the Burma Chronicles (by Guy Delisle author of the smart Pyongyang: A journey In North Korea), Alan’s War and The Photographer both by Emmanuel Guibert. Have only finished the middle title I feel it ony fair I comment on this particular book here, though I’ve had a good leaf through the other two and they both look absolutely cracking.
Alan’s War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope is not a cliched tale of derring do or gung-ho heroics. His WWII experience follows a less familiar path of philosophical reasoning and a rather un-warlike concern for his fellow man. Poignant and frank in equal measures, the lack of bullet driven drama is more than made up for by how close you become to Alan throughout his journey with the incredible people he meets both during and after the war. The artwork complements his tone of voice really well too, with lots of really nice details (especially the fatigues) and great cinematic style frames, done in cool, clear watery b&w (see vid below). You can tell Emmanuel is a good friend of Alan and has embarked on this project in order to tell a story he really thinks is worth telling rather than just to make a few quid/Euros. Definitely one of the best things I’ve read in quite a while. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to conquer Burma, Afghanistan and then maybe Hunter S Thompson….
Here’s a fascinating short vid on how’s Emmanuel works…