In the world of graphic novels one of the unexpected surprises last year, for me at least, was Alan’s War , a memoir of the World War II drawn by Emmanuel Guibert and based on the life story of Alan Cope, an American GI. More than any other comic book I can think of, and indeed more than any other book, Alan’s War captures the mundane ness of war, the everyday trials a soldier has to deal with. What keeps you hooked is the voice of the book, Alan Cope’s voice, matter of fact, diffident, honest. Cope is not so much the unknown solider as the average, unremarkable, ordinary grunt, the plain young man thrown into an institution much larger than him. It takes a while to figure out the true story of the book, which is how Cope held on to his humanity in the institutional setting he found himself in.
For more on Alan’s War, see this radio report done by Cyrus Farivar; it includes a brief clip of me talking more about the book.