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Review of the graphic novel Through the Blog of War

category international | imperialism / war | review author Friday February 08, 2008 23:18author by James R - Common Cause

One of the most buzzed online web comics of the year finally got a hard copy release this side of the pond last month. It's called Shooting War and James R has the review.

Like many graphic novels, Shooting War reaches into a future dystopia to stick some allegories about the present up our ass for some awkward digestion. The setting this time round is a 2011 Iraq. There's a My Lai massacre a minute, a McDonalds on every block and mortars are raining down on what's left of the Green Zone like it was Saigon '75.

Enter Jimmy Burns to the fray. He's your penny dreadful Brooklyn blogger churning out anti-corporate rants all over the east coast but has no mass movement market to hitch his ride to. One day he's doing a story on corporate seizures of property and next thing a terrorist bomb goes off in a Starbucks behind him and he's got the exclusive.
Suddenly stuck for footage, mega media bad guys Globalnews steal his video blog feed, turning him into an insta-celebrity. Forced to dance a line between his DIY journalism and corporate cash, he's shipped to Iraq as one of only four American war correspondent's left there.

This is in part the peeled back re-imagining of Lappe’s own jaunt through bombed out Baghdad; there's visual gimmicks and vocab from activist sub-cultures for a sprinkling of further credibility from his years with the Guerrilla News Network.

It's in imagining the incidentals of future war and the political props of our own evolving dystopia that Shooting War rocks most. There's the jihad group that's cornering the call centre market with its throat cutting labour standards and the use of a dirty bomb to neutralise competition in the hi-tech squalor of Bangalore. US military has harnessed civilian technologies and next gen consoles to exploit skilled self-trained gamers that control robotic gun-bots engaged in asymmetric warfare straight out of one of Mike Davis' urban terror-scapes.

Burns becomes completely divorced from his inception as the netizen every-man, used by mainstream news networks with faces battered from the blogging storm. He takes on this paper cut out April O'Neil as Naomi Klein routine that starts to grate.

In parts the comic seems like a flue of outraged liberal steam before the story arc can end with a final affirmation that our governance by a capitalism with the personality of "Godzilla on crank" really is just an issue of a few bad men.

In comic book land it'll never end up a classic like Persepolis or more obviously Joe Sacco's brilliant account of his photo journalism in Palestine. That said, with history unfolding on our screens, context free and maybe, just maybe, sometimes analyzed with tones reserved for a Britney Spears outburst - Shooting War nicely drops us in boiling pots of speculation for the crime of complacency.

READ IT AT >> You can read the full comic online at www.shootingwar.com. They’ve produced a glossy animation too that’s worth viewing at the same site.

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From Linchpin, the site of Common Cause. If reprinting articles please include our web address http://www.linchpin.ca

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