Shooting War (Grand Central Publishing – Lappe / Goldman) – The year is 2011. The global war on terror is raging out of control. The American economy is deep in recession. The president is popping Prozac. When a suicide bomber blows a Brooklyn Starbucks to bits, hipster videoblogger Jimmy Burns is in the right place at the right time. His dramatic footage is picked up by Global News (“Your home for 24-hour terror coverage”) and Burns is transformed into an overnight media sensation. The next thing he knows he’s on a Black Hawk flying low and fast towards war-ravaged Baghdad. But Burns’ greatest dream – to become a war correspondent – quickly becomes his greatest nightmare. Everyone from his ratings-ravenous bosses, to a renegade squad of U.S. Army commandos, to a tech-savvy band of murderous jihadists all try to make him their pawn. But Burns has other ideas.
When I had the hard cover in my hands, before opening it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was already out there, great things had been said about the book, but what could be more true about a story of the power and abuse of branding and media than to have it have it be over-hyped?
Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman’s Shooting War had me sucked in by the fourth page and I didn’t put it down until I had read it all the way through. From a modern story-telling perspective, Mr. Lappe is marvelous… foreshadowing without being predictable, details that make you want to read every word and that stick, closure for the individual characters and the overall plot-line. This story was well woven, with every detail in place. Come on, Jimmy Burns has to be the best names character this side of Willy Loman. Shooting War could not or would not have told it’s tale as well without the art of Dan Goldman. Mr. Goldman’s combination of illustration, photography and amalgamation of both is the perfect structure from where Shooting War will keep you riveted in your seat. As a detail about this book, it is more than ironic that this tale of a blogger sucked into a word deeper, darker and bigger than he imagined started as a webcomic, even if it was Eisner-nominated at that.
Neither Anthony Lappe nor Dan Goldman are strangers to the world of politics. Lappe is the executive Editor of GNN.tv, the web site for the Guerrilla News Network. Besides having an extensive background in TV and radio, he is also the Author of True Lies and produced BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire’s Edge, the award winning documentary for Showtime about Iraq. Dan Goldman is the co-author of Everyman and is one of the founding members of Act-I-Vate, a daily cutting-edge comic anthology which is meeting the changes of the comic medium head on. After reading Shooting War, it’s hard to shake it, I felt very similar to this the first time after I read Art Spiegelman’s Maus. Analytically contemplative, shell-shocked and emotionally spent all in one. I went back to check details, catch what I had missed the first time, then just sat and took in the “shock and awe” of this not too far off possible future. If you are someone who really isn’t looking for someone to try to sway your politics while you read comics, I understand the sentiment, I really do. But in Shooting War, Lappe and Goldman offer a grand story that will challenge your ideas, make you defend your beliefs and keep you on the edge of your seat reading without ever making you feel like they shoving a conclusion down your throat. And if you are someone who seeks out political discussion in pursuit of making our world a better place and you haven’t picked up Shooting War… well, shame on you 🙂
Definitely one for your coffee table!