Mad Cave Studios and Voices Of Children are teaming up to publish Lower Your Sights, a graphic novel anthology/art book, to raise awareness and proceeds for children impacted by war. All earnings from the book’s sales are going directly to the Voices of Children foundation.
Comic creators and pin-up artists worldwide are invited to tell stories that focus on the consequences of war, the peace/relief effort, and the resulting long-term ripple effect. These are tales about the human condition and how combat affects soldiers, family members, friends, students, doctors, politicians, and allies from afar.
Along with art from Tanya Vovk, Author of Illustrations and Director of Inspiration at Voices Of Children, the graphic novel features illustrations and write-ups from numerous Ukrainian artists including but limited to Inna Vjuzhanina,Mari Kinovych, Yev Haidamaka, and others.
As a reader, there are always going books, comic or novel, that you’re almost compelled to read. Whatever it is that pushes you along, whether it’s a need to fill an intellectual gap or fulfill a moral obligation and all points in between, sometimes you just gotta. As a reviewer, it’s pretty much the same. Between you and me, I receive hundreds of pdf’s for review every month and the biggest problem I have is deciding what really needs the attention, what I’m able to sit down and get done in whatever time I have to do it. Sometimes it’s really easy. Other times it’s a little less so.
And then there’s a book that comes along and demands it. Here’s one of those.
An anthology, Lower Your Sights is a book that isn’t easy to define. In an industry that’s pretty much judged on entertainment value, a comic like this might be tough to crack. But when you look at some of the names involved- writers Jim Zub, Rich Douek, Matt Kindt, & Eric Palicki are just scratching the surface- it’s pretty obvious that this is a project that was important to a lot of people who, to be totally honest, have a lot on their individual plates as it is. That so much talent stepped up, took the time to contribute their voices & artwork to an anthology that could very well be a tough sell, should elevate this book to “must read” status.
The stories in this collection range from beautiful to horrifying. Invisible Child, written by Brian Hawkins & illustrated by Ignacio Di Meglio stands apart in the latter category. In the Congo, a child was taken from his parents by a local warlord and indoctrinated into a “resistance army”. The boy was given a rifle that was longer than he was tall, and over the course of five years he carried on as a soldier “in the name of god”. After that five years, the boy came back home but had nothing in common with the child his parents remembered. He’d seen things, done things, had things done to him that no child anywhere should have to face. The story is beautiful, potent, and it is gut wrenching. It’s also happening, in real life, right now as you read this article.
The Journey of Milosz & Myr sits at the other end of the continuum, where Gabriel Valentin & artist Irlander Romero indulge in a fantasy story of hope & loyalty. Milosz is the guardian of little Myr, who is destined to reclaim her place as the Queen of Nebesa. Milosz had always believed that to protect Myr, he had to keep her far away from her place of power. But without the guidance and love of Myr, Nebesa has fallen into darkness and needs to be shown the light again. While not directly relating to the current chaos in Ukraine, it’s a gorgeous story about the importance of the hand that guides a nation.
As an anthology collection, Lower Your Sights is meant to lift your spirits, open your mind, & show you things that will anger you, break your heart, and let you hope that someday we can watch a news report that doesn’t include bombed out homes and displaced families. I’ll encourage anyone to take a chance, to step out of their comfort zone and put down the latest issue of Batman. With all of the insane talent involved, this book from Mad Cave Studios is bound to have at least one thing in it that you love. Given the purpose behind it, that one thing has to be worth the time you took to find it.
Final Score: 13/13