When I first came back to the world of comic books, one of the things that I was drawn to were stories being told that weren’t superhero stories. At the time I clocked out of comics in the mid-90s, the bulk of the industry was built around superhero stories (and still is). And while I loved (and still love) the superhero genre, there is something intriguing of using the serial form of storytelling that we know in comics to tell other stories.
One of the first books I heard about and tracked down was the book Pride of Baghdad.[divider]The Award Winning Pride of Baghdad[/divider]
The book Pride of Baghdad is by writer Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Niko Henchiron. It was published by the DC imprint Vertigo, which seemed to largely specialize in these kinds of stories. (Our series on potential new television hits is littered with Vertigo titles like DMZ, Scalped, Y the Last Man and Preacher.)
First off, it is a beautiful book. It rightly won the Eisner award in 2006 for the best graphic novel of the year. The color schemes, the vivid imagery and just phenomenal storytelling throughout the art make it stand out.[divider]What is the story?[/divider]
But equally, it is the storytelling of Brian K. Vaughan that stands out as well. In this case, the work tells the fictionalized account of what happens to a pride of 4 African lions who escaped in real life from the Baghdad zoo during a 2003 bombing of the city. After hearing the account, Vaughan and Henchiron tell the story of what might have happened.
The characters of the lions are given voice and the story they tell is one of their escape, and their life during the time from their escape forward. There are also flashback points as well. That story alone is interesting but there is also a deeper meaning for those who want it. Each of the main lion’s winds up looking at the war from a different viewpoint and perspective. Such a move could easily turn into a sense of bombastic storytelling but instead the story treats each view equally and respects each.
The Pride of Baghdad is a story that you should definitely check out. It was only released in graphic novel form, never even having been conceived to be a monthly release. Vaughan wanted the story to play out in one or two readings straight through and felt like releasing the story all at once helps draw the reader in.
I agree and it is one of the best stories I have read since coming back to comics several years ago. You can find the Pride of Baghdad on the Comixology app for download or in various physical forms through Amazon.