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Max Brooks' 7 favorite graphic novels about war
The best-selling author of World War Z recommends illustrated tales of Vietnam, Gettysburg, and more
 
Take a page from one of Brooks' favorite books.

Take a page from one of Brooks' favorite books.

(Facebook.com/Max Brooks, Facebook.com/WorldWarZ)

Zulunation by Gary Reed; illustrated by Wayne Reid (Transfuzion, $14). Though for Americans the Zulu War of 1879 might register as an obscure chapter in the history of 19th-century British adventurism, it was the African Little Bighorn — a perfect illustration of how a technically superior modern army can be gutted (literally, in this case) by a determined indigenous foe.

Goddamn This War! by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney (Fantagraphics, $25). As brutal and horrific as the Great War itself, this book rivals All Quiet on the Western Front when it comes to the insane idiocy of the conflict.

A Sailor's Story by Sam Glanzman (out of print). There are no great battles or naval heroics in Glanzman's account of his time aboard a World War II destroyer. Just the daily grind, a regular guy's experience aboard a small metal box in the middle of a big ocean in a very big war.

Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki (Drawn and Quarterly, $25). World War II from the other side. While America portrayed war-era Japan as a ferocious, fanatical hive, Mizuki's fellow soldiers in this graphic memoir are characterized by their humor, frailty, and simple human desire to survive.

Vietnam Journal by Don Lomax (Transfuzion, $148). Based on the notes of a draftee's 1966 tour, Lomax's eight-book series reminds us how complicated and bloody a counterinsurgency can be. If only we listened.

The Battle of Gettysburg by Michael Burgan; illustrated by Steve Erwin (Capstone, $8). All the books in Capstone's Graphic Library series are priceless when it comes to educating children (and more than a few adults) about battles, wars, and general history.

Combat Zone by Karl Zinsmeister; illustrated by Dan Jurgens (out of print). From a reporter embedded in 2003 and 2004, we see the early days of the second Iraq War: the clean, swift techno-victory that initially looked like Desert Storm II. It's chilling to think that Zinsmeister, the soldiers in his story, and the leaders who sent them into battle all have absolutely no idea what awaits them.

Max Brooks' new book, The Harlem Hellfighters, is a graphic novel that revisits the exploits of a highly decorated all-black World War I Army regiment.

 

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