Friday, January 11, 2013

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan.  Art by Niko Henrichon

Pride of Baghdad is a stunning visual masterpiece about a pride of lions caught in the middle of a war.  Pride of Baghdad is based on a true story.  In 2003, four lions escaped their zoo enclosure when it was bombed by Americans during the Iraq war.  They were free to roam the city but they soon became lost, confused and surrounded by fighting.  The four lions struggled to survive on the bombed out streets during the war and ultimately become victims to fear and violence.

The artwork of Henrichon is hauntingly beautiful while the story is told from the perspective of four different lions,  three of them whom remember what freedom was like.  The experiences of the lions in Pride are a unique snapshot of what it is like to live in a country at war and mirror the experiences of those living in Baghdad.

Pride is a graphic novel that provides a unique expression of war and culture.  I have never read a book quite like this before.  I was drawn to Pride by the cover art and just couldn't stop reading.  The story and the artwork are both compelling.  Pride is political, anti-war and full of the evils of humanity but it is also full of the love of family and freedom.

Pair Pride of Baghdad with The Zookeeper's wife by Diane Ackerman for a great discussion in a book club, classroom or for multiple perspectives of what happens to zoo animals during war time.