This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Pride of Baghdad
Published by Vertigo in 2006, Pride of Baghdad is graphic novel that tells the story of four lions who escaped the Baghdad zoo after an American bombing in 2003. Although the tale is based on a true story, the points of view it is told from trend further toward fiction than truth. Written by Brian K Vaughn, with art by Nico Henrichon the graphic novel actually won IGN’s “Best Original Graphic Novel” award the year it was released, but there has been very little chatter about the book since – though my benchmark for that is the fact I found the book in a thrift shop for $5 and had never heard of it before, and so twelve years after it was released, I wanted to let you know about the book.
I’m a little behind.
Pride of Baghdad can be enjoyed on multiple levels, making it the rare book that can provide a different story each time you read it depending on what you want to take away from it. If you’re looking for a family’s tale of survival in a strange and barely familiar world then you will find that here. If you want a questioning look at the nature of freedom, war, family, captivity… then you will also be able to experience that. Vaughn and Henrichon were able to deliver a multifaceted book that offers an astoundingly deep story juxtaposed against a survivalist tale that works even if you don’t want to delve further into the commentary on the deeper aspects of the tale – it’s also possible that you simply didn’t pick up on that commentary – no judgement here. I didn’t the first time I read it, which leads me to my final point: the more you read this, the better it gets.
Pride of Baghdad is a phenomenal work, and it’s featured here because I had never heard about it until I saw it in the thrift shop – that’s why this is Underrated.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.