Tag Archives: david axe

Review: Machete Squad

It’s Tuesday so that means it’s “Trade Tuesday!” We’re reviewing one of the debut graphic novels from new comic publisher Dead Reckoning that’s coming out this September! Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint from the Naval Institute Press.

Machete Squad recounts some of the experience of Brent Dulak while serving in Afghanistan. It’s an honest first hand account of war that few of us see. The graphic novel is by Dulak, Kevin Knodell, Per Berg, and David Axe.

You can order your copy now and it will be released September 15th. You can also order it through Amazon.


Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: The ‘Stan

We continue our “Trade Tuesday” reviews with a graphic novel that’s coming out this September! Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint from the Naval Institute Press.

The ‘Stan is a graphic novel anthology and one of the first releases from the imprint and features stories from those who have served in the US mission in Afghanistan.

Kevin Knodell, David Axe, and Blue Delliquanti deliver a graphic novel that’s a perfect example of graphic journalism capturing the stories of the soldiers.

You can order your copy now and it will be released September 15th,


Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Army of God

army of god coverIn 2012, an African guerrilla leader broke into America’s pop-culture consciousness. Africa watchers had long been warning about the Lord’s Resistance Army and their murderous acts, but only after a viral documentary and social media campaign sparked public interest did Joseph Kony become the subject of a worldwide movement. But crucial questions remained: who was Kony, and where did he come from? Veteran graphic journalist David Axe and illustrator Tim Hamilton attempt to give those not familiar with Kony and the LRA and easy to follow and understand guide to their crimes.

Army of God draws from Axe’s on-the-ground reporting a depicts the bloody history of Central Africa and the struggles for power that have beleaguered the continent for decades. The graphic novel begins with the colonial abuse of the region, through the rise of Kony and his claim in 1991 that spiritual beings had come to him with instructions to lead his group of rebels through modern times including the KONY 2012 campaign and attempts to bring the wanted man to justice.

Axe takes an interesting narrative tract, presenting the history of these events as we know them, but also shows the atrocities committed through the experiences of several regular Africans. It’s effective and gives a good idea as to what has occurred.

I wouldn’t call this a deep account of history. It’s a good Cliff’s Notes version. It tells you the history from colonial days to the modern times and the failure by recent United States President’s to bring Kony to justice. It also dips into some of the activism concerning the LRA and the infamous viral video by Invisible Children. While the video was important and some of the negativity surrounding it is talked about, there might too big of a focus on the non-profit organization and not enough criticism of their activities or their long-term impact. There is some there, but overall for those of us who work in the non-profit/political arena that criticism alone could fill a book. It feels a bit out-of-place and the inclusion of the activism seems out-of-place.

The graphic novel though left me in a good spot as to my understanding of Kony and the LRA and some of the difficulties and hurdles experienced in bringing them to justice. This is a handy read for those who want to learn more and aren’t sure where to start, but this is definitely not the a deep historical look.

For those that want to learn more about the LRA’s history, this is a great place to start.

Story: David Axe Art: Tim Hamilton
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Public Affairs Books provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Novel Supports Terrorists?

ArmyofGod-cover-finalDavid Axe and Tim Hamilton‘s latest work, Army of God, has gotten the attention of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The entity has confiscated the majority of an advance payment to Hamilton, claiming that they were laundering the money for onward transfer to a terrorist organization.

The graphic novel is a non-fiction telling of Joseph Kony’s activities in the Congo. The graphic novel, written by journalist Axe, was originally serialized on the Website Cartoon Movement, and is being published next year by Public Affairs, a member of the Perseus Books Group.

Earlier in December the money was seized when Hamilton’s agent attempted to wire the advance payment for extra chapters that the artist illustrated for the graphic collection. When Hamilton’s agent contacted the bank to find out more, he was told that the party holding the funds was the federal wire fraud unit, which suspected that the creators were laundering funds for a terrorist organization.

The federal banking authority, which monitors every wire, foreign and domestic, apparently seized the funds due to the title of the book, which threw up a red flag.

At the time of the press release about this issue, the funds have not been released to Hamilton or his agent despite the involvement of lawyers. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has also been contacted and apprised of the situation.

The book itself is listed with Amazon and in Public Affairs’ online catalog.

Here’s the solicit text of the book:

It started with a visit from spirits. In 1991, Joseph Kony, the leader of a Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, claimed that spiritual beings had come to him, instructing him to lead brutal raids against civilians supporting the Ugandan government. In the decades since, wars have been waged to supplant him, yet for all the horror and condemnation his brutality has aroused around the world, Joseph Kony still survives. In ARMY OF GOD, war correspondent David Axe collaborates with illustrator Tim Hamilton to create the first-ever graphic account of the global phenomenon surrounding Kony, from the chaos he has left behind to the long campaign to defeat him for good.

David Axe is a freelance reporter based in Columbia, South Carolina. Since 2005 he has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Chad, Congo and other conflict zones, for Wired, the BBC, Salon, Esquire, C-SPAN, Voice of America and many others. David is the author of War Fix, War is Boring, and, most recently, The Accidental Candidate.

Tim Hamilton is a Brooklyn artist who has produced illustrations for The New York Times, Cicada magazine, DC comics, Marvel comics, Mad magazine, Nickelodeon magazine, and Lifetime. He adapted Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 into a graphic novel, which was nominated for an Eisner award.

To say this is an overstretch by the federal government is an understatement. It violates first amendment speech as well as interferes with the journalistic process. I’m not even sure how one would connect these dots to begin with.

Graphic journalist Matt Bors, who edited the graphic novel offers:

OFAC hasn’t responded to my request for comment yet, but their answering machine urged me to visit the U.S. Treasury’s website. Comics wouldn’t be a great way to fund terrorism. They don’t pay very well. But now we know no one fighting terrorism knows how to use Google, which sure makes me feel safe.

SPX 2012 – Thoughts on the Show and Books to Review

Small Press Expo 2012 has come and gone and while I didn’t spend long there, about 4 hours, I made it around the floor multiple times and picked up a thick stack of books to review (and some original art). The show was packed with all types of people across the age spectrum. Folks are reporting this was a great show, and you could see it. Indie comics are booming if this is any indication.

The books on the show floor were varied and there was something for everyone, but here’s what I picked up, in no particular order.

Comic: Burning Building Comix
Creator: Jeff Zwrek

This graphic novel is read a bit differently, telling the story one floor at a time in a burning building. The concept is cool and execution fun. The design is what sold me and this is a book I haven’t seen another example of in it’s execution. Hopefully the interior is as creative as the exterior concept.

Comic: Johnny Hiro
Creator: Fred Chao

I was sold with the words “honor-bound business ronin.” I’m still not 100% sure what the comic is about, but the art is solid and beautiful to look at. I flipped through some pages and it looks really entertaining.

Comic: The Accidental Candidate: The Rise and Fall of Alvin Greene

Creator: Corey Hutchins and David Axe – writer, Blue Delliquanti – art

The story of South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene that came out of no where. This was the political story for a solid month and it’s a book I’ve wanted to get my hands on since I heard it was released.

Comic: Nathan Sorry
Creator: Rich Barrett

I picked up both volumes which follows a man who’s on the run after he steals $20 million post 9/11. The art was cool and story intriguing. It seemed like an easy buy for me.

Comic: Infinity Roads Vol. 1
Creator: Tim Sparvero

A science fiction story about a man who has created a life in his dreams where he’s fallen in love. The story description is a bit weird and that sold me. Should be an interesting read.

Comic: The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
Creator: E.K. Weaver

Two guys head cross country from Berkeley to Providence. The story seems to be a coming of age sort of thing and the interior art hooked me. I seriously have no idea what to expect with this.

Comic: Between Gears
Creator: Natalie Nourigat

This is the type of book that hooks me, an autobiographical comic detailing Nourigat’s last year at the University of Oregon. Don’t know why, but I find these types of books fascinating and the art looked solid. An easy sale to me.

Comic: Afrodisiac
Creator: Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca

The art has this throwback 70s look and it’s a blaxploitation comic, sold.

Comic: The Deadbeat
Creator: Jeremy Massie

A story about a down on his luck superhero and his estranged daughter. It’s a story I thought about writing (well something close) so very interested in reading this.

Comic: Lower East Side Story #1-3
Creator: Peter Friedrich

Friedrich decided to take a look at the gentrification of the Lower East Side of New York City. He had photos to show what it looked like and his comic is pretty well researched in how it happened.

Comic: Old-Timey Hockey Tales
Creator: Robert Ullman and Jeffrey Brown

I’m a fan of hockey, nuff said.

Review – War Is Boring

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War Is BoringDavid Axe is a journalist and with that you’d expect going to shit holes around the world would deliver stories that are absolutely amazing and made for the pages of a graphic novel.  Instead War Is Boring just teases that excitement and instead shows a life that’s pretty unglamorous.

As a correspondent for the Washington Times, C-Span, and BBC Radio, Axe flew from conflict to conflict, reveling in death, danger, and destruction abroad.  Meanwhile, back in D.C., his apartment gathered dust, his plants died, and his relationships withered.  War reporting was physically, emotionally, and financially draining – and disillusioning.  He had begun his sojourn as a “war tourist.”  But the next four years turned David into a deeply political man – his work became less about him and more about the true victims of the world’s conflicts.  Loosely based on the Web comic of the same name, with extensive new material, War is Boring takes us to Lebanon and Somalia; to arms bazaars across the United States; to Detroit, as David tries to reconnect with his family; and to Chad, as David attempts to bring attention to the Darfur genocide.

I could come up with all kinds of metaphors for this graphic novel based on journey’s but Axe’s story isn’t really about the wars he’s covering but instead a look at his growth as a person.  His relationships suffer, his money situation doesn’t improve and much like the victims he covers his life goes more to shit the more he covers them.

It’s a fascinating spiral of a war correspondent.  He might have started as a tourist but in the end he’s as emotionally invested as those involved in the conflicts he covers.  There’s a great story here and fascinating tale for those interested in politics, war and journalism.

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