30 in 30 - Day 12: Pride of Baghdad / by Frank Gogol

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Like so many books this month, Pride of Baghdad is one that I waited far to long to read. And like so many books this month, Pride of Baghdad is both masterful and wonderful. Who knew a story about a few lions escaping from the zoo could be SO powerful?

Simply put, this book blew my mind.

Synopsis

Title: Pride of Baghdad
Storytellers: Brian K. Vaughn & Niko Henrichon
Publisher: Vertigo
Year of Publication: 2008
Page Count: 136

Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation - can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?

SPOILERS FOR KILL OR BE PRIDE OF BAGHDAD BELOW

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing

My biggest takeaways from this book, by far, is just what a talent Vaughn has for characterization on multiple levels. On one level, he is able to differentiate and characterize the different animals not only in their cadence but also in the frame of reference for talking about certain things. The bear character makes comparisons that make sense for a bear. The lions make comparisons that make sense for lions. Further, Vaughn writes each of the four main characters, who are lions, uniquely from one another. Every character has a unique voice that captures and projects his or her personality and point of view, and as a result, each character is memorable and discernable from there the others.

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art

Like in Frank Quietly so masterfully achieved in WE3, Henrichon uses visuals to characterize the cast of Pride of Baghdad. Each of the lions has his or her own aesthetic, but also a unique body language. Safa, the one-eyed older lioness, for instance, is slower and more lumbering than the younger lioness, Noor. It’s little visual queues like this that help further differentiate characters and that make the reading experience smoother for the reader.

Recommendation: A (Must Read)

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