Book Review: Readings

Shooting War, writer Anthony Lappé and illustrator Dan Goldman's glossy, all-color graphic novel, is a political satire focused on the business of corrupt journalism, wars on terror, and networks shaking hands with governments

Readings

Shooting War

by Anthony Lappé and Dan Goldman
Grand Central Publishing, 192 pp., $21.99

"There are two things I know to be true. There's no difference between good flan and bad flan, and there is no war," so saith William H. Macy as CIA agent Charles Young in 1997's comedic satire Wag the Dog. What made Wag the Dog such a haunting story was its plausibility. The idea of a fabricated war, complete with photographic images and video footage, no longer seemed to be a what-if question, especially as it was released just before the explosive Monica Lewinsky scandal, shortly followed by former President Clinton's decision to send troops into Kosovo. Soon enough, tiresome coverage of the scandal seemed to be fading from every television channel, replaced by screens filled with dead Albanians. And so the politicos and network execs shook hands and called it a day.

Shooting War, writer Anthony Lappé and illustrator Dan Goldman's glossy, all-color graphic novel, is another such political satire focused on the business of corrupt journalism, wars on terror (specifically the war in Iraq before it smoothly transitions into the war in Iran), and networks shaking hands with governments. In Lappé and Goldman's future, it's 2011, and Starbucks is more than an unfortunate American constant; it's an American icon. Elton John is dead. McCain is the president. The kids are playing PlayStation4 and Xbox 365. The future of independent journalism is in live-stream video-blogging. Yet the general climate of America in Shooting War – of vacant, ratings-based broadcast journalism and a chaotic, ceaseless war instigated on false pretenses – is familiar. In the comic-book creators' eerie vision of life in America, the future is the present, only slightly exacerbated by scientific and technological breakthroughs.

Shooting War was originally created as a serialized Web comic on SmithMag.net in 2006, but the authors finally yielded to the request of their fans to turn the Web comic into a book, adding 110 pages of new material, including new plot twists, more Dan Rather, and story closure. Similar to a movie dominated by images of war and violent fight scenes, the comic, at times, drags on and falters a little in interesting plot twists. Any story defects, however, are overshadowed by Goldman's striking artistic style. Goldman fuses digital photography he has both shot and found with digitally hand-drawn vector art to make for a highly technologically advanced spin on an old format.


Anthony Lappé and Dan Goldman will be at BookPeople for a booksigning Friday, Nov. 30, 7pm.

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