Emmanuel Guibert's graphic novel Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope is totally different from anything I've ever read. It's a picaresque memoir of a Californian soldier who was shipped to Europe during the last days of WWII, just in time to see the comic, banal, and wrenching scenes associated with the wind-down of hostilities. His is a soldier's story different from the ones we're accustomed to -- he and his comrades are sent to Prague at the cessation of hostilities to see if they can keep the Russians from claiming it in the post-war scramble. Afterwards, he wanders Europe as a chaplain's assistant, then as a civilian clerk for the military. He goes back to California, almost marries, breaks it off, goes back to Europe and bums around more there, meeting distressed artists, good and bad people, villains and everyday folks.
Cope dictated his memoirs to Guibert, an award-winning graphic novelist, after a chance meeting between the two in France. The two struck up a friendship and Guibert's affection for Cope shines through every panel. This is a kind of complimentary opposite to Maus: a story about a man whom war transformed into something better: tolerant, cosmopolitan, observant, and humane.
I discovered Alan's War through a recommendation from the inestimable Dave at Los Angeles's Secret Headquarters, my favorite comic shop in the world, during a visit there last spring. He'd read an advance review copy and couldn't say enough good things about this book. He was absolutely right (he's yet to give me a bum steer -- that table of recommended works running down the middle of the store is like a best-of-the-best in graphic novels).
This is just the first of several planned volumes in Alan's War. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.
Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope
Regular Boing Boing readers need no introduction to John Scalzi, whose smartass, snappy, funny, action-packed science fiction novels are a treat to read; but new fans and old hands alike will find much to love in The Collapsing Empire, the first volume in a new, epic space-opera series.
Life is a continuing cycle of newness, then growth, and then gone: then birth and growth again. I started thinking about that theme of new life and new beginnings several years ago, and WAKE UP!, published by Candlewick Press, is the result. Working with my collaborator, poet Helen Frost, our book is about opening eyes—our own, first—and pointing to the world that’s right here, containing us all. Helen and I are both based in the US Midwest, so we started there, with a world that we didn’t need to travel far to explore, only wake up enough to actually see.
John Scalzi’s on tour with his new novel, The Collapsing Empire: he’s posted a list of ten things every touring author knows, and very few other people ever get to see.
Yeah, Bluetooth audio is pretty common these days, so why should you care about these earbuds? Look how happy that woman up above looks. She’s got FRESHeBUDS in. Boom. There’s your reason. She’s also at the beach and it appears to be a very nice day.But for the sake of promotion, wireless earbuds are fast becoming the […]
“Gets stuff done,” is a good way to be described by anybody. Especially by coworkers or bosses. Because whether you’re in finance or a children’s librarian, stuff needs to get done. But how do you make sure stuff gets done? You definitely can’t do all the stuff yourself, unless your company/organization/government office consists entirely of you. And […]
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]