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
You’ll know Ben Hatke as author of Boing Boing-beloved illustrated kids’ books like Little Robot and Zita the Space Girl, but as this Children’s Book Week video shows, Hatke is a literal fire-breathing, acrobatic, sword-fighting superhero!
Pocket CHIP is a tiny, $50, ARM-based pocket games console with a full keyboard and a Bluetooth interface.
Judy Belushi and Dan Aykroyd are developing a kid-oriented Blues Brothers animated series with Bento Box, the studio behind Bob’s Burgers.
Why buy one of those expensive and confusing universal remotes, clogged with enough buttons to launch a space shuttle, when you could accomplish the same electronic control right on your favorite mobile device? The Blumoo Universal Remote, now just $52.99 in the Boing Boing Store, harnesses the audio power of all your household equipment right […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]