Discovering conflict without Jolie, Willis, or DiCaprio


The US isn’t known for its thoughtful portrayal of African conflict. There was Tears of the Sun, the Bruce Willis vehicle that invented a non-existent conflict in Nigeria (in which the brace American soldiers protected mostly women and children from nearly demonic genocidaires). There was Blood Diamond, which admittedly is a pretty fun action romp, but still managed to reduce Sierra Leoneans to being either noble or rabid savages (save for Winston Ntshona’s excellent cameo). Hotel Rwanda, while well-acted and produced wrapped itself solely in melodrama, shying away from detail into the genocide (the excellent Sometimes in April, picks up the slack). Then of course there is Black Hawk Down, in which every single Somali character is waving an AK-47 or getting shot.

So it’s a bit surprising to hear that a new comic book, produced by the DC subsidiary Vertigo, is tackling the lesser known Ugandan insurgency, which flared up seven years ago. Not only that, but it’s main protagonist is a Ugandan man, not a wayward development economist or Jack Bauer. The series is meant to be graphic and perhaps a little too pondering in that way that comics can get, but historically accurate and quite a good read (Christ Blattman enjoys it; I wonder what a Venn diagram of comic-book lovers and development economists would reveal). I’m searching for it now, but might have to wait until the first 10 issues are re-released as a graphic novel.

Hat tip to the Roving Bandit for discovering it first.