cover image Guantanamo Voices

Guantanamo Voices

Sara Mirk. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4690-1

Mirk (Open Earth) teams up with more than a dozen talented artists to present these wrenching illustrated oral histories, which function eloquently as “an antidote to forgetting,” as reporter Omar El Akkad writes in his introduction. Each piece is based on original interviews with individuals who spent time at the Guantanamo Bay prison, among them ex-prisoners, service members, and a former chief of Middle East counterintelligence. Their stories form a damning mosaic of a Kafkaesque facility that was built on non-U.S. soil in order to circumvent federal laws guaranteeing the right of prisoners to free trials, thereby trapping them in years of imprisonment, some with no formal charges ever laid against them. Aside from the brutal conditions and torture described by ex-prisoners such as Moazzam Begg, testimony is given from lawyers like Matthew Diaz, who blew the whistle on the human rights abuses occurring—and subsequently had his career destroyed. Though the artistic styles vary, ranging from the expressionistic linework of Omar Khouri to the immediately charming comics of Kane Lynch, the warm color palette designed by Kazimir Lee unifies the collection while helping the heavy subject matter stay measurably more approachable. This anthology disturbs and illuminates in equal measure. Agent: Fiona Kenshole, Transatlantic Agency. (Sept.)