cover image The ’Stan

The ’Stan

Kevin Knodell, David Axe, and Blue Delliquanti. Dead Reckoning, $16.95 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-68247-098-5

This candid anthology collects stories told by American and Afghan soldiers that shine an honest light on a war that has spanned two decades. The colorful illustrated narratives, often showing the subjects looking straight “into the camera,” have the intimacy of documentary interviews, sharing the mental and emotional impacts of war that often go unreported. “Afghanistan has long known war. Afghanistan long will know war,” Axe writes in his preface. Stories like “Winter in Korengal” and “Left Behind” build empathetic human portraits, even as they render contrasting viewpoints about the kindness of Afghan civilians to the American soldiers and the repercussions of willingly aiding American troops. Delliquanti’s cartoonish style is just detailed enough as not to overshadow the magnitude of the stories, giving unique expressions to faces while simplifying the imagery for any reader to understand. The result is accessible to military and human-interest readers who might be new to comics. Based on on-the-ground reporting by Knodell and Axe, this realistic view of an ongoing conflict, rendered in a casual yet powerful voice, not only acts as a necessary record of experiences and sacrifice but as a humble thanks to all those who have lived­­—or are still living—through them. [em](Sept.) [/em]