I’m just going to talk about this for a second.
For a good part of my young adolescent years, I ascribed to that old notion that war was glorious. Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mora, and all that jazz. Die for your country! Its a right! War is an adventure. I’d been taking Latin and learning about Romans and watching/reading a lot of Lord of Rings.
My junior year of high school I got really into American History for the first time and I came across this comic one night.
The Dreamer by Lora Innes is an important comic - and here is why.
Anyone ever seen The Patriot by Mel Gibson? I find myself having to decry this movie against teenagers and adults a like all the time - from friends to my dad. They don’t understand my intense hatred of the film.
Well part of that hatred stems from my ultimate desire to have the American Revolution displayed accurately for audiences. Civil War nuts are famously nit-picky about media portraying that war because there are so many Civil War historians.
American Revolution nuts are extremely grateful to any portrayal of the war because you don’t see them often. We have….1776 the Musical, John Adams (HBO,) horribly innacurate flicks from the Black and White film era, and…The Patriot - a movie where one guy with an ax somehow takes out more men than troops with firearms.
But I also hate the Patriot because in good ole Mel Gibson fashion, the British are portrayed about as lively and real as Storm Troopers. If they aren’t being Dr. Evil - they’re faceless obstacles and plot devices.
Lora Innes’ comic is important. It’s important because she is taking accurate historical information and displaying it in a media format that interests a wide group of people. It’s important because she is doing it well.
Look at the second picture up there.
I remember seeing it for the first time, I sat for minutes staring the screen on my phone and zooming in to notice that those red dots in the background were not stray marks - they were bodies. And then I zoomed in on the face in the foreground.
Young, blonde, angelic….dead.
That was the day I shed that old belief that war was somehow glorious and great and an adventure.
Wars are won by the accumulation of dead bodies on both sides. The side with the least dead bodies wins.
The side of the conflict with the least amount of dead young men wins the war.
The Dreamer is an important piece of literary work.
It’s taught me a lot AND I wrote an entire essay on my AP U.S. History exam using information I gleaned from this comic.