|Comic trade paperback, 79 pages|
Published 2003 (contents: 2002)
Borrowed from the library
Read May 2017
Writer: Harvey PekarArtist: David Collier
Later, Pekar would write Ego & Hubris, but I think this was his first extended non-autobiographical biographical comic. It covers the Vietnam wartime experiences of Robert McNeill, apparently a coworker of Perkar's judging by the (extremely light) frame sequences. The title seems inappropriate: this is a story about how Vietnam was not a place for heroes or heroism, but just dudes getting by in often terrible ways. The thing McNeill got a medal for turns out to be instigated by his attempt to avoid assigned duties. It's in that grittiness of war that this book really shines. McNeill isn't a good person, he's just a person, with all that entails, and Pekar presents his tale in his characteristically non-judgmental style. I found the discussion of race in the United States military during the war the most interesting part of the book, an aspect I knew little-to-nothing about prior to reading the book.