Friday, November 30, 2012

It Was the War of the Trenches

by Jacques Tardi, 118 pages

From the muddy, labyrinthine trenches to the corpse-ridden No-Man's Land to the soulless tyranny of military bureaucracy, the horrors of war are glimpsed here in graphic vignettes inspired by stories the author gleaned over the years from the memories of his traumatized grandfather.

Everybody knows World War I's trench warfare was a horrible, protracted, generation-erasing stalemate, but these little details of just how hellish it was from the perspective of the helpless pawns being sacrificed for its sake offer a painful but important lesson in the folly and fragility of humanity.  The angry reader can only hope we never go there again, but given our propensity to ignore history and repeat it, the chances of that seem sadly remote.

It Was the War of the Trenches earned two Eisners and a Harvey award in 2011.

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