THREE OF MY FAVORITE PAGES FROM THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER Vol. 2: EASY KILL (on sale March 17 in comic stores and everywhere books are sold March 23) by writer Josh Dysart
The title of this post isn't totally accurate. It was impossible for me to pick three pages that were my absolute favorites. Both Alberto Ponticelli and Pat Masioni produced so many wonderfully vibrant and dramatic images that it took me all day just to decide on the three I have here. In doing so I turned my back on some truly magical moments in this book. But here's my best shot at it anyway. I can only hope you see them for what they are. Three little pills... gateway drugs to a book that's out there on the shelves now, a book filled with 191 pages of beautiful comic book goodness.
Issue 7, Page 3/Volume 2 Page 9
I know this isn't the most visually stylish page you'll find in our trade, but I love it a lot. Why? Because I miss east Africa. I miss it with all my heart. And once and a while Alberto and I find some space in our racing narrative to take a deep breath and show it. Really show the truth of everyday life there. Here Alberto accurately paints a a picture of modern, urban Africa. The kind of image we rarely get to see in our media. A bustling town on a Friday night. Kids having a glorious time in a raging Kampala discotheque. The text on top explores the differences between the rural ethnic groups and the urban ones, and then that last panel brings it all home. This is not only one of my favorite pages, but Issue seven, titled BETWEEN HERE AND THERE, is one of my favorite single issue comic books I've ever written. This page is wonderfully colored by Oscar Celestini.
Issue 9, Page 17/Volume 2 Page 67
Here it is. This is a muted pallet "dream" panel, as Moses weighs the wight of killing a celebrity to bring attention to the war in Northern Uganda. This page sums up the idea of the entire story arc, but it was a last minute addition and the product of intense and pure collaboration. Pornsak Pichetshote, my fearless and amazing editor, kept saying we needed to sell the idea of the arc more. We weren't quite communicating how Moses could take this idea of killing a celebrity seriously enough. I think we were maybe about three drafts into the script for Issue 9 before we came up with this page. Often it's the simplest answers that elude you the most. Would you, Moses, rather kill an endless sea of children? Or one rich woman. What is a life worth, and who are these celebrities we value so much more than the nameless, faceless victims of tragedy around the world? Again, beautifully colored by Oscar Celestini.
Issue 13, Page 16/Volume 2 Page 160
Pat Masioni (the first African Cartoonist published by a North American Comic book company) did the art chores on the last two issues in the trade and brought something to this book that Alberto or I never could. A distinctive cultural style. When you couple that with Jose Villarrubia's magic colors, which seem to convey the light of equatorial Africa more truly than any attempt at realism ever could, and the reoccurring theme in our book of children using art therapy to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you get the start of one of my favorite sequences in the whole book. The story of Paul's abduction by the LRA and subsequent march to the Sudan training camps. This sequence is the closest to reporting the absolute realities of the conflict, free of any artifice, that this series has ever gotten.
The art in this book is wonderful. It's all so visceral and genuine and stylish. I can honestly say that the second Unknown Soldier trade is the work I'm most proud of to date. It's meaty and rich and sprawling and novelistic and I can't help but feel that Alberto and Pat and Oscar and Jose and I have managed to really do something amazing. I hope you give it a shot.
Thanks for reading.