Pride of Baghdad Graphic Novel

Pride of Baghdad is an amazing award-winning graphic novel published by Vertigo in 2006. Based on a true story during American bombing on Iraq in 2003, it was written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Niko Henrichon. The graphic novel received widely positive reviews and won 2006 IGN award for best original graphic novel.

The story in Pride of Baghdad graphic novel focuses around four African lions, the pride of Baghdad zoo. When American military forces launched their airstrike during their invasion on Iraq, the zoo got destroyed. The four lions then wandered into ruined city of Baghdad.

Previously kept behind bars, the lions finally got their freedom. However, this came with a price. This newly found freedom led them into a journey into a chaotic world, a world that demanded the best of their survival ability.

Review of Pride of Baghdad

A heartbreaking look at what it’s like to live in a war zone. Inspired by true events, this story tells of four lions that escape from the Baghdad Zoo during a bombing raid in 2003 and encounter other animals that offer unique perspectives, such as a tortoise that survived World War I. They begin to question the nature of freedom. Can it be achieved without being earned? What is its price? What do the lions owe the zookeepers who took care of them at the cost of keeping them in captivity? Where should they go? What should they eat? The four lions soon realize that a desert city is nothing like the grassy savannas of their memories. Their experiences mirror those of the Iraqi citizens displaced by the conflict.

The book succeeds as a graphic novel and as an account of the current crisis. Henrichon’s full palette emphasizes browns and grays that evoke the sands of the country, while his long brushstrokes and careful attention to detail reflect the precise and minimalist dialogue that Vaughan uses. An allegorical tale with compelling and believable characters, Baghdad makes it clear that without self-determination, there can be no freedom — Erin Dennington, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax, VA

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