Movies critical of the Iraq War such as Brian de Palma's Redacted or Robert Redford's Lions for Lambs have taken their share of critical brickbats, but Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman's Shooting War, a 192-page, full color, hardcover graphic novel ($21.99, Grand Central Publishing), which is also critical of American involvement in Iraq, has managed to snag a awful lot of favorable publicity in venues ranging from The Financial Times to Newsweek (online) to NPR and Air America. Perhaps because Shooting War, which is set in 2011, skewers the mainstream media, the radical blogosphere, Islamic Jihadists, Lou Dobbsian xenophobes, videogames (Infidel Massacre: Los Angeles), and celebrity news ('Tom Cruise and Mary-Kate Olson Call It Quits') as well as the Iraq War, the critics have been kinder to its brand of near future satire, which gleefully kicks the trends of today over the precipice of absurdity.
Make no mistake, the authors of Shooting War are not the evenhanded, namby-pamby JibJab sort of satirists--they have a political point of view and not everybody is going to agree with it. Having Dan Rather function as a sort of Obi Wan Kenobi mentor is enough by itself to raise the hackles of the portion of the electorate that enjoys Fox News. Still, with national polls indicating that a sizable percentage of the American populace feels that the Iraq War was a mistake, the potential audience for this scathing satire of current geopolitical culture is huge.
In fact Shooting War has already garnered a substantial audience of more than 100,000 regular readers on the Web, where it received an Eisner nomination for the 'Best Web Comic of 2007' award (see 'Eisner Awards Announced'). Webcomics with large online audiences such as Megatokyo (CMX) and Penny Arcade (Dark Horse) have tended to do very well as graphic novels and Shooting War, which has garnered more than its share of publicity, has a chance to be one of hotter graphic novels of this holiday season, selling well to its online fans and to the audience that enjoys Brian Woods' DMZ (published by Vertigo).