Pride of Baghdad: Ain’t No Pride When You’re Dead

By Dave Ginolfi

When this book was first given to me to check out i was excited but for some reason it lay stagnant in the back seat of my car for months. There it lived amongst cd’s and empty bags of fast food from late night hunger raids. What a diamond in the rough it truly became.

I was in a position where I desperately needed reading material. I was in the waiting room at a dentist’s office. With nothing but 101.3 The Rose and the smell of old people to occupy my time I decided to get sucked into a colorful world that reminded me of the Lion King with a twist of Steven King.

This book was so vivid if read fast enough it seemed to come to life. That’s also it’s only flaw – its length. Although it’s short, it’s also very fulfilling but getting close to the characters is hard as it comes abruptly to an end.

Never mind that though let’s talk about the “animation.” The artist does a wonderful job of rendering giraffes, lions, apes and bears with such a knowledge of anatomy that it seems to be drawings over pictures of real animals. Interactions between beasts became real life and there was even a brutal rape flashback scene that brought a harsh reality to such a beautifully drawn story.

The pride of four consists of mother, Noor, her cub Ali, main man Zill and a one eyed, burned by doubt contradictor, Safa. Together they provide an excellent contrast of character interest and they each have different attributes that help each other along the inevitably perilous journey forthcoming.

From the moment the bomb drops and the animals are free from the zoo, there is nothing but trouble. The need to hunt, the disparity of strange places and encounters with both man and beast that prove ill to this fine specimen of survival.

But still amongst all the rugged realism are gems like, “At the end of every day, I watched as the horizon devoured the sun in slow, steady bites spilling its blood against the azure sky.”

All and all this book is amazing and I give much credit to Brian Vaughan(Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina) and his color coordinated partner Niko Henrichon for really bringing these animals to life almost as a eulogy for all the lost animals in the Iraq war. Enjoy.