However borrowers upload their hands out pages of unwelcome surprises.


Issue #06

I want to thank everyone for reading our first story arc and for following this blog. This book has changed my life and as long as it exists it will continue to do so. But of course, it cannot exist without you, so again, deeply, thank you.

This comic is a real work of passion for me. And every month it’s a battle to write. Traveling to East Africa, living with the Acholi, Lango and Baganda people, staying in their homes, eating food from their tables, witnessing the joy and sorrow of their existence… nothing else in my life has compared to these experiences and hammering that raw humanity I witnessed into a war book has not been easy. Sometimes I question if it’s the right thing to do at all. But having everyone come here and comment and get involved in this conversation about what I feel is the continent of the future, well, it gives me hope that the commercial decisions we’re making in this book go a long way to actually getting new and interesting ideas about Africa out there.

And now, being nominated for an Eisner for best new series, well, it just pushes our intentions out even further, to a wider audience, and I’m so excited about that.

We’ve discovered with this little web page that there isn’t a lot of places you can go on the net to get concise information about the LRA and the efforts to neutralize them. We even received a communication from an Acholi non-profit group telling us we had posted dates about Ugandan troop with-drawls from DRC before they’d heard anything about it and asking what our sources were (a deep web research tendency and several Ugandans I keep in close touch with). So I’ve decided to keep this site live and use it to blog about further news from Acholiland, East Africa and the continent as a whole as often as I can. Which, sadly, is not this month because of taxes and deadlines, but soon… soon.

And please, keep reading Unknown soldier! Because we’re just getting started!

One last time…

Thank you.

– Joshua Dysart

16 Responses to “Issue #06”

  1. zac Says:

    hey josh.

    well, I was on the fence up until this issue, which sold it for me. make no mistake, it’s good, well written, well drawn stuff, but I wasn’t really feeling moses until this issue, and without him it’s just a parade of horrors with a bit too much reality to it.

    but now I think I’ve got a handle on where you’re going with it. rather than a two dimensional avenger, moses is riddled with contradictions, futility, tragedy and self destructive impulses. I like how it’s deeply about that ‘unknown’ place in ourselves, and what it takes to bring us there, and the damage it can do to us. moses is kind of like our colonel kurtz and his ‘unsound’ methods for solving the unsolvable.

    keep it up.

  2. Drew Says:

    I have to say im a huge fan of this book. I was already a fan of the original Unknown Soldier and the Ennis run. When it was first announced I eagerly anticipated the new and fresh direction. It was a long time since anyone has done anything with the character and with the Africa/Uganda setting – it seemed to fall into one of those ‘why hasnt anyone done this before’ type of stories. The setting and content are something far different from most of the books out there.

    When I first got the book I was blown away by the artwork and writing. Im sensing a Risso/Azz meshing here. This book has character and atmosphere. After watching some of the videos and seeing the photos – the art team really nailed it. The book has a gritty realism thats almost tough to read and view. Not for the squeamish. Josh’s evident and hyper detailed understanding of the situation cannot be denied.

    But it all goes beyond that for me. The book exposed me to actual truths that are occurring in the world we live in to this very day. Truths that for some reason went right under my nose. Ive honestly not heard much about or followed this war and these events, and for that I feel ashamed and embarrassed. Ive opened discussions about Uganda with many friends with similar results. I suppose thats one of the tragic themes of this book itself. I wanted to thank you for opening my eyes.

    I must say this webpage in particular is a wonderful source of information – thanks for putting the time into it. I also greatly enjoy and appreciate the fact page implemented in the monthly book. Usually these kinds of things are stuffed into the back of a trade paperback. Its a joy reading that page as much the comic itself.

    I wish you the best of luck on this book. I really hope it is a success. The industry really needs ones like this…

  3. Joshua dysart Says:

    Hey Zac & Drew!

    Thanks so much for commenting (even though I’ve yet to put up a post for issue 6). I’m so jazzed you guys are feeling the book. I think I’m going to keep this blog going. I discovered very quickly that there aren’t that many places on the web that pull information about East Africa all together in one place, so I’ll keep this up and live. We’ll probably stop showing you pages though from the current issue, as that’s a little labor intensive, but this will be a great place to just come and talk about African Politics. Also, I’m hesitant to scrub these posts.

    Thanks again!

  4. Jay Says:

    Unknowon Soldier has become one of my favorite titles to date. The secondary characters Sera, Jack and Anna are just as interesting as Moses. Keep up the fine work you are writing something important.

  5. Rich Says:

    Hi

    My comic subscription needed a shake up and this has not only entertained me it has also educated me on a issue I knew very little about.

    I’m doing my bit over here in England to get more people reading your comic. I’ve posted a review on a blog I run with a couple of mates and telling anyone that will listen to me to pick it up. Here’s the review…

    http://monkeyonmyback.squarespace.com/recent-momb-posts/2009/4/8/unknown-soldier-written-by-joshua-dysart-art-by-alberto-pont.html

    And congratulations on the Eisner nomination!

  6. Joshua Dysart Says:

    Hey!

    Thanks for the awesome review!! I’m so sorry I dropped the ball on this website here in the homestretch. I just got swamped!!

  7. Random Guy Says:

    Hey Joshua, once again a brilliant issue this month. I will be waiting for the trade paperback – hopefully it will include your excellent summary of the history of Uganda and the conflict that has been happening there.

    Massive congratulations on the Eisner nomination and keep up the good work.

  8. Joshua Dysart Says:

    Thanks, man!

  9. Skyler Says:

    I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this comic series. It is evident how much of your heart is in this story and we, the readers, benefit greatly from that.

    The first arc was awesome and the second looks like it could be even better. This title has become the title that I look forward to most each month. Also, I hope that you do keep the website going. I was blown away by the amount of information that you have on here!

    Thanks for your hard work.

  10. Joshua Dysart Says:

    Thanks, skyler! I promise to update this site as soon as I get a chance!

  11. Andrew Lawoko Says:

    Hi Joshua,

    I am an Acholi Dentist living in Sweden since 1986. I moved back and lived in Uganda from 1998 to 2007. I am very pleased that you are making the plight of the suffering of the people of nothern Uganda a concern to the rest of the world.
    During my stay in Uganda I met several child abductees that had returned from the bush. I interviewed many of them and they told me very many sad stories of their ordeals and how they were forced to mature at a very young age. I was humbled.
    I come from a family bacground hat has seen many violent changes of Goverent in Uganda, the last being in 1986 when the present Government came to be.
    My father was the Director of the Ministry of information and Broadcasting for 20 years. He is 75 years old now was a victim of Idi Amins toture machine. He was arrested for treason with 16 of his very close friends, he was released but the 16 were shot in a public firing squad on Entebbe road. He has written a book (Dungeons of Nakasero) in which he details his experience where ha was interrogated by amongst others Carlos the Jackal.
    I just got your link from a cousin and unfortunately I have not read your comics yet. I will do my best to get copies and get myself updated. But I can also help out should you need a helping hand with the story line.
    I turned the information I compiled during my stay in Uganda into a book that I thought would one day be worth publishing however I think your method would be much better to highlight the plight better.
    Thanks for the good work, I hope we can communicate further.

  12. Josh G. (of East Canada!) Says:

    Mr. Dysart,
    Your book came highly recommended by that old rag, The New York Times, and apparently by a couple of no-talent bums who plastered the covers of ‘Haunted House’ with their hollow praise. In all seriousness, though, it was these stunning accolades which in large part brought your work to my attention. I have to say that while reading the first few issues I think I felt some of the same strange sort of apprehension you yourself seem to have experienced when you spoke in an above post about not knowing whether or not an action-packed war comic is the proper way to go about trying to cram all the raw humanity and complexity of the Ugandan situation together. Specifically, I thought to myself several times that I shouldn’t be reading this or that I won’t be buying any more issues because it just gave me such an uneasy feeling. I was having trouble reconciling the guilt any morally/emotionally well-adjusted person would feel when reading an (entertaining) comic that dealt so directly with one of the world’s most appalling and relatively unknown ongoing conflicts.
    No comic has stirred these sort of emotions before.
    Anyway, by the end I was convinced you are doing a great service to this region by bringing it to the attention of ignoramuses like myself. Also, it manages to be one of the most fascinating reads on the shelf today.
    Keep it up, I hope all the attention will draw a greater readership so that you might continue with this project. Good luck!

  13. Genesis Says:

    I am a huge fan of your work. Not only is it educational, it is extremely inspirational.

    I cannot wait for the next issue. Thank you for bringing this to light.

    It is people like you who make hope a little stronger for those who need it during some f*cked up crazy times.

    Once again, thank you.

  14. Nuno Miguel Lopes Says:

    Mr. Dysart,

    I’d like to praise you for your amazing work on “Unknown Soldier”. It really struck a chord in my heart. I’ve got the first trade and am hoping to get a second volume.

    First, having lived in West Africa in the 80’s, in the tiny country of Guinea-Bissau, what the book offered me was an intense sense of familiarity/nostalgia to the scenery. Mr. Ponticelli’s art really conveys the “big sky, close horizon” feeling one gets only in Africa, and the colors by Mr. Celestini evoke the sheer brilliance and light of the african environment.

    Back in the mid 80’s, Guinea-Bissau was considered the poorest country in the world and I remember the poverty I witnessed very well and I can assure everyone that “Unknown Soldier” portrays it truly. Guinea-Bissau was nothing like Uganda. In my time there there was only a failed coup attempt, but my experience there, as a child, has informed me about the particular struggles of Africa and I, ever since, been very attuned to its problems.

    Maybe due to this, in part, but mostly because yours and Mr. Ponticelli’s book is the best I’ve seen under the Vertigo imprint in years, your corageous writing in “Unknown Soldier” prompt me to write a review on various blogs I work on and I decided to add to that review several of the links you so obsequiously made available on this site. The review is in portuguese, my native tongue, but I hope it will help spread the word on the subject matter.

    Thank you, and I wish you the best of luck.

  15. Nuno Miguel Lopes Says:

    Forgot the link to the review I mentioned previoulsy. Here it is, just in case.

    http://ritmospresos.blogs.sapo.pt/218634.html

    Thank you.

  16. Joshua Dysart Says:

    Nuno! Thank you so much for your wonderful reply. It’s the audience who know the continent well that we hope to please the most. There are quite a few works of fiction in every medium that do a disservice to the complexity and beauty of Africa, it was our goal to break this trend. The second trade will be out in three week, and features some fill-in work from Pat Masioni, the first African cartoonist to be published in America. Something we’re all very proud of. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

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