Pride of Baghdad

Pride of Baghdad

by Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401203153
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication date: 01/02/2008
Pages: 136
Sales rank: 227,733
Product dimensions: 6.64(w) x 10.16(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Brian K. Vaughan is the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning co-creator of many critically acclaimed comic books, including Saga, Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Runaways, and Pride of Baghdad. A professional comics writer since his days as an undergraduate film student at New York University, Brian has written every major DC and Marvel character from Batman to the X-Men. He's also written several screenplays, stage plays and short stories, but mostly, he likes to work on the funnybooks. He also served as writer and story editor on the hit TV series Lost.

Niko Henrichon is a Canadian comic book artist best known as the artist of the critically acclaimed graphic novel Pride of Baghdad written by Brian K. Vaughan. His first major work was the Vertigo original graphic novel titled Barnum! written by Howard Chaykin and David Tischman. Henrichon's pencils have also been seen in the pages of Superman from DC Comics, Star Wars Tales from Dark Horse Comics, and Micronauts from Marvel Comics.

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Pride of Baghdad 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is a tradition in literature of using talking animals, usually the domain of children's stories and sugary animated movies, to portray serious political and social issues in the big adult world. Animal Farm is the progenitor of this genre, with Art Spiegelman's Maus the contemporary example. Pride of Baghdad is an impressive and moving entry into this tradition. Based on a real-world incident, the inadvertent freeing of four lions from Baghdad Zoo by an American aerial bombardment, Pride of Baghdad tells the story of the anthropomorphic lions' travels through a ghostly Baghdad, empty of almost all humans but populated by scattered, haunted animals. The lions, monkeys, turtles and bears present a microcosm of the society of conflict that exists in Iraq. Instead of rehashing the chaos of Iraq as an extended tribal and religious war, writer Brian Vaughan and artist Niko Henrichon portray something deeper. For them, the invasion didn't just unleash sectarian conflicts suppressed by Saddam Hussein for decades. Like an uncapped oil well, darker emotions of hate, fear, greed and authoritarianism comes spewing out into the open with the destruction of the zoo's gates. Regardless of creed or tribe, the most basic evils of human nature are the tragedy of Iraq, crossing all cultural boundaries. The verbal pun on 'pride' denotes the lions' role. As they roam the city, searching for food and shelter, they discuss their newfound freedom and what it means. For the lions, pride leads to sadness. With a reduced role in the brutal world around them, the lions suffer attacks and insults, pulling themselves through by sheer force of character until the climactic conflict with an American infantry patrol. Henrichon's artwork perfectly suits the story, combining a detailed portrayal of the Iraqi landscape with animals that display human-like movements and expressions. The combination of realistic detail and cartoonish characters work well to make a controversial subject accessible, much in the tradition of Mike Golden's work for Marvel Comics in The 'Nam series. The four lions (cynical old Safa, idealist Noor, romantic Zill and irrepressible cub Ali) discuss and emote like humans, while still displaying very lion-like behavior and instincts. 'You don't look a gift horse in the eat him,' Zill proclaims during one debate. Pride of Baghdad is a fresh voice in the Iraq debate. Vaughan and Henrichon point out that the real tragedy of the conflict is that there is a tragedy at all, and that there will be no winners when the higher human qualities are marginalized for greed and control. Like Orwell realized, people have a hard time facing a simple truth if it is a brutal one. Sometimes a talking lion is needed to point out that something is wrong in his kingdom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dramatic, painful, dark, and intense. Definitely not for everyone, but definitely great.
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fantastic!! Brian K. Vaughan is the best writer in comics. Of this, I’m sure. I have loved almost everything he’s written and was happy to finally get a chance to read this. He has an amazing way of humanizing so many different types of characters. The plot here, based on a true story, is simple and pure: survival. He takes it so far past that. Just an amazing story. The art was very good. Overall a fantastic must read!
the_bibliophibian on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo when it was bombed by American forces. Freed of the cages that had previously confined them, the animals wandered the city until, starving and confused, until they were shot and killed by American soldiers.This true story is the springboard off of which Brian K. Vaughan based his haunting, dreamlike graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad, in which we see the story through the lions' eyes as they travel through the decimated streets of the Iraqi capital. Each of the four is given a distinctly rich personality, and though their (fictionalized) story takes place over the course of one day, it will stay with you forever.Henrichon's artwork, as well, deserves a mention. It is always a challenge to give animals expressions which are natural but at the same time understandably human, and he pulled this off very well. My highest praise for his work, however, goes to the expressive nature of his lines and colors, especially when his subjects are in motion. There are some fantastic fight scenes in this book that are definitely worth looking at, even if you don't read the whole thing (which you should).All in all, I just have to say that both of the reviews on the back of the book used the word "stunning," and it's accurate to a t. Read this book. Do it.
katekf on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A powerful graphic novel that follows the story of four lions who escaped from the Baghdad zoo into the chaos of the 2003 invasion and died. The story begins in the zoo and ends on the bloody streets of Baghdad. Throughout the story, the lions discuss ideas of freedom and what it means to be caged and tamed as they work to survive. This is not an easy story and the illustrations don't stint on showing the violence of animals and of war. A high school student who is interested in more mature themes and comfortable reading graphic novels and comics could gain a lot from this book. On the other hand, it is a difficult work and so would not be recommended for a squeamish reader.
hazzabamboo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Good artwork, and some strong central ideas. The relationships between the lions, and the way they have to come to understand their place in the world relative to humans, is particularly well thought out, if a little overwrought at times.I was put off by a gratuitous undercurrent of unpleasantness though. The invasion of Irag and the iniquities of Saddam Hussein's regime is both tragic and repulsive subject matter. Nonetheless, some of the violence and exploitation at work in certain sections of Pride of Baghdad are closer to sickening than enlightening in any way. I got a sense that perhaps the authors revel in that a little too. This impression is actually one I often get from comics. I think it's a medium with huge potential, so it's a little disappointing to see fantastic art and (more rarely) good writing undermined by cheap brutality and cheap ideas.
agis on LibraryThing 8 months ago
"Pride of Baghdad" takes as its launching point the escape of a group of lions from the Baghdad Zoo during the second Gulf War. It uses this largely to explore the idea of freedom and the factions surrounding Iraq and its fall.The first thing you notice is the art, which is full-color and absolutely stunning. The artist - Niko Henrichon - outdid himself; without the art quite a number of the scenes wouldn't have anywhere near the same impact. It also backs up writer Brian K. Vaughn - while there are clearly symbolic characters, Vaughan's writing and Henrichon's artwork make them living, breathing symbols, not blunt instruments of the authors. The emotional as well as intellectual questions of freedom and its cost in the wake of another war are raised quite effectively in the short pages of the book.
woodenmango on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It's an interesting premise and with beautiful artwork but there was something about it that just didn't make it an amazing book for me. I think one of those thinsg is that it was far too short. It would have been good to stretch it out into aleast another book because as it is, character development was a little rushed.Also, I enjoyed that this book considered the issue of freedom but some of the dialogue came across as rather stiff and the messages a tad heavy handed. All that being said, if you like graphic novels that tackle political issues and/or anthropomorphize animals go ahead and give it a read. It may very well appeal to you.
earthlistener on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A truly beautiful work not only for its actual great storyline and magnificent artwork, but also for it being a wonderful allegorical undertones focusing on various issues. Its certainly not the best and be all by any means, but I still enjoyed it greatly.
brakketh on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this graphic novel which uses the escape of lions from Baghdad zoo as an allegory for the fate of the Iraqi people following the US led invasion.
tapestry100 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very rarely a book will take me by surprise like this did. I was angry. I was sad. And I think everyone should read this book.I think part of the shock from this book is that I didn't know what was coming. I'd heard about Pride of Baghdad but didn't know anything about the story, so had gone into it blind, so if you want to read this and be just as surprised by the ending as I was, just skip the rest of this and go read the book.In 2003, American soldiers invaded Baghdad and in that invasion, the zoo in Baghdad was destroyed. Of the 650-700 animals housed in the zoo, only 35 survived the aftermath of the attack. Some of the animals were looted from the zoo and there was a group of lions that escaped and were roaming the streets of Baghdad. Four of these lions were shot and killed by American soldiers when they wouldn't return to their cages. Pride of Baghdad is Brian Vaughan's fictionalized account of this story through the eyes of these lions.The story follows Zill, Zafa, Noor and Ali, a pride of lions who escape from the zoo after it is destroyed by American forces and have a brief taste of freedom. They roam the city of Baghdad, encountering several other animals (a sea turtle, horses, another lion kept in private captivity who is close to death, and a blood-thirsty bear) and how they persevere as a small pride to survive their situation. Just as they come to terms with their freedom and come to understand it for what it is, they are all shot dead by American soldiers.To be honest, I couldn't believe what I read at first. I had to jump back and forth between pages to make sure I was understanding what was happening to the lions. While Vaughan obviously took liberties with the lions by anthropomorphizing them to make us feel more for them, when I discovered that this was based on a true story, I was even more outraged. Who knows exactly what happened to the lions, but the injustice of it seemed to quake through this book by the last page.Niko Henrichon's artwork is dazzling throughout the book. The emotion that he is able to render in the animals, their terror at the attacks from the American soldiers, their amazement at their freedom, all spills from each page. Don't let the fact that this is a graphic novel deter you from reading it. An incredibly powerful tale that will shock you by its strength, Pride of Baghdad is one story that will stay with you far after you've read it.
thebookpile on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not a bad story, but too short to go into the kind depth it deserved.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I got this because Todd Klein did the lettering. I adore his lettering - always easy to read yet suitable for the voice. While the lettering in this was good, I hated this comic. It demonstrates no understanding of the behavior of any of the animals portrayed and I loathe loathe loathe the Disneyfication of animals by superimposing human characteristics (including gender roles and relationships) on them. It's particularly loathsome in a book that is in theory using its story to explore the consequences of our hegemonic adventure in Iraq while happily applying its own cultural hegemony. Lions are fascinating from a behavioral perspective and deserve better than to be reduced to the level of Simba. Rawr.
hewayzha on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Beautifully done graphic novel. I love reading from the "perspective" of the lions and other animals they encounter as they try to survive the destrucion wrought by the human animal. I felt as if I was making the journey through the city with them. Hopeful at times and despairing at others. The ending is heartbreaking. It just reinforces the knowledge that when man makes war the innocent suffer. It seems to be a lesson humans find hard, perhaps even impossible to learn.
sassafras on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Wonderful book. Nice illustrations. Very powerful story of freedom.
-Eva- on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is absolutely wonderfully drawn, with a story that has a lot of potential to make a mark on your mind: animals' experiences during the bombing of Baghdad. However, the allegory is so over-obvious (there's even a lion "rape") that you wonder if the story hadn't been more interesting if it actually depicted humans instead of lions. I actually found myself getting a little angry that a story that could have been so poignant and thought-provoking was left to fizzle into this clunky mess.
stephmo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Just prior to any moment of terrible destruction, there will be a million seemingly insignificant details of daily life like the boy momentarily searching for a lost toy, the woman on the phone complaining about a horrible date, the siblings fighting over the television, a lost set of car keys, even waking up from a horrible hangover. Any one of these can lead to a magnificent story.But does anyone consider the animals?This is what Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon do in Pride of Baghdad. In the destruction of 2003 American Bombing Raids of Iraq, the Baghdad Zoo's lions were able to escape. With Henrichon's breathtaking illustrations, Vaughan imagines life for this small pride as they realize that their fortunes have suddenly changed. The pride's story is fairly straightforward, but seems determined to pack in as much suffering as humanly (lion-ly?) possible in as short an amount of time as possible. While not expecting a Disney-esque wisecracking group of animals who sing happy tunes, this theme of constant suffering pushes away any idea of contemplating an earlier question of the nature of freedom in favor of simply wanting any form of respite for the pride. Because this, perhaps the overall story doesn't have the impact that it should.
kristenn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I'd avoided this despite all the awards because I knew it would be too depressing for me, but it was just laying there and I started flipping through the middle -- mainly curious about the art -- and suddenly I'd read it. That bit with the giraffe is going to stick with me, but overall, I didn't get into the story quite deeply enough to be really affected by it. (Although it's still incredibly sad.) The clear symbolism didn't bother me at all; it was more the random story details. The villain's design was irritatingly implausible. Severe wounds were regularly recovered from in mere moments. I maybe would have preferred they skip the Disney and just have a realistic story in that setting, but a Vaughan book without dialog has no reason to exist. And this story is probably best for a younger audience anyway, in terms of the ideas and discussions it can provoke that they're not usually getting elsewhere.
syrin on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I've wanted to read this book for sometime now, not only because of the beautiful artwork, but because it's always interesting to read war stories from different perspectives. Maybe all that anticipation was the reason the story disappointed me so much.I was expecting a tale about the real life animals that escaped during the bombings, but found a poorly disguised allegory instead ¿ and a preachy one at that. Yes, the war is terrible. Yes, the crimes, the deaths, the suffering is terrible. Yes, it shouldn¿t have to happen again. We've heard that time and time again. But why should the animals ¿ these animals - care? Would they really spend their time digressing about liberty and freedom, about masters and slaves, about the unrighteousness of all that's happened, instead of following their instincts?Instead of focusing on creating compelling characters that sounded like they actually could be real, we have unimaginative dialogs, an annoying cub who could be a Lion King rip-off, a weird fight with a bear, and ridiculous rape and sex scenes that add nothing to the story. Oh, and don't forget the obvious tragic ending.This theme, the true story of those lions, deserved a better graphic novel, something the authors just couldn't deliver.
JapaG on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Vaughan's and Henrichon's Pride of Baghdad is a rare treat. It's a graphic novel about a pride of lions getting free from the zoo amidst the bombings of Baghdad in 2003.The artwork is stunning. The coloring requires a special mention. Most of the book is colored in hues of red and orange, the colors of war and blood. Only in the more serene moments does the story go into a more peaceful blue. The colors are the reason why I thought that the end was nevertheless hopeful.The tale is based on a true story. Vaughan brings the different animals vividly into life and creates them believable personalities. I started to live with the lions and hoped for their safe journey into more free nature.Single, self-contained graphic novels are few and too far between nowadays. This is one of the best of its kind in the recent years.
savageknight on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very powerful... and extremely heartbreaking.For someone like me, having grown up on animated movies featuring intelligent animals, it is not at all difficult to quickly find myself feeling quite fond of this very small pride of lions who, after having been accidentally freed from their zoo by a bombing raid, attempt to survive in a city at war.Writer Brian K. Vaughan, winner of the 2005 Joe Shuster Awards International Creator Award, takes the real-life events of lions freed during the 2003 bombing of Iraq and weaves an incredible tale of survival and tragedy, creating a moving and solid story that eventually leads this pride to their encounter with American troops.Artist Niko Henrichon does an excellent job of rendering this story and making it come alive with sympathetic and recognizable characters fighting their way through a world very alien to them and unfortunately familiar to us. The reader is brought right into their lives with this stunning artwork.Very highly recommended!
v_various on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I wouldn't count this among my favorites, the story is heavily steeped in symbols that it feels any story line aspects get ignored. I found the elements of the story didn't really flow together, it read like "A happened, then B happened, then C happened".I'd recommend this book to people who really like lions, but probably no one else.
babydraco on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The lion is the primitive totem animal of Mesopotamia so it makes perfect sense to choose lions to represent the modern Iraqi people. The family of lions in this graphic novel are accidentally freed from the zoo when American forces invade Iraq. They're no longer in cages, but now they live in a world with no rules and the once proud "Kings of the Beasts" are are struggling to take care of themselves. The ending is not pretty and should outrage anyone with a human heart.
ocgreg34 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In 2003, during an airstrike against Baghdad, part of the zoo is destroyed, allowing the animals to escape. Among them are four lions: Zill, the leader who has become complacent after his many years of captivity; Safa, the lioness who is afraid to flee the comfort of the zoo because of a dark secret in her past; Noor, the lioness who longs to break free from the zoo and to return to the wild; and Ali, the young male cub who knows nothing of life other than the zoo. Together, they journey through Baghdad, trying to learn what happened and how to survive in this new world.At first, I thought of it as an updated Lion King, with all the talking animals, etc., but some of the panels turned out to be much darker than I expected, and even though Henrichon's artwork is stunning, I gasped at the violence of them. The art combined with Vaughan's storytelling made the novel hard to put down, and once I finished it, I turned back to the start and re-read, taking more time to examine the panels, the expressions, the detail of the surroundings.
DoubleL on LibraryThing 8 months ago
okay, i love me some vaughan, and this book got so much critical acclaim, i'm sure it seems weird that i'm giving it four stars instead of five. here's my beef with it, although incredibly, incredibly poignant and sad and often times horrifying, try as it might it was a little too politcaly high brow to come across as the great, easily accessable by the masses, aligory it could have. i think people who are very politcally current will have no trouble with this but as for everyone else who is looking for a new take on the heartbreak of the iraq war without being daily guardian readers are going to have a hard time.