Both Anthony Lappe and Dan Goldman have been busy publicizing their recently collected webcomic Shooting War over the past few weeks. The pair just completed a book signing tour and also guest-blogged for Powell’s bookstore. Lappe talked about the genesis of the project:
Shooting War was in part inspired by my own reporting in Iraq for a documentary I produced for the Guerrilla News Network (with my partner Stephen Marshall) called BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire’s Edge. We traveled across the country just as the insurgency was beginning to gain strength, trying to understand the various forces that were fueling resistance to the coalition occupation. Near the end of our trip, we found ourselves smack in the middle of the Sunni Triangle interviewing Lt. Col. Nate Sassaman; the cocky former West Point quarterback had become a legend among his men for his aggressive attitude and tactics. After vehemently denying allegations locals made to us that his unit beat up old ladies, shot pets and hauled off innocent young men in midnight raids, a frustrated Sassaman blurted out, “My life is a surreal movie. Everyday I wake up, and it’s a surreal movie.” (Sassaman later resigned in disgrace after trying to cover up the killing of an Iraqi teenager by two of his men.)
While Goldman talks about how studying cinema helped him achieve what he wanted with the art:
I’m a self-taught artist with no formal training, having instead studied film and literature at university, both disciplines bonding perfectly on a molecular level with my deeply-ingrained love of the comics medium. The very simple reapplication of cinematic lighting-think into my digital process unlocked 30-odd years of film-going/loving/theory stored in my brain and dumped it into my storytelling crock pot, giving me an additional level of visual language with which to squeeze every last drop of drama in and around what existed in the script. The results were instant and obvious, and when the final web chapter was posted, I felt like I’d finally achieved for myself what I’d wanted from the beginning.