Last week, we talked about realism in comics. Today, via the Newsarama Blog and Heidi MacDonald over at The Beat, here are some articles discussing newer comic releases that focus on deeper political, historical and philosophical issues. For example, one of Vertigo's latest releases, Unknown Soldier, paints a portrait of civil war in Uganda:
Not many monthly comic books come with a glossary, but not many comics are like Unknown Soldier. [...] The series, written by Joshua Dysart and illustrated by Alberto Ponticelli, is set in Uganda and includes a reference guide with more than 20 entries, including background on the brutal rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army; the peace activist Abdulkadir Yahya Ali, who was killed; and the Acholi, an ethnic group from the northern part of the country. [...]
This hardly seems like the stuff of traditional comic books, but Unknown Soldier is a regular series.
Unknown Soldier has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, particularly for writer Joshua Dysart's meticulous research and relevance. However, the title is number 237 of the top 300 comics sales for month of July. Topping the charts were books like Captain America: Reborn (which involves mind control and time travel), Blackest Night and Green Lantern (which involve reviving the dead, space battles, and power rings).
Perhaps this does suggest that, on a whole, readers prefer their books with a healthy dose of the fantastic. Of course, it could be issues of marketing and awareness. No one really expected Unknown Soldier to sell better than Blackest Night, but I am a bit surprised it is as low on the list as it is.
Maybe we just don't have a long enough sample period yet. Perhaps once the trade is released and in the wake of this new press, Unknown Soldier will climb the ranks.
What do the readers think?