A good friend of 3QD and one of our favorite bloggers recently remarked on the idea of being a war correspondent. This war certainly has been one of the most covered and perhaps the most uniquely covered, with blogs, cell phone camera images, etc., all changing the way we hear about it. One former war correspondent now tells a story about covering the war in a new graphic novel, War-Fix by David Axe and Steven Olexa. I haven’t read it yet, but this review by Marc at Unattended Baggage makes me want to.
War Fix, as the title itself implies, represents a growing number of Americans who romanticize war and ‘get off’ on violence. As rational readers, the majority of us understand that flinging oneself into a war, with no firsthand knowledge or experience, despite Axe’s proclamations of how “cool” it feels, is tragically stupid. Axe’s ‘addiction’ is a particularly sad one, as we watch, like voyeurs, as he slowly unravels his life in search of a ‘fix,’ knowing full well what a hopeless endeavor this really is. It’s even more painful to watch Axe lying to his girlfriend, abandoning his job and family, and dismissing human tragedy as “kind of cool,” so much so that I honestly felt like crying after I finished the book.
But at the same time, Axe’s lucid self awareness is part of what makes this book so compelling. Axe recognizes his own disconnect between the reality of war and his own romantic notion of it, and does not try to justify his actions or present himself as a sympathetic hero. The book’s climax shows Axe greedily snapping photographs of an Iraqi woman who’s just lost a family member from a stray bullet, and is literally cradling the lifeless body on the ground.