I’ve been reading a lot of comics lately. Mostly Marvel superhero stuff, classic runs from the 70s and 80s. But this is something pretty special I came across so I thought I’d share it. You can click the pictures for proper embiggenment.
Brought to Light (ISBN 0-913035-67-X) is an anthology of two political graphic novels, published originally by Eclipse Comics in 1988. Both are based on material from lawsuits filed by the Christic Institute against the US Government. The two stories are Shadowplay: The Secret Team by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkiewicz, and Flashpoint: The LA Penca Bombing documented by Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan and adapted by Joyce Brabner and Tom Yeates.
Shadowplay: The Secret Team written by Alan Moore and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz with an introduction by Daniel Sheehan (general counsel of TCI). It covers the history of the Central Intelligence Agency and its controversial involvement in the Vietnam War, the Iran-Contra affair, and its relationship with figures like Augusto Pinochet and Manuel Noriega. The narrator of Shadowplay is an aging anthropomorphic American Eagle, a bellicose retired CIA agent.
It was Moore’s first major work which was not superhero oriented, it was highly praised for its storytelling and Sienkiewicz’s sometimes brutal art. Moore received praise especially for blending the sometimes overwhelming mass of details into a coherent and effective story. Over the years there have been rumours that Moore was unable to travel to America due to the CIA being annoyed at his story in Brought to Light. However this was proved to be no more than a rumour and the real reason was due to Moore not renewing his passport.
The story of “Shadowplay” is of an unseen character (presumably representing the oblivious American public in first-person view of the reader) in a bar, where he is approached by a man-sized, walking, talking eagle. The eagle, from the emblem of the CIA, proceeds to drink alcohol and, in a drunken stupor, divulge all the bloody details of The Agency’s sordid past. Early on a reference is made to the number of gallons an olympic swimming pool can hold, and the fact that an adult human body has one gallon of blood; from then on, the victims of CIA activities (directly or indirectly) are quantified in swimming pools filled with blood. Sienkiewicz’s dark, erratic, and blurry images keep the mood of Moore’s narration (through the boozing eagle) unnerving, and hazily nightmarish.
I threw in a couple different .cbr (comic archive format) readers for different operating systems. It also comes with an audiobook, but I haven’t listened to it yet.
BROUGHT TO LIGHT (1988)