I wouldn’t describe Shooters as a comic that’s an easy read.
I don’t mean that in the sense that the words on the page are too difficult to read, or the panel structure is too complex or that it has narrative problems in any way. In fact that’s far from the truth. What I mean to say is this – the emotional content displayed throughout Shooters isn’t easy to handle.
And that’s a damn good thing.
As writer Eric Trautmann states in the opening pages of the graphic novel, the story and inspiration for Shooters comes from the death of his brother-in-law, who was working for a private military contractor. Needless to say, it’s a very personal story for Trautmann and one that I don’t imagine was easy to handle to to loosely adapt for a comic. Perhaps that’s the reason Trautmann brought in Brandon Jerwa to help with co-writing the book. Regardless of the reasoning, I think the team is able to pay respects to Trautmann’s brother-in-law, while creating a story that still has a good, stable, and emotional personal core. Often, personal stories make for the best types of stories because of their relatable nature.
There are few stories in the comic industry that take real risk in crafting a narrative with a deep emotional core. Shooters is the exception to this rule, developing a tale that is absolutely chilling and powerful. The story becomes grounded in a reality that 21st century Americans know far too well – the Iraq War.
Yet the war and what happens is only a part of Chief Warrant Officer Terry Glass’s story. And what happens throughout the book is truly special because of how unique and personal the events seem.
While the story is strong on its own merits, Steve Lieber‘s gorgeous art provides a perfect partnership in crafting Trautmann and Jerwa’s script. The Eisner award-winning artist brings his all, providing incredibly detailed moments for the story. Fans of Lieber’s previous work won’t be disappointed.
Trautmann, Jerwa and Lieber are all at their best here, creating something that’s incredibly real. I keep coming back to the word real, but it’s a valid descriptor. I’ve felt that so much fiction written about the Iraq War plays on stereotypical beats and clichés seen in many other war stories, just repacked and reskinned for a more modern era.
Not this time. Not at all.
It’s a brutal story. It’s a sad story. It’s a powerful story.
But it feels raw and real. And that’s what really matters.
Shooters is a 144-page, black and white hardcover that will retail for $22.99. It releases tomorrow.
And I think it’s well worth your time and money.
For more information on Shooters, visit Steel River Security.