Monday, March 9, 2020

The Creature Columns - The Pride of Baghdad: A Beautiful Response to War

Vertigo publishing had several successes in the time it stood as DC Comics' mature reading choice.The imprint has since been shut down, and DC just labels its mature books. The Vertigo label was closed in January of 2020. However, it has spawned the likes of The Sandman and Y: The Last Man along with a slew of other titles. One of those titles was The Pride of Baghdad. While this tale has fictional elements, the basis of this powerful story is true.
In 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, Fedayeen Saddam troops took up a defensive position around a zoo as United States forces began the Battle of Bagdad. The zookeepers abandoned their posts, and after about 8 days of fighting, many of the animals remained caged and starving. However, during this time bombs had destroyed some cages and enclosures. The animals were wandering free in the abandoned city. Among them were four lions.  The Pride of Baghdad tells their tragic story and serves as a memorial to these majestic creatures. Their journey and the way it finishes evoke a sense of ironic respect for all victims of war. Yes, this tale ends badly for the lions, but it is told with tremendous care and fantastic insights.