Archive for May 21st, 2015

Note: We post this review of this Graphic Novel in the week before Memorial Day so as to remember those who have served in the military and have lost their lives.  Also, this review is part of our . Harlem HellFighter Max Brooks

Max Brooks and Caanan White. The Harlem Hellfighters.  New York, NY: Broadway Books, 2014. 257 pp.

Ever since I read Gene Yang’s Boxers and Saints I have been trying to find Graphic Novels that are something of the same caliber: good storytelling with a good eye for historical details.  I admit it has not been easy find works that matches those criteria.  Fortunately The Harlem Hellfighters is one of them.  Max Brooks and his illustrator Caanan White presents to us a fictional account of the US Army’s 369th Infantry Regiment which was an African American unit during World War One.  I enjoyed the story telling of this Graphic Novel.  As a veteran I liked how the book also covered the build up with training up to the war.  As many veterans know, the military will always have logistical and supply nightmare and this book tells it as it is with the additional factor of being discriminated upon because the members of the 369th Infantry were Blacks.  From soldiers being beaten up in a town outside of the base they were training in at the south, to the lack of a New York parade send off that their fellow Infantry Regiments in the Division was able to participle in along with working as if they were a “labor battalion” instead of an combat unit in the beginning of the war, these soldiers faced an uphill challenge to prove themselves and when the time for combat came they performed beyond their call of duty and exceeded expectations.  From saving the French lines to being the first Americans to reach the Rhine, this Graphic Novel told their story well. Readers should not miss the author’s note towards the end of the book explaining the author’s attempt to put this story into film and the lack of interests from the film industry.  The end of the book also feature historical notes which shows us that much historical materials have shaped the Graphic Novel especially with the characters.  I thought the most interesting part here was how one of the character in the book was based upon the reality of a full blooded Zulu who did served in the US Army during the war. Purchase: Amazon

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