Friday, August 9, 2013

Echo-4 Kilo: True Comics About Military Misadventure Volume One

So recently I was waiting for a bus to take me out of America, and I ended up talking to two other guys who were waiting for the same bus (though not out of America). Both, it seemed, were in their early 20s, and in university. One of the things they talked about was going to Las Vegas (and other places) and shooting guns, both were enthusiastic about it, whereas the very idea of this terrified me. I stayed silent during this part of the conversation.

This came back to me while I was reading this comic, as near the beginning (while Kilgore is in bootcamp) there are two quotes that made me kind of weirded out and scared. 

"I read far too many Vietnam books in my youth."
"I wanted to play war too!"

I've read some books about war (though they tend to be about how awful it is), and played many video games where I shoot people, but the idea of "playing" war is terrifying to me. That other people want to do this...well, I guess it makes a lot of sense when we look at the world around us, but it doesn't exactly make me happy.

The comics in Echo-4 Kilo don't exactly glorify war but, as Kilgore says in a text piece at the end, they're not anti-military comics either. They don't paint a (to me) positive experience of the armed forces, but I can't really expect anything to do so. To me (a complete outsider) the comics seem to be about how the army (or I guess it's the marines in this case) is run in an incredibly stupid manner and puts young (18 year old) kids into dangerous situations. Sometimes it combines the two by allowing those kids to get really drunk/stoned/whatever, and have access to weapons. Great! (Thankfully nobody gets shot in this comic.)

The cross hatching used in the art reminded me of Joe Sacco (though I know other artists use that style too), while at times the bendy armed characters seemed kind of reminiscent of Peter Bagge. They style is effective in telling the stories, and is perhaps indicative that Kilgore had been drawing for military publications for several years.

I'm both curious about more war comics by Kilgore, and kind of scared of the idea of reading more. The military is kind of entirely foreign to me, and mentally I'm caught between wanting to find out more about it (and how messed up it is), and just staying away entirely.


  1. I'm Kilgore ... where'd you find this??? I think I only published a handful for a grad-school project. Here's what I'm up to now:

    1. Someone sent it to me? I think I got it in a huge box of comics from someone.


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