Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

Pride of Baghdad

Pride of Baghdad is graphic novel based on a true story of four lions that escaped from Baghdad Zoo after American bombing in 2003. Since the animals have dialogues, obviously it’s highly fictionalized. One may read it as an allegory of the Iraqis. I just read it as what it is.

Do you like Disney’s Lion King? I liked it but never really loved it. This book initially reminded me much of Lion King, mainly because the appearance of the lions. But be warned that it is nothing like Disney’s. And I will stop talking about how the two compare, because they’re nothing like each other. There are several adult themes in Pride of Baghdad, the conversations are deeper, and some scenes are quite gruesome.

The art is stunning. I have never seen so much orange colour used in one book. Almost everything is gradient of orange, and it’s brilliant. I loved it to bits. The lions look so real, yet ooze human expressions. Definitely better than the cartoony Lion King. (argh I’m sorry for another comparison)

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Since the story is so short, there’s really no time to go in-depth on anything, but the bittersweet journey was enough to make an impression. And I loved to learn little facts, like how lioness is the one that does the hunting, not the male lion. The four lions have their own distinct personality (one male, two females, and one cub). The competition between the two lionesses are well done, one is young and yearns for freedom, while the other one is older, one-eye-blind, and had enough of the wild.

I asked hubby to return the book to the library, he flipped a little bit, then sat to finish it until the end. It’s a lovely graphic novel and we both loved it. I’m so tempted to give this 5 stars, to show how impressed I was with it and I think I will. Really, would you think that a graphic novel about lions could be that good? I was skeptical, but proven wrong.

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Thanks to Michael Kindness of Books on the Nightstand who first introduced me to this graphic novel (he talked about it in BOTNS podcast episode 3). I wouldn’t have picked it up if not for him!

5 stars
2006, 136 pp

2006 IGN Best Original Graphic Novel

Graphic Novels 2010 (book #5), Once Upon a Time IV (book #2), Book Awards IV (book #8)

Also reviewed by
Loved it! Shelf Love | Adventures in Reading | avidbookreader
Didn’t. epiBloguer

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