Writer: Dan Hill
Art: Andrew Herbst
Publisher: Mallet Productions, Ltd.
What Is It?
Go Home is a one-shot, black-and-white comic illustrating the thin line between patriotism and insanity in the midst of horrific war. This story is a natural fit for creators Dan Hill and Andrew Herbst, whose previous stories have heavily featured war themes and psychological horror.
Think Cast Away meets Dunkirk.
What’s It About?
An American World War II sailor descends into madness after his ship is destroyed and he washes up on a mysterious island.
The unnamed sailor reflects on his strained relationship with his father and the dehumanizing nature of war as he becomes increasingly unhinged and bloodthirsty in isolation.
Is escape even an option when confronted with these horrors?
Dan Hill’s prose is appropriately lurid and melodic for an era that has simultaneously been heavily romanticized and extensively deconstructed in popular culture. The sailor’s increasingly unhinged journaling to his icy, distant father is best comparable to Alan Moore’s disturbed protagonists in his best work.
I appreciated Hill’s nod to the Japanese-American internment and pervasive racism experienced by Asian-Americans during the second World War. While war is often glamorized with noble intentions, the bigotry and brutality that makes war possible is every present.
This comic is hand-lettered, which is an excellent creative decision for this type of story. Go Home is a prime example of how lettering can make a comic more immersive, conveying the desperate scribbling of a soldier losing his grip on reality. In this sense, the lettering is both “showing” AND “telling.”
Andrew Herbst does appropriate justice to this brutal, grimy war story. I appreciated his unflinching depictions of common atrocities, giving the appropriate visual impact to bullet wounds, corpses picked over for carrion, and wartime disfigurements.
Herbst also does an excellent job depicting the opening naval battle. The ships and planes are beautifully rendered and the facial expressions of the sailors as their doom closes in on them are fittingly horrifying.
Depicting lush jungle scenery in a black-and-white palette is a difficult task, which Herbst accomplishes admirably. There is a waterfall panel in this book which is especially spectacular.
What Doesn’t Work?
Hill’s affectations to emulate Alan Moore sometimes get over-indulgent, particularly with a masked Rorschach-like character who appears intermittently in the story. While I can make educated guesses, it’s not immediately clear who this character is and what purpose he serves.
Herbst’s character models are not distinctive, which makes it initially confusing as to who the main character is attacking, and who assaulted him at various points in the story. This could be intentional as an illustration of the "fog of war," but the result can be confusing.
Why Should I Read It?
Go Home is an unflinching look at war’s impact on the human psyche and how the horrors a soldier witnesses can permanently alter their perception of the world around them.
Hill and Herbt’s work is a unique, brutal portrayal of the individual trauma that takes place even in a war where the lines between good and evil were clearly defined.
Where Can I Read It?
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