This is what war does.
It takes men, and woman, and children, and rips them apart, playthings of malevolent fate.
I’ve always loved history. In all honesty, I’ve never found any of the other classic academic subjects interesting, and I’ll admit, some of them were just downright terrifying (organic chemistry, I’m looking at you!).
I especially enjoy American history. There’s nothing quite like picking up an old leather bound volume (or scanning wikipedia) and reading about how America transformed itself from those tiny 13 colonies that Great Britain controlled to a leading world power.
Well, as if sensing my historian sized hunger, Renegade Arts Entertainment has released The Loxleys and the War of 1812… but before I dive any further, allow me to be frank… this graphic novel is something that everyone should check out.
The story follows the Loxleys, a Canadian family living in the Niagara peninsula as they’re torn apart by the American invasion of Canada in 1812, and the subsequent war that raged across both countries as British troops, Canadian militia, and First Nation warriors sought to thwart the expansionist plans of the American government.
The Loxley’s take part in key historical events and they deal with the realities of the war on their doorstep, the personal loss, setbacks and victories tied into the conflict.
Writing about this particular event, the War of 1812, is a tricky test in creative abilities. If you lean too far towards the grandiose, then you’ll fall into familiar tropes of war and destruction which we’ve all seen before. And if you veer to the other extreme, focusing on the minutiae of a particular family, then you lose the scope.
Well, thankfully Alan Grant treads the line perfectly. His choice of Native American and Canadian protagonists provides the book with a refreshing, unique perspective. As a contrast to these nobler folks, Grant’s portrayal of the United States as a hell bent war machine, which was pretty much evil, flips the conventional American patriotic war plot that’s oh so familiar on its head.
Even though the books a phenomenal success, there are some missteps. The Loxleys come off a bit too happy in the beginning, so much so that they seem downright silly, but as the story develops, they reveal their despair, which adds some much needed depth. But even though the story follows a huge cast of characters, the majority of them receive their own special scenes and for the most part this graphic novel isn’t ‘grim.’ While the war is the focus, it’s not the same grisly affair we’ve seen over and over. It was a very dark war, and the story shows that.
The Loxleys and The War of 1812 is a must-read. Let’s face it, modern readers aren’t well versed in this part of history, especially its effects on our neighbors from the north. In all honesty, I’ve never considered the Canadian perspective, and Grant’s writing has powerfully illuminated their plight. This book cannot come be more highly recommended.