Living Level-3 IRAQ

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Home, News & Politics, Unknown Soldier, Web Comics | Leave a comment


Finally, a year after my research trip to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, the comic I went there to research LIVING LEVEL-3: IRAQ is live online and free. Chapter 1 can be read right now! New chapters will be uploaded to the Huffington Post World page every day this week. It’s thirty-five pages of story done from four different character perspectives.

Here’s a trailer that the World Food Programme communications team cut together. Below it are links to the actual comic as well as to interviews and extras, including a blog write-up I did for Huffpo. There’s also some art and some love for the WFP communications team that acted as my guides while I was there. I hope you’ll check it all out…

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I am going to the Kurdistan region of Iraq

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Home, News & Politics | 4 Comments

For over a year now I’ve been in contact with some people at the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organization concerned with hunger and food security. We’ve been plotting to tell some stories about the complexity and necessity of feeding the world’s displaced people in an engaging way. Now we’re finally getting started and soon I’ll be leaving for northern Iraq. There, I’ll begin researching the current situation facing Kurdish refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict and the violent push of the Islamic State. The situation is incredibly dire, especially with winter coming. In the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq the temperatures can range from 40 degrees Fahrenheit down to near 0 this time of year.

Compounding the issue, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported a $58 million funding shortfall this year, even as the displacement of human beings has spiked considerably throughout the region. This funding shortfall threatens to leave almost a million people without food and proper shelter as the world turns colder.

Click here to donate to the WFP

Let me hit you with the numbers. There are currently 1.9 million internally displaced people and 225,000 refugees in the region (a “refugee” has crossed an international border, an “IDP” seeks refuge inside their own nation). And 300 to 500 more refugees arrive daily in Northern Iraq from the Kobanî vicinity of northern Syria where the Islamic State succeeded in capturing 350 Kurdish villages in early October and where an active siege still rages. Of those almost 2 million people, some 800,000 are in need of shelter assistance, while 940,000 lack basic winter household items. With the funding shortfall, the UNHCR can only reach 240,000 displaced people instead of the 600,000 they had planned. They will not be able to provide tent insulation kits or sound structures for 140,000 people, and 150,000 people won’t be receiving items like heaters or kerosene.

Kawrgosk camp from 2013, during one of the largest mass arrivals of refugees at that time. These tents went up in a matter of days. Photograph by Abeer Etefa

Kawrgosk camp from 2013, during one of the largest mass arrivals of refugees at that time. These tents went up in a matter of days. Photograph by Abeer Etefa

I believe that this troubled region is the center of the world right now. I believe that no human being should die of starvation. I believe that those of us who are born in a country without war and eat three meals a day have won a lottery. We didn’t earn this, we’re not entitled because of it. We were the lucky ones. We spun a wheel and beat the odds. I believe it’s the duty of the fortunate to witness and help those who were born into unfortunate times in stressed places. I believe that the mission of the WFP is the foundation of civilization. I believe that the people who work for the WFP are real heroes and I can only hope with all my heart that I will be an asset to them instead of a burden while I’m there.

In 2007, researching for Unknown Soldier, I spent a month in Acholiland, Uganda and the surrounding areas speaking to child soldiers, staying with families who had their children kidnapped, and eating dinner with people who were victims of unspeakable brutality during the conflict between the Ugandan People’s Defence Force and the Lord’s Resistance Army. I saw how war destroys culture, family structure, generational ties and hope. Since that trip I have been back here in the States making superhero comics, watching movies, eating well, but – always – there was a sense that I was shirking something, hiding from something. It’s good to be free and full, but with it comes a responsibility to care about those who aren’t. This holiday season everyone reading this will be warm and well-fed, so I want to ask you all to please, please donate something, anything, a dollar, right now, to the WFP. And bear in mind, WFP relies entirely on voluntary contributions to finance its humanitarian and development projects. It receives no funding from the UN.

Click here to donate to the WFP

Thanks for reading. I’ll give you way more information about the project this research is in service to when it’s the right time, and I’ll fill you in more on what I saw and where I was upon my return.

Here’s a 60 Minutes piece on the WFP’s work with refugees in Jordan. Watch it to get a sense of what you’ll be supporting when you give to the WFP. It’s an incredible story.

Much of the information for this post was from, “UNHCR warns of winter crisis ahead for almost a million displaced people in Iraq, Syria” There’s a lot more data there.

Further information here, “Displaced Iraqis face new threat as winter approaches” by Chloe Cornish


Politics and ethics in Unknown Soldier & Harbinger

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Home, News & Politics | Leave a comment

preview-harbinger-0-by-joshua-dysart-mico-sua-L-STPansI was recently hit with some questions about the presence of politics and ethical enquiry in my Unknown Soldier and Harbinger comics. I liked the places these questions made me go to in thinking about my characters and why I’ve made certain creative decisions, so I’m sharing some thoughts on that here…
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Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Home | Leave a comment

Here’s a nice little interview about Harbinger and Unknown Soldier, and about my process. Check it!

Excerpt: ““I wanted to be everything when I was growing up. A scientist, a historian, an adventurer and a journalist. A pacifist and a pugilist. I wanted to spend my life in a room with one window looking out at the mountain contemplating the arc of all things, and I wanted to be out on that mountain always doing and living and never being able to see the mountain for being on the face of it. I wanted to always be learning new things. I wanted to love and understand all people. It turned out that there’s only one way to be everything and do everything and always stay a student and openly love and hate and struggle for understanding. And that’s to be a writer.”

Barry Kittson, from Harbinger #15

Barry Kittson, from Harbinger #15

MY Halloween Gift To You

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Cool Stuff!, Home | Leave a comment


Here’s a scary story I told in front of a live audience at the awesome LAST BOOK STORE in downtown Los Angeles earlier this month. Watch the video, then check out the photos below.

THE STAIN (video by Liliana C. Costa, thanks!)

There, now you’ve heard the story, check out the images!

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