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I am going to the Kurdistan region of Iraq

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Home, News & Politics | 2 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

 

Interview!

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

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

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!

Read more

Jeff Lemire Does Harbinger, Harbinger Zero, 10 Reasons Why You Should Read Valiant, The NYCC Panel, Interview Links and Oooodles of Art!!

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Home, Press & Appearances | Leave a comment

HARBINGER 5

The conclusion of the “Omega Rising” arc, Harbinger #5, hit this week and people seem to dig it. Here’s a parade of kindness…

IGN: “There are so many cool moments in this issue, so many incredible panels to gaze at.”

Stump Town Trade Review: “It is smart, action packed, and works on multiple levels.”

Comic Book Bin: “A pivotal issue in the young series’ life, Harbinger #5 is not to be missed.”

The Broken Infinite: “Honestly, there was not a single thing wrong with the issue.”

Comic Bastards: “It’s great to see human nature truly captured in a comic book about extraordinary powers.”

The few things I’ve seen online functioning as negative criticism seem to focus on two things. First, I’ve seen people express the notion that Faith is too fat, with one poster going so far as to say, “there should never be that much blubber on a comic book character.” To those of you who feel that way, I say go find another book to read. Faith is beautiful. All kinds of people should be represented in comics. There are people that look like Faith in the real world, and they never, ever get to be the hero in comics. Well they do in ours. And if you can’t clue in to the poetry of a 215 lb woman who wakes up one day light as a feather, then friend, this really isn’t the series for you.

The second criticism is that Harada isn’t villainous enough for some readers. Rarely does this come off as an aesthetic issue, which I could understand. More often it’s a kind of confusion over who the reader should root for. Well, my lovelies, that’s the whole of the point. If you need a story to clearly draw lines between what’s right and what’s wrong, then I say again, this isn’t the book for you.

Everyone else, go out there and buy issue 5! Man’s gotta eat!

New arc starts next month!

Flamingo is coming for your ass, fanboy.

NEW YORK COMIC CON

So New York was a madhouse. I generally favor NYCC to San Diego as the NY show just seems more comic book-centric somehow. But the Javits Center sucks! The crush of humanity was oppressive, and getting on and off the floor meant being filtered through the bottleneck of a handful of escalators (I didn’t think to use the stairwell exits until the last day, but once I figured it out, it was bliss). Saturday was a nightmare of human congestion.

Fortunately artist alley was separated from the discouraging maine floor and was packed with amazing talent. It was one of the best artist alley’s I’ve seen in a long while. While still crowded, it was never unmanageable and I ended up spending 90% of my time there catching up with friends and introducing myself to artists I adore.

The highlight of the con was meeting Khari Evans in person for the first time. What a sweet, wonderful, talented man.

So that’s the quick con report, for what it’s worth. Now lets get to the good stuff. Here’s a piece of news I’m ecstatic about…

JEFF LEMIRE’S VARIANT HARBINGER COVER!

The great Jeff Lemire goes punk rock for his Harbinger 8 Variant Cover.

Jeff Lemire is a dear friend of mine. I adore him and his handsome ass Canadian grin. He’s also the author and/or artist of a lot of great comic books, not the least of which is ESSEX COUNTY, which I consider one of the top ten graphic novels of the last decade. We’ve been struggling to work together literally since before SWEET TOOTH hit at Vertigo. But things always conspired against us. Now I finally get the pleasure of having the great, lovely, kind and talented Lemire work on something I’m involved with, albeit in a passing fashion.

The DIY aesthetic of the piece he turned in totally embraces the very reason why Jeff’s line speaks to me so deeply. There is an energy and spirit in the work that betrays its simplicity. I couldn’t be more happy.

As part of the press release Jeff had this to say…

“Josh Dysart is one of my favorite people and favorite writers in comics. We’ve wanted to work together for a long time now, but things never seem to line up with both of our busy schedules. When I heard Josh would be a part of the incredible Valiant relaunch with Harbinger, I immediately asked editor Jody LeHeup if I could do a variant. It may not be a full comic, but at least Josh and I have finally done something together. I’m really excited about the high quality books Valiant has been putting out and it’s great to be a part of it in even this small way. I was so thrilled that Jody and the Valiant guys let me go nuts with my lo-fi ballpoint pen idea, I had a blast!”

Assistant Editor on the book, the brilliant Jody LeHeup released this statement…

“Jeff routinely conjures some of the most engaging images and stories in comics and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with him again. This incredible cover is a testament to that fact and to his love for the outstanding work that Joshua Dysart, Khari Evans, Phil Briones and the rest of the Harbinger crew are doing right now.”

I hope you’re all cool with public displays of affection, because this is a goddamn love fest.

Harbinger 8 will be available Jan. 23.

Retailers, click here for details.

ANNOUNCED IN NEW YORK CITY: HARBINGER ZERO!

Mico Suayan’s amazing cover to HARBINGER ZERO.

CBR has some great coverage of Valiant at NYCC. Including a full run down of our FUTURE OF VALIANT panel.

They also do some justice to our announcement that there will be a Harada centered Zero issue of Harbinger heading your way very soon, featuring interior art by the wonderful Mico Suayan.

There’s a full interview I did with CBR regarding the zero issue here. Check it for all the details!

THE RENEGADES INTERVIEW

Ladies and gentlemen, Torque by Khari Evans. Yes, that’s an Ed Hardy shirt.

The new arc is coming your way very soon. And Bloody Disgusting sat me down for a conversation about it. Click the website link for the full interview, but here’s just a dash of what I had to say…

“Ours isn’t a world where people call themselves heroes and fly around saving the day. This is a world of corporate backed hyper-psychics that manipulate markets, eliminate competition and control the future. But all it takes is the imagination and soaring (that’s right, I said it!) spirit of one plus-size teen girl to change that. Faith believes in things. She believes in heroes and in saving the day and wearing cool costumes, and her influence on Peter and those who choose to follow him will entirely remake the world. Faith is 215 lbs of pure weightlessness. Faith is the best soul in the book. And if any good comes out of Peter’s powers, it’s because Faith made it happen”

10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE READING VALIANT COMICS!

Complex Pop Culture has done a super cool article covering exactly why you should be reading Valiant. Inside are lots of great quotes from Fred Van Lente, Robert Venditti, Duane Swierczynski and myself. Check it out if you want an overview of our team philosophy regarding the books.

Cool! I think that’s all the news and art that’s fit to print for now!! Keep reading comics! Especially mine!

Here’s a little video gift for you…

ALL THE HARBINGER NEWS YOU CAN TAKE IN ONE BIG DAMN POST (PLUS NYCC SIGNINGS AND INTERVIEW NEWS!)

Posted on by Joshua Dysart Posted in Comic Books, Home, Press & Appearances | Leave a comment

The Harbinger #5 Character Design Cover, featuring exclusive art and design work by comics visionary David Aja.

Its been a while since I’ve posted any news here. Harbinger is starting to edge up in the monthly pack, with sales finally reflecting some of the critical enthusiasm we’ve been getting. What does that mean exactly? It means I’ve spent the summer traveling, promoting and yes, writing, all to the detriment of this blog. But have no fear. This post is going to cover it all. Below you will see links to interviews, preview pages for upcoming issues and signing information for my appearance at New York City Comic Con this weekend. And, as always, lots and lots of lovely comic book art from lots of amazing artists who are far too talented to be involved with anything I’m writing. You ready? Okay, let’s roll it on out… Read more