Created by Tom Waltz and Nathan St. John.
From Tom Waltz and Nathan St. John, comes Finding Peace, a graphic novel that illustrates war’s cruelty from conflicting perspectives in a modern civil war. This trio of stories told in reverse chronological order walks the reader backwards through time, unpacking the tragic choices that break societies into sides and lead them towards cruelty when the heart’s desire is peace.
“Keeping the Peace” follows Private Jones through a handful of difficult experiences, beginning with his platoon’s attempt to disperse a crowd, which turns into a dangerous riot when a civilian throws a brick at a soldier’s head. Later, a soldier shot by a sniper dies in Jones’s arms and, as if this weren’t enough, Jones’s platoon encounters a haunting mass grave. We wonder, watching Jones and a buddy look through their mail, if a kind word from home will be enough to relieve their stress.
“Sergeant Henderson” opens with a platoon taking cover in a sandbag bunker during an air raid. The experience is commonplace enough for the setting, but Lance Corporal Young notices his typically tenacious sergeant’s visible emotional breakdown behind the shield of her gasmask. It’s an intimate moment that goes unmentioned when the raid is over and the dynamic returns to the norm of Young getting ordered around by the seemingly callous Sergeant Henderson.
In “Convent,” a young woman named Lidia observes the unfolding conflict between rebels and their government. The situation escalates, drawing out violence and corruption on both sides, before it reaches Lidia’s family directly: her brother goes missing and she watches from hiding as soldiers beat her father within an inch of his life. After his recovery, her father sends Lidia to a convent for her own safety, but the journey through the war-torn nation to her intended destination leaves Lidia to wonder whether there’s any real escape.
Waltz, retired USMC, draws on his military background to explore the tense drama and action of a military / rebel conflict. The grim realities of the civil war and its casualties are universal, with consequences that transcend borders and break our heart at every turn.