It starts with a pun. But end with a whimper. Art And Mines is a new graphic novel by ex-soldier Glenn Fitzpatrick who fought in the Gulf War in 1991 when he was nineteen, as part of the Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars, driving a tank. A cartoonist even then, painting characters on the side of the tanks, he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and it is was through drawing scenes from his experiences that he eventually came to terms with his situation. They became the basis for his graphic novel, describng his time in service and his attempts to return to civilian life following Operation Desert Storm. It includes the first moment of his disillusionment with the way, capturing two severely injured Iraqi soldiers, watching them holding each other, crying.
It took Fitzpatrick, 38, almost 20 years to come to terms with the post-traumatic stress he suffered and to rebuild his shattered life. Unable to find the right words to convey all that he had seen, he turned to drawing as a means of expressing himself and retrained as an artist. Now, he has produced a graphic novel about his experiences as a tank driver during operation Desert Storm and his difficult return to civilian life.
Taking seven years to create, it will include scenes of his comrades machine gunned to death, losing legs, and the capture of a starving soldier who offered his watch in return for his life.
The book culminates in 2003 with Fitzpatrick’s decision to march in the anti-Iraq war protests in London.
Arts and Mines is published by Aerocomm, priced £12.99