30 April 2015

FWS Forgotten Classics: The Forever War Graphic Novels (Vol 1-3)

There are few works in the realm of military science fiction that loom as large as 1974's sci-fi classic by Vietnam Veteran and scientist Joe Haldeman: The Forever War. It's nature that adaptation into other media was a forgone conclusion for this much celebrated novel, but one of the few that ever saw the light-of-day was the 1988 graphic novel. While we are still waiting on our Forever War movie, we do have these graphic novel adaptation from the late 1980's with art from the very talented Marvano. Not only do I love the novel, the Forever War graphic novel has a place of importance here on FWS. Way back in 2010, when FWS was founded, the first real blogpost was a review of Volume One of The Forever War graphic novel. Originally, these graphic novels were published by Belgian comic company, Dupuis back in 1988 in various formats and languages. In French, the comics were called La Guerre Eternelle and in Dutch, the comics were called De  Eeuwige Oorlog. It was later picked up by American comic publish NBM in 1990, and released in English here in the States in graphic novel format...but that is not all there is about these intriguing military science fiction graphic novels. Here is the long-awaited and very extensive FWS Forgotten Classics blog article on The Forever War graphic novels!

Who's Who in the Forever War Graphic Novels

-NBM Publishing= Started in 1976, this importer of European graphic novels and publisher of various American graphic novels became the leader in graphic novel publication by the late 1980's working with the best and brightest in the industry. Since the original graphic novel was published by a European company, it was right up NBM's alley. The company is still around today, publishing all manner of title that the more mainstream comic companies will not.

-Marvano= is a Belgian artist that became well known for his work with Joe Haldeman and drawing historical comics. They have worked together on two other comic ventures since these graphic novels.

-Dupuis= This is a Belgian comic publisher that was founded in 1922 and publishes mainly in the Dutch and French languages. In 2004, Dupuis was bought by the giant Media-Participations company that also owns Dargaud. This is why the Dargaud and Dupuis names appear on the Forever Free graphic novels.

-Joe Haldeman= Vietnam Veteran, fellow Oklahoman, and has a BS in physics and astronomy. His best known work is 1974's The Forever War.

The Historical Context of The Forever War Graphic Novels
In the mid-1970's, the term "graphic novel" gained popularity in the comic book world, and slowly, the more European traditional of graphic novels was coming to America, helped by companies like NBM. By the 1980's, the graphic novel symbolized the cool edge of the comic book industry, and it was helped by omnibus editions of The Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. During this time in the 1980', I was collecting comics, and the term "graphic novel" was always a keyword for a more mature content and a higher price. At this time, graphic novels were the hot item, and everyone wanted in on the action. This format was seen as the vehicle for different kind of stories (Transmetropolitan), and it was a traditional format for adapting novels into comics. This can been seen in Maus, The Dark Tower, and Persepolis. Of course, this is during the apex of smaller press comic publishers that operated differently than the Big Two. This helped that these newer, smaller publishers were wanting to attract the cash of the public, and they took risks. These elements added up to fertile ground that Dupuis released The Forever War graphic novels into.

The Forever War: Volume One "Private Mandella"
When you open Volume One, you are met with several pages of the author and artist explaining how they became involved in the world of The Forever War. I found the section on Joe Haldeman's genesis story with the story very compelling and powerful, especially with the rarely seen pictures of the author in Vietnam. Volume One covers from page 1 to page 80 in the Eos 2003 trade paperback edition that I own. This details the harsh and unforgiving training on Charon (called Cerberus in the graphic novel) all the way to the Aleph Campaign, from 2007-2036. Out of all three graphic novels, the first volumes is likely the most "true" to the novel and is the most striking in terms of events and art. The iconic image of William Mandella in his space combat suit with his laser rifle and the might of the UNEF that dominates the graphic novels is from these volume and speaks to the power of this volume. Throughout Volume I, we read mostly the text of the novel set with Marvano's peerless art. Much like the original text, it ends with the first encounter with the aliens being a slaughter and William's depressed mood about this new war.

The Forever War: Volume Two "Lt. Mandella"
Volume Two covers from page 81 to page 185 in the Eos 2003 trade paperback edition that I own. This details from the time that the veterans of Aleph come home to Earth in the year 2036 to 2458 when William and Marygay are separated after some time on the UNEF hospital planet  Heaven and the crushing defeat of the Tet-2 Campaign. This is probably the most chopped and altered of the three graphic novels from their original source material. Most of the "author's preferred edition" changes published by Eos Books are not found in here. This is the Future Shock of the UNEF veterans coming back to a very different and nearly alien Earth of the 22nd century with the government run job market and the economy based on calories not coins. While the novel goes into some depth about the changes to the Earth and even Marygay's and William's families, the graphic novel is mostly focused on the failing health of William's mother. What is very powerful in this second volume is the defeat at Tet-2 and the nearly death of Marygay when alien missiles strike the Anniversary. I have to admit, the ending of Volume II is the most bittersweet. At the end, William and Marygay are assigned to different units by the UNEF and separate campaigns, which means separation of decades or centuries for the two lovers. The art is expertly mated to the text, and is just as powerful as the original novel. This is the most difficult and expensive volume of the Forever War graphic novels.

The Forever War: Volume Three "Major Mandella"

Volume Three covers from page 189 to page 278 in the Eos 2003 trade paperback edition that I own. This details the Sade-138 Campaign, the longest Collapsar jump made by a manned vessel in human history and it eats up over 700 years of relative time for William. He leaves Stargate with Strike Force Gamma in 2458 and returns in 3143. This graphic novel is forced to cover the most ground and some of the most difficult subjects and concepts in the novels. Here we see the new human species, called "Man", the completely homosexual crew, and even the similar looking humans, while the "old queer" commands them to the most distant battlefield. Overall, this covers the end of the novel with grace and beauty, especially the beautiful ending. One concept that is more difficult to under in the novel, the "Stasis Field", is presented here in the 3rd graphic novel with more easy and a wonderful artistic representation. Once again, the combination of Marvano's art and Haldeman's works sing beautifully together. 

The Difference Between the Novel and the Graphic Novel
It is risky to take an iconic novel of any genre and translate into another media format. At times, it can be complementary work that attracts new fans and is respected by the original fans of the novel. Gone with the Wind and To Kill A Mockingbird are two of the best examples. Other times, the adaption bears little relationship to the original literary work, and is treated as an insult by the fans of the book. This is true of Starship Troopers and Constantine. Other times, the conversion between novel to other media can bring new eyes to the original words and setting, and a new vision is offered. Of course, anytime you adapt something like a novel into a more condensed media format, changes and alternations will have to be made. Before we get into the differences between the novel and the graphic novel, I have to say that I think the comic adaptation is very good and retains the spirit and most of the original work in its pages.

The Opening

In the novel, the backstory with the contact being Earth and the aliens is handled via William's narration while he is boot back on Earth, just before leaving for Charon. The scene is the one about "there 8 silent ways to kill a man". In the graphic novel, a TV report summarizes the events leading up to the UNEF and the Eternal War. I actually prefer the graphic novel set up much more. So much so, that I used it has an inspiration for the opening of my own novel Endangered Species.

"You Can Never Go Back"
The reason behind this difference could be due to the version of the novel that staff at Dupuis probably used to craft the graphic novel adaption in the late 1980's. The original novel had a deleted section that expanded on William and Marygay's experiences back on Earth after their first deployment throughout the Collapsar. This detailed the calorie economy, the armed raid on Marygay's family farm and other small details. After the 1997 "definitive author's edition" was published by Avon, we finally got to read the missing sections. Naturally, when comparing these sections, we can see that those experiences and scenes are missing from the graphic novel. And this is just as well. This section slows down the story and they are not a needed as a motivator for the characters to reenlist in the UNEF.

The Weaponry of the UNEF
In the graphic novel, one of the charges I noticed due to my interest in futuristic firearms was the use of laser DE rifles by the UNEF. This are very much similar to standard sci-fi "laser blaster" rifles seen in Star Wars, but it is not what was in the original text. the book describes "laser fingers" that fire megawatt laser beams that are mounted to the fighting powered armor suits. I guess it is a point-and-kill weapon system? Anyways, throughout the three graphic novels, the UNEF soldiers use laser blaster rifles, while in the book, they are more realistic laser light emitters mounted to the fighting suits.

The Fighting Suits of the UNEF
Powered armor and military sci-fi go hand-in-hand, like Jack & Coke, and the Forever War novel has the soldiers of the UNEF donning "fighting suits". These were a hybrid design that allowed the soldiers of the UNEF fighting on the exo-planets that possess hostile atmospheres along with being protected and armed. The Fighting Suits were the standard infantry gear throughout the Eternal War, and altered everytime William Mandella came back into "the present". At one point in the novel, UNEF soldiers spend weeks encased in their powered armor, living off the recycled fluids and air. In addition, the fighting suit can adjust its camouflage to several preset patterns for various vegetation types and magnifies the wear's straight. However, in the graphic novel, the fighting suit is more of a combat-rated space suit than a powered armor system that does not camouflage itself and remains similar in design throughout the Eternal War. While the graphic novel is cool "astronauts-with-guns" image, it is not true to the novel's APS.

The Taurans
For the "enemy", the Taurans, the author creates a very design with that triangled torso and compound eyes and bent legs. While some artists have maintained the author's vision of the Taurans and their technology, Marvano strikes out on his own with the design. Instead we see the graphic novel Taurans as more of a simian like being that is bent over and runs like an ape. They are completely physically underwhelming to the characters and the readers. I always had an issue with the appearance of the Taurans and the their technology with is just not "alien enough" for me, nor the original text. Also, the Taurans themselves change little throughout the graphic novels, save for their ships. They appear as they did in the first encounter as the last with different ship and these oddball DEW hand-modules.

The "Teddy Bears" on Aleph Aurigae
The first volume of the graphic novel does an expert job at showing the first encounter being the UNEF on Aleph and the native beings. the so-called "Teddy Bears".  While the events are similar, the Teddy Bears have been replaced with telepathic Apatosaurus. I never understood why Marvano changed this...what was the problem with the Teddy Bears from the book?

The Fuck-Buddy System and Sweet Lady Mary Jane
One of the more "interesting" parts of the lives of the soldiers of the UNEF is that male and female soldiers are paired up for sexual purposes and the schedule rotates. Also, the soldiers are allowed to smoke joints and even given an allowance of pot. This shocked me when I first read the novel back in 2010, but it made sense given the context of the author's service, where weed was commonly used to counter the savage conditions of the Vietnam War. Weed and the fuck buddy system are hinted at in the graphic novel, but not as original text. This undercuts Mandella and Potter relationship in the graphic novel, and only makes sense if you have read the novel. While this is a small thing, it hits at one of the unique elements of the Forever War universe.

Is that an American Space Shuttle?
In Volume One and Two, we see the UNEF using the NASA Orbiter design for their own assault shuttles! It clearly is the American Space Shuttle with the same cockpit, coloring, booster rockets, and shape, but it has abilities that the discontinued Space Shuttle possess, like lifting off from the surface of an exo-planet, a laser cannon, remote piloting, and smooth endoatmospheric flight. Given that the graphic novels were created in 1988, at the apex of NASA's STS program, Marvano may have fancied the design and used for the UNEF assault shuttles...but it makes little logical sense and appears out of place when reading the graphic novel today. In Volume III, we see new assault shuttles that bear no appearance to the American Space Shuttle.

The Forever War Graphic Novel/Cheval Noir Connection
If you were old enough, and reading non-mainstream comics in the late 1980's, like I was, than in the pages of Dark Horse comics was an advert for their new series of comics aimed at mature audience that were imported from around the global and translated into English. This comic series, called Cheval Noir, which means "dark horse" in French. This anthology comic series ran for fifty issues from August of 1989 to January of 1994. Given the aim of the comic was to bring international comics to an American audience, the Belgium/French Forever War graphic novel were a perfect fit. From June 1, 1990 until October 1, 1991, Cheval Noir would serialize the three-volumes along with translating it into English, but was devoid of color. One of the questions that could not answer originally was why Dark Horse Comics and NBM Publishing both were able to publish the graphic novel? I know that NBM published their graphic novels from January 1990 to January of 1991, but why Cheval Noir? Even in the front cover of the graphic novels it even says that the Forever War graphic novel can be seen in the pages of Dark Horse's Cheval Noir. NBM was the distributor for Dark Horse Comics when it first started up and that relationship allowed for Cheval Noir to reissue the Forever War Graphic Novels in that serialized form. While the NBM graphic novels are hard to come by,  the issues of Cheval Noir that contain the Forever War graphic novels are more or less common, and somewhat easier to locate and buy, given that Cheval Noir was not that popular of a series. If you want to buy The Forever War graphic novel in this format, here is the issues of Cheval Noir:
Volume One: #8-#12
Volume Two: #13-#18
Volume Three: #19-#23

Buying The Forever War Graphic Novels Today
After establishing FWS in 2010, I began to search for The Forever War graphic novels, and could lay my hands on volume I and III legally and easily. I bought Volume I from Lone Star Comics for about $18, and Volume III from Mile High Comics for about $16. At the time of this writing of blogpost, Mile High Comics had Volume I and III at good prices, while Volume II has beyond stupid prices...like hundreds of dollars. At the time of this blogpost being written, Volume II is selling for $40+ for okay copies and $147 for great condition, all the way up to $4,000! I've seen the super-rare hardcover complete graphic novel collection for $400. The prospect of buying physical copies of this rare and hard-to-find graphic novel increase greatly if you can speak French or Dutch. Several sites I ran across had the complete volumes or even the next-to-impossible hardcover edition on their websites for around 25 Euros. The largest online comic book dealers (Lone Star Comics and Mile High Comics) offer volumes of the English The Forever War graphic novel from time-to-time, but only Volume I and III, never II. Why? This I am not sure about, and no one as supplied me with the answer. My only guess is that Volume One was printed in the greatest of numbers, and Volume II and III were not. However, there is a way to buy Volume II...legally...in the pages of Dark Horse Comics old Cheval Noir international comic series. Here is, again, the issues you need to buy in order to obtain the complete graphic novel:
Volume One: #8-#12
Volume Two: #13-#18
Volume Three: #19-#23

The Special Editions of The Forever War Graphic Novels

The Leather-Bound Editions
The single rarest edition of the Forever War graphic novels is the leather-bound editions. In the front inside cover of the NBM graphic novels is an advert for leather-bound editions that are signed by Haldeman and Marvano. Each was sold for $40 back in the 1990/1991 and were numbered. Information on this special edition is very difficult to track down, and only a few examples are for sale today that yield information. One of the few examples of these leather bound editions was recently offered on Abebooks.com. From that entry, I believe that Forever War graphic novels were in a limited run of 300 leather editions of each volume. I have yet to see Volume I or II in the leather bounded form. Given the limited run of the normal graphic novels, these special editions are naturally rare, and sell for around $130+ on specialized booksellers. I have seen one of these in a bookstore in Ashland, Oregon that was $200 back in 2000/ No, I didn't buy it. Mile High Comics has one of these for sale, and lists it as an "leather hardcover slipcase". Price? $189, down from $270.

The Forever War: Complete Edition
It is natural for comic book publishers to issue complete editions of their series, and the same is true of the Forever War graphic novels. In 2002 (some sources say 2009), the original Belgium publisher, Dupuis, released an complete edition of the Marvano/Haldeman graphic novels called the "Edition Integrale". These editions included all three of the Forever War and the comic sequel This was published in a variety of languages and different formats. In the Spanish edition published by Norma Editorial, it was hardcover, new cover art, and included a number of sketches by Marvano showing more of the world that he created out of Haldeman's words. While the varying editions of this omnibus work are available in a number of languages and countries, it was never released in the United States. It is amazing that these completed editions of the Forever War graphic novels were released years after their originally release.

Here is the Norma Editorial hardcover edition:

What Happened to The Forever War Graphic Novels?
Given that the graphic novel was released in pre-internet days and the original country of publication was Belgium, information is scarce on sales numbers of this comic adaption. At the time, much was made of the release in publications like Comic Shop News and even copies of Volume One graphic novel were proudly displayed at my local Tulsa-area comic book shops. The first volume was praised by various reviewers like the New York Time and Publishers Weekly. But then...Despite going to comic book stores around the same time and being interested in these graphic novels, I never laid eyes on Volume II or III. While there is nothing to support this, I do believe that Volume I was met with weaker sales than expected and Volume II and III also saw a decrease in sales as well. This would account for the rarity of Volume II and III on secondary markets. 

Will the Graphic Novels be Re-Issued by NBM?
When the ICv2 website discussed the Forever War movie, they talked about the possibility of NBM Publishing (which mostly publishes "adult" graphic novels these days) reissuing their long-out-of-print Forever War graphic novels. According to NBM's Terry Nantier, if and when the Ridley Scott film adaptation moves to reality, NBM is open to possibility of reprinting their graphic novel series. This is great news for fans of the book and graphic novel, or even just fans of military sci-fi. C'mon, Ridley! Make the movie so NBM can reprint the graphic novels!

What About the Sequel to The Forever War: Forever Free?
Around the internet, there is information saying that there is a comic sequel to the Forever War graphic novel is called: "A New Beginning". However, they are wrong. Given the praise of the first venture between Haldeman and Marvano, European publisher Dargaud/Dupuris moved to adapt two more of Haldeman's stories in the Forever War universe: "Free Forever" and "A Separate War". Three graphic novels were published by Dargaud/Dupuis in 2002-2003 for the European market and were never imported to these shores. These three graphic novels are the comic adaption of "A Separate War" and "Free Forever", but I am sure of the changes from novel-to-comic. Out of the three graphic novels that comprise Libre A Jamais, only the first volume "Another War" is related to the Eternal War and peaks my interest. Much like the novel it is based on, Libre A Jamis, is flawed with a Deus Ex Machina ending that disappointed fans and critics. One day, I plan on buying the first volume of Libre A Jamais given its connection to the rest of the Forever War universe.
Here is the link to the FWS topics blogpost about Libre A Jamis:

The Impact of The Forever War Graphic Novels
Anytime that a work is translated into another media form, say book to film, it increases the exposure of that work to a wider audience. For example, fans of the Blade Runner film sought out the original book that the film was based, PKD's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The same is true of the graphic novel adaption of that icon work of military science fiction. This is especially true in the pre-internet years. New adaptations into different media allowed for new markets to be discovered. Since graphic novels were en vogue during the time period when the Forever War Graphic Novels came out, this helped a new audience discovery the 1974 book and its author.
This also helped artist Marvano gain new fans of his talent in the comic book art arena. Given that the original publisher of the graphic novel was European, this also helped European fans of science fiction discovery the American novel as well. However, given the rarity of the graphic novels today and the few internet entries on it, I am assuming that it was not as successful as planned nor had widespread impact.The various articles on FWS about these graphic novels are some of the few in-depth articles available on the internet. However, the fans of the graphic novels are out there (like me) and passionate. So much so, that stripinfo.be members voted the original Dutch version of the graphic novel number 9 on their top 100 graphic novels of all time.

The Forever War Graphic Novel and the Long-Awaited Film Adaption 
In October 2008, Ridley Scott's film company, Scott Free Productions informed the world that one of the most iconic works of military science fiction would be transformed into a cinema reality. That was in 2008. Since then, a few more scripts have been written and nothing is happening. There was a rumor that a copy of the Forever War graphic novel was used to crafted some of the scripts and could be used  as an inspiration for the film. After all, Ridley used to read Heavy Metal magazine in this early film days. I wonder if we will ever see the Forever War movie?

My Experience with the Forever War Graphic Novels
Back in the late 1980's, I went to comic book shops in Bartlesville, Tulsa, and Albuquerque nearly weekly, and while at these fine geeky establishments, I picked up the free Comic Shop News. This was a newsletter detailing current and future state of the  comic book world in those dark days prior to the internet. It was during this time that I read an article on the upcoming imported title from NBM called "The Forever War". I thought it was a clever title and the cover of the first volume was arresting...so much so, that I never forgot it. I would see Volume One at Starbase 21 on a shelf, but never made it a priority purchase. I would see the first volume again in 1997 at a Lone Star Comics shop near TCU, and once again I was interested. At this time, I had yet to read the novel. When FWS was founded in summer of 2010, I wanted the blog to standout, and in doing so, I decided to locate and buy the Forever War graphic novels.
Fast-forward to 2010 when FWS reviewed Volume One of the graphic novel. I bought the first issue from my local comic book shop, Lone Star Comics and paid less than ten dollars for it in very good condition. I thought this would make for a unique blogpost for the fledgling FWS. Boy, I was right. For a time, it was the most visited and read blogposts on FWS. A clerk at Lone Star Comics told me that article triggered sales of the graphic novel, causing it to sell out. He told me that years had gone by without anyone ordering the graphic novel. I should have made a deal with them prior posting it to get some cash for that business that FWS triggered. I bought Volume III from Mile High Comics for less than 20 dollars, and it would take years before I was able to acquire Volume II from Ted Boudreaux, who reached out to me after reading the FWS blogpost on Forever Free. After that, it was time to final write the definitive blogpost on the Forever War graphic novels.

The Bottom Line on The Forever War Graphic Novels
During the writing of this important blog article here on FWS, my wife was hospitalized, giving me long hours to research and read. Over the course of the week she was in hospital, I reread The Forever War novel and graphic novels, giving me a new understanding of these works; how they are different and how they are similar. For the most part, the graphic novels are extremely effective at transmitting the world of William Mandella and the Eternal War to the reader. Marvano's art only adds to the favor and seems rather organic to the text of the original 1974 novel. Despite a few changes, the bulk of the novel is in these three European graphic novels, and these may be one of the best adaptations from novel to comic. Personally, I think these are a great piece of military science fiction comic literature that rises above the normal superhero bullshit found in most comics of the time. These might the best military science fiction comic of all time. Even if you have read the novel and a fan of the novel, you owe it to yourself to read these graphic novels. I, as an author, would be relieved if my books were transformed into graphic novels of this caliber.

Next Time on FWS...
Out there in the black are the future of global economics: asteroids. These chunks of space rocks are considered the goldmine of space that could be loaded with rare-earth minerals and possible elements that we are unaware here on Earth. With great economic benefit comes wars and conflicts. Science fiction has projected that  asteroids will be a future battlegrounds for nations, corporations, wildcat miners, and even space pirates...but, will asteroids be a source of future warfare? In the next installment of the FWS serial What We Will Fight Over, we will be exploring and explaining if indeed asteroids will be the source of future space wars. Oh, and yes, I did have an ATARI 7800 back in the day.


  1. Good blogpost, William! I think that novel wasn't translated to my language, surely not, but i really wants to read it! While i know many about sci fi, i have read a few books, or comics. And asteroids... How much time will we wait? It's really interesting topic.
    Sorry for my English... Strange nick, huh?

  2. Narcotics and war have a long history, German troops in the second world war used a stimulant called Pervitin which was nicknamed Panzerschokolade or Tank Chocolate which was in fact What we today would call Methamphetamine. USAF Pilots and flight crews have in modern times come under fire for use of dextroamphetamine as "Go Pils".
    Khat is used by locals in Somalia and it's rumored that it and other narcotics may be used in modern battles across the middle east. It's well known that North Korea manufactures a verity of synthetic narcotics.
    It's not limited to modern times either. Traditional Cultures such as the Zulu were given special Teas and chews that are said to have contained mild hallucinogens and stimulants. In Latin America the Coca plant is used in it's unrefined form as a stimulant by local peoples. There may even be evedence of a Coca like stimulant found in Egyptian mummies.

    In Science fiction the Idea of using Narcotics to stimulate and control soldiers is also not that new it's a long used tradition in some ways and a hard reality.

  3. Great post, William. I'm a big fan of the book, but I hadn't seen the graphic novels. Thanks.

    It makes sense the artist used the Space Shuttle as a basis for the first generation assault shuttles. Comparing the story to the real world, the Aleph Campaign would be happening right now. Designing aerospace vehicles takes about a decade in peacetime. In mobilization, you either go for what you got or modify a current design. Obviously, we don't have aerospace troop transports today. The only design around that could be modified for a troop transport would be the Space Shuttle.


  4. I see what you are saying and I thought it was cool to have the US Space Shuttles modified for the purpose of exo-solar wars. It is amazing to think that Aleph Campaign would be waging right about now.

    1. It could be waging right now. The government might be in a secret operation in space fighting extraterrestrials while hiding it from the rest of the world. Look up operation stargate.

  5. I've read a few accounts around the old interwebs about the secret military space program that could be involved in exo-solar wars. In my old Mulder days, I remember reading about that the 1994 Stargate film was more fact than fiction. If there were soldiers fighting off-world or transported off-world like Project SERPO, than they would be simply erased from gov't documents...like ghosts. I've often thought that there is a good book somewhere in the UFO lore with a topic like this...never could get a good idea.

  6. I was listening to The Forever War as a CD book a little while back, but I never finished it 'cause one of the discs was damaged. :[ I complained about it to the librarian so they might have fixed it or whatever they do now. I haven't seen the graphic novel but it looks interesting!

    It's a bit odd how all these adaptions of MSF always leave out powered armor when it appears in the original story- like the film of Starship Troopers, although that was basically a kick in the teeth to the novel (and intended to be).

    Given how fragile the real shuttle orbiter was, I do not think I would want to be riding in one to a real battle. :D

    Leon is right- narcotics and warfare go back a long way, and not just on the front either. I've been reading Ian Fleming's James Bond novels recently and read the term "philopon" in Moonraker, which was described as a Japanese murder drug in the text.

    I wondered if Fleming had just made it all up, so I looked up "Philopon" on the internet. It turns out that Philopon was a stimulant given to Japanese workers during WWII so they could work longer hours without sleep or food. The name comes from Greek "philos" and "pon" and means, literally, love of work. The drug was actually methamphetamine, and the government addicted millions of people to the drug- leading to an epidemic of meth addiction and drug-related crime in the years after WWII. Which the Japanese government blamed on the Koreans. It is just f*cked-up how little regard governments have shown to the health and well-being of their subject citizens, and how little they continue to show in many parts of the world.