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In issue six of The Sheriff of Babylon, a graphic novel set in American-occupied Iraq following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, an American General says to Sofia, an American-educated Iraqi, “I greatly appreciate the help you’ve given me, we all do. . . . Let’s just leave this with the professionals, the people who are supposed to handle such things.” The “this” they are arguing about is an investigation into the attempted murder of Sofia. Author Tom King presents their debate using alternating panels in which Sofia is superimposed over the American flag and the General is superimposed over the Iraqi flag. This juxtaposition raises questions about the way the General conducts his investigation into an attempt on the life of one of his Iraqi contacts. In disregarding her inquiry, he is unwilling to validate her concerns; he merely insists that his so-called “professionals” are handling it, using an authoritative tone instead of evidence to defend his position. I hope to show how The Sheriff of Babylon uses a fictional story as commentary on American involvement in the Middle East. Tom King invites us to consider how the argument between Sofia and the American General is emblematic of cultural insensitivity that characterizes Western intervention as the optimal solution to Iraq’s problems, often with no justification beyond a belief in Western superiority. King’s engagement in political debate through a medium often considered the domain of pop-cultural icons invites readers to question how informed we really are by the stories delivered by the entertainment media.


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Oconee

  • Event location
    • Library Technology Center 382

  • Event date
    • 24 March 2017

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Matthew Horton