New Mercenary Fic Graphic Novel: Executive Outcomes, by Nick Bicanic and M. Zachary Sherman

EO_cover

In the 1995-1996 Sierra Leone Civil War, South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes was tasked with reclaiming the valuable diamond mines for the country’s government, and crushing the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), who were rebelling with support from a similar group in neighboring Liberia. The company, now defunct, operated efficiently and quickly brought the RUF to their knees, resulting in the Abidjan Peace Accords in 1996.

Executive Outcomes, by Nick Bicanic and M. Zachary Sherman, is a graphic novel retelling the company’s experiences in the Sierra Leone Civil War, based on Bicanic’s highly rated documentary Shadow Company. Bicanic told TFB about the graphic novel:

It’s based on a true story about a group of 150 mercenaries that were hired to take back diamond mines in Sierra Leone but ended up preventing a genocide.

I wrote the story (based on my award winning documentary “Shadow Company” narrated by Gerard Butler) – and the book is being published by Hermes Press.

The events happened in the mid 1990s – however they still ring true today – because many of the men depicted in the book are active in the Global War on Terror today. For example a number of them fought against Boko Haram as recently as a few months ago.

Graphic novels are rapidly becoming one of the most popular kinds of media today. Fundamentally an expansion of comic books, graphic novels typically tell more serious, dramatic, or epic stories. As graphic printing has become cheaper and more widespread, so too have graphic novels.

TFB has received a copy of Executive Outcomes for review. We look forward to reviewing it for our readers.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Sick

  • Azril @ Alex Vostox

    Still waiting for Garth Ennis stamp of approval..

    • Nergyl

      It would need a lot more male genitalia and poop jokes.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Fitting cover of a white guy standing over dead Africans
    /pol/

    • Thankfully now in South Africa it’s reversed and Boers are being mutilated on their farms.

      • Wolfgar

        You forgot the white farmers in Zimbabwe, the ones that are still left alive.

        • 2 boo-coo

          The white farmers in Zimbabwe would have the US Army backing them up if they were sitting on an @$$load of oil fields

      • DonDrapersAcidTrip

        wow what a total power reversal that completely out does the entire history of white man’s treatment of black people, now that a white man’s suffering

        • n0truscotsman

          It actually does undo their political credibility, especially since the ANC is acting just as evil as the Apartheid, if not worse in many ways.

          Thanks to ‘democracy!” “every voice matters!” you have a shining crown jewel, economic and technological giant on the continent transformed into just another islamic fundamentalist-friendly, populist, kleptocratic nightmare headed down the well-trodden “failed state in africa” road.

          Because we should hold future generations responsible for what their ancestors over 100 years ago did right? even if this means killing them, stealing their land and livelihoods, and committing heinous crimes against them? This is why humans will always be retarded.

          • Wolfgar

            Well stated ! It is refreshing to read the truth. Both black and white are the losers from this fiasco.

  • Rob

    While a book sounds very interesting, I have no interest in a comic.

    • 2 boo-coo

      This is the reality of an American populace to stupid to read anything longer than a Tweet

      • Dan

        I think i Like your comment but I lost interest by populace, do you think you could put some illustration. …i’m bored writing now.

  • Sabertooth88

    I’ve been reading TFB every day for 3-4 years and this is one of the most out-of-place articles I’ve read here. This seems to have very little to do with firearms as a focus. Rather, it sounds like it’s going to read like war porn and nothing else, the cover art definitely sets a tone for what can be expected within. This post just makes us in the firearms community look like Soldier of Fortune wannabes, which the anti-gunners love to hype up. Keep it on firearms, we don’t need a review of this crap here.

    • Plumbiphilious

      I’d like to second how out of place this article feels. It only tangentially relates to TFB’s original focus of guns/weapons in the sense that they’re used in this comic by imaginary characters. If I wanted pseudo-ads dropped on me for anything related to the gun industry, I’d go to other gun sites like Soldier Systems.

      • Bill

        Hey, I like SSD; this is more in the league of Soldier of Fortune/Paladin Press stuff, though it may be a “good” book. I’ve tried graphic novels (“Maus”), and can’t quite work with them.

        Let’s discuss the ethical themes in “Watchmen.”

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip

      Really didn’t expect to read actual thoughtful comments here, just wanted to thank you for your service lol

    • Wait, aren’t you judging a book by its cover?

      • Sabertooth88

        Of course the cover plays into it some. How can you avoid that cover? However, I’m basing my critique on your description of the book as a tale describing how “150 mercenaries stopped a genocide.” How is that firearms related? This is a story about men were hired to take back a corporate interest, paid cash, and somehow stopped a genocide. There’s no firearms here and that’s why the vast majority of readers come here. If we wanted war-fantasy there are thousands of other websites for that.

        • Presumably they used firearms, though I understand real operators just throw FrogLube at their foes.

          • Sabertooth88

            Based on that logic you’ll be reviewing mobster comic books next because they use guns.

          • Grindstone50k

            You have moved beyond being reasonably upset about this.

          • I once did an article on the practicality of AK hip shooting as often seen in movies. Are you new here?

          • Sabertooth88

            That’s also very firearms related, in fact the object of focus is the AK being fired from the hip. Bravo for pointing to a post that doesn’t justify this one in the least.

          • Nergyl

            That’s bull, Nate. Real operators are so hardcore that their expert firing stances alone can make hostiles crap themselves to death.

            And if they survive that, then they’re put down by Cold Steel Assassin II: Electric Boogaloo throwing knives.

            In all seriousness though, Executive Outcomes is a fascinating case study in private arms acquisition. Not even Blackwater was ever able to get their hands on the kind of firepower EO used in the Sierra Leone conflict. They used Mi-24 gunships, BMP infantry fighting vehicles, all sorts of small arms…pretty much a plug-and-play army.

          • Phil Hsueh

            Real operators just throw sword pommels at their opponents in order to end them rightly.

    • Mike

      Man, sabertooth, this post REALLY seems to have gotten under your skin. lol. We understood that this isn’t your preferred content after the FIRST negative comment you made. You seem to think that your perspective is either representative of everyone else’s or that it’s more “legitimate” than everyone else’s. Hate to break it to you but TFB doesn’t owe you anything, and not everyone shares your taste in content.

      I for one, think this looks cool, and would never have heard about it otherwise. I’d say this plays to the “gun culture” and appeals to at least some of the other readers, as evidenced by the majority positive reaction in the comments… other than yours of course. TFB posts so many articles, it’s nice to have something different every once in awhile. If this one isn’t for you, then do what I do with all the old-school historic weapons articles that I find so boring…. skip it.

      • DonDrapersAcidTrip

        Learn to handle criticism of things you like

        • Mike

          I have nothing invested in this comic book, and will likely never read it. My point is simply that he seems to be on a crusade against this article like they should have run it by him for approval first.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            Uh, he’s just expressing his opinion? Should he run his comments by someone for approval first?

          • Mike

            So him criticizing the writer for posting “this crap here” praiseworthy, but my criticism of his entitled attitude on this free blog is intellectually lazy? You can’t have it both ways, sir.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            His comment is discussing the actual article? You’re uselessly trying to keep him from doing that. His comments serve a purpose, yours don’t. You couldn’t even follow your own advice and “skip” his comments if you didn’t like them, so you’re hardly in a position to go around telling other people to do that.

          • Mike

            Learn to handle criticism of comments you like. 😉

        • Mike

          …or were you agreeing with me? I can’t tell. O.o

    • Nergyl

      The anti-gunners have already made up their minds on how to stereotype and vilify gun enthusiasts. Attempting to placate them is about as worthwhile as trying to douse an oil fire with a garden hose.

      In any case, I’m all for Executive Outcomes telling their side of the story. Biased as it may be, it’s nice to see a different perspective.

      P.S.: The RUF weren’t a bunch of downtrodden, oppressed underdogs. They certainly liked to play that idea up to win sympathy, but they had enough cocaine, AK-47s and sadistic cruelty to make the Los Zetas cartel look like Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

      • Sabertooth88

        Plenty of mercenaries did too, that’s how’s the Zetas even started.

        • n0truscotsman

          The Zetas were former Mexican Special Forces, trained by the US as well. Many of them left the military, but a large number also deserted because of the substantially larger paychecks awaiting them.

          Comparing them with EO in Sierra Leone is ridiculous

          • Sabertooth88

            Oh the paychecks awaiting them, you say? Wouldn’t that make them mercenaries too?

          • n0truscotsman

            Well professional soldiers have paychecks awaiting them too, especially in the form of recruitment bonuses if the times get a bit tough. Does that make them ‘mercenaries’ if they join because of the benefits and GI bill?

            But I refer back to my milton friedman exchange with westmoreland. We’re all “mercenaries’. Us, our employers, our doctors, mechanics, plumbers, etc.

          • Nergyl

            Besides, the worst you can say about EO’s operations was that there was some collateral damage in their numerous gunship raids.

    • n0truscotsman

      I’ve already mentioned this to somebody before, but there is no way to sway anti-gunners’ opinions in your favor if they are already dead set against guns. No way, not going to happen.

      Also, if they already empathize with the RUF, ‘oh no! those evil whites killing them poor, underequipped, untrained boys and men’, considering them creatures are responsible for some particularly heinous acts, there is no point in having a conversation with such an idiot.
      The other side of the argument is that graphic novels can encourage readers to do more research on the conflict, especially among teenagers. Find out what parts of the novel were truth and BS.

    • Have you read the book?

      • Sabertooth88

        I’ve stated my opinion on this comic novel, feel free to read through. Have fun in fantasy land with the founder of executive outcomes. I really hope TFB is getting a good kickback from those guys

        • I am getting no compensation from them, and would refuse it if it were offered.

  • hami

    Fiction or not, I insist that every person on TFB maintain proper finger discipline!

  • Bill Fitzsimmons

    Seriously people. Did you read the article or just look at the picture and make a color by numbers judgment on the cover? It clearly states that the mercs were there to help. I believe if the artist’s intentions were to portray the shadowy figure had killed the people on the floor, he would have depicted smoke from the barrel. That might just be me analysing the context clues of the art, instead of making a rash, emotional decision. Feel free to continue getting butt hurt over a cartoon book cover.

    • Sabertooth88

      The graphic novel has nothing to do with firearms, rather it has everything to do with mercenaries, not even legitimate government forces of any kind. The hiring of mercenaries is inherently political, which would tend to suggest that this book is about “Politics” not “Firearms.” I thought TFB was about “Firearms Not Politics?” Of course mercenaries were “there to help,” they help whatever side pays them! Nothing changes the fact that this isn’t even a graphic novel about how a firearm was made or operates, it is solely about men who use firearms in very unbalanced scenarios.

      • Wolfgar

        If you don’t like this post then do the adult thing and skip over it. Nobody is forcing you to approve, like or read this post. Some people enjoy not only the mechanics or methods of manufacturing of firearms but they also enjoy the history of their use.

        • Sabertooth88

          The adult thing is to speak up, not pipe down. I read almost every article every day of the week, as I said before, I’ve been a daily reader for over three years. I keep coming back to this site because I don’t have to be dragged into politics here, 99% of the it time truly is about firearms and not politics. However, this post has absolutely nothing to do with firearms. I’d like to not be compared to mercenaries or be accused of glorifying them because of misplaced reviews like this. Unfortunately, antigunners patrol the internet for crap like this to throw at everyone in the gun community as if we’re all SOF wannabes. I’m speaking up because I don’t want to go to other gunsites where all they do is talk politics like this, it’s no fun for anyone.

          PS, I totally understand that people like to read about the “history of their use,” but I could guarantee you that there are scores of reputable books that chronicle uses of AKMs that just aren’t solely “based on a true story.”

          • Wolfgar

            Like this post people will not always agree. So goes the world. Have a nice day.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            wow great insight

          • Sabertooth, there was no political agenda or content in the post. It seems everytime someone gets offended by a post on this site, they try to use our motto as a bullwhip to intimidate our writers, and I am getting pretty sick of it.

            We cover books and history all the time, and besides the medium this is no different.

          • Sabertooth88

            I’m not accusing you of having a political agenda in this. I’m simply stating that this is not history and it is not based on firearms, it’s a comic book.

          • iksnilol

            So a comic book can’t be history or based on firearms?

          • Sabertooth88

            If it was actually based on firearms it could be. This comic simply is not, its subject matter is mercenaries, plain and simple.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            How did this enter into you brain as a thing that would make any kind of sense to post lol

            Nobody can criticize a thing anymore without somebody jumping in all “SO I GUESS YOU HATE ALL *insert wild exageration they want to make that has little to do with what the adults are actually trying to discuss*”

            or the other classic:

            “WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO CENSOR AND ERASE THE EXISTENCE OF A THING BY JUST POINTING OUT TROUBLING THINGS ABOUT IT”

            Great thinking guys, trying putting two more seconds of effort into it before calling it a complete thought next time though.

          • iksnilol

            “I’m simply stating that this is not history and it is not based on firearms, it’s a comic book.”

            From my comprehension of the English language, which admittedly might be a bit rusty due to this being my third language, I understand it as he considers comic books and history/firearms to be to separate things. AKA they can’t be in one.

            Besides, I was just asking a question (or questioning him, I dunno anymore). So it becomes a bit hyperbolic to claim that I claimed he hates all comic books.

            + you’re the one calling yourself an acid trip. I’ll admit, that one might be a bit ad hominem, but still.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            “I understand it as he considers comic books and history/firearms to be to separate things”

            I don’t think you do understand it.

            Also every time I post on gun threads everyone gets hung up my name, as if it signifies anything at all about me. You all really like to live up to the stereotype of being a bunch of old fuddy duddy grandpas. “waaah drugs!! tattoos!! that wacky tobaccy them hippies got there in colorado!”

          • iksnilol

            Well, why would he word it in such a way to insinuate that they are to completely separate things? If he, of course, didn’t mean it?

            It’s a good username, ain’t gonna apologize for that. Now I’m imagining them baby boomers having an acid trip and that sounds funny. Ironically enough, I can bet a brick of the holy doubledeuce that I am younger than you.

          • It’s based on a documentary and you haven’t even read it. So you’re going just off the cover and the medium. Now, is that a very adult thing to do?

          • Sabertooth88

            I’m basing everything off of your own words and those you chose to quote, holy writer. In your own words this is a comic novel based on the actions of a mercenary group in Sierra Leon during the mid-90s. If there’s deeper content or an actual connection to firearms, that is the writers job to illuminate that, but you have failed to do that here. If there is a deeper value to this comic book than wanton war-porn of a mercenary patting himself on the back, I’d be surprised.

          • roguetechie

            unfortunately for you your comments are based entirely in ignorance. Quite frankly if you knew ANYTHING about the tragedy that is Sierra Leone, the asinine black mail tactics of the first world to force the LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT of the damn country to fire EO because quite frankly EO was quite blatantly making fools of the better of a decade worth of “peacekeeper intervention” …
            oh btw
            from everything I remember EO served as mostly cadre forces and often sallied forth to find the enemy in conjunction with “legitimate government forces”…
            It’s you whose being ignorant, biased, blindly prejudiced, and I suspect outright racist…
            lemme guess you think EO was a bunch of white Afrikaaners and 5 commando vets right?
            WRONG
            a majority of the EO force was “African” by your and the antis definition of “African”…

          • Sabertooth88

            The race of the mercenaries matters none. Motivations of corporate greed are always dubious though and from my looking around I can see EO has quite a history of entirely sketchy dealings and international sanctions, there’s a reason they were disbanded in 98.

          • roguetechie

            hah except I read your later comment to someone else… You know the one where you outed yourself as either a troll or just someone who actually buys the stupid propaganda and whitey is evil schlock that is ridiculous no matter what race, sex, creed, or color it’s attributed to.
            but frankly, you’re making an ass of yourself especially thoroughly because EO was the closest thing any armed group ever gets to a white knight interposing his own flesh between the weak and defenseless and the ravening hordes…
            you keep using the utter lie of a one liner about having “looked into EO” and found some of their nebulous dealings to be “shady”…
            you see how you provide absolutely ZERO DETAIL except that they were FORCED TO DISBAND IN 98…
            hey wanna know something funny?
            The Clinton administration and the international community ILLEGALLY used coercion and financial blackmail to force the government of Sierra Leone into ending their contract in a breach where EO was illegitimately made to surrender their weapons and disband then take commercial transport home from the AO!
            AKA you didn’t even know that the disbanding happened during the Sierra Leone contract, and happened under a cloud… Of illegal immoral and ultimately costly in human life and suffering actions by THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY.
            basically dude,
            go try that crap somewhere with people as ignorant of the actual events in question as YOU ARE
            BECAUSE WE AREN’T BITING
            perhaps you can elicit proper reactions at mother Jones…

          • Sabertooth88

            Haha I alluded to exactly that situation, but you just get so hard thinking about EO that you need to write this much defending them. “White knights” hahaha

          • I think I commented elsewhere that they presumably used firearms.

          • Sabertooth88

            Refer to my gangster comic comment about this one, buddy.

          • Cannoneer No. 4

            If you have writers easily intimated by commenters, give them Nugenix,

            Alternatively, change the motto.

          • I don’t know of any of our writers who are intimidated by commenters.

          • Keyword there is “try”.

          • roguetechie

            Nathaniel,
            one question… Does Neil Ellis make an appearance? He and his crew were f***Ing rock stars in the saga of EO’s sustained beat down administration oupon the RUF quite literally from their first day in country…

          • No idea, I haven’t read it.

          • Nick Bicanic

            Neall Ellis (or Nellis) does not make an appearance unfortunately.
            Carl Alberts does. Neall Ellis (for those of you who don’t know) was (and still is) a very well known helicopter pilot who flew for the South African military and later Executive Outcomes. (since then a number of other places)

            I had the opportunity to interview Neall at length for Shadow Company – and he’s a soft spoken and eloquent soldier. He does very little by accident – and he’s quite calm.

            Lots of good soundbites in the doc from him.

            @roguetechie:disqus you are right that he (and the EO owned Mi-24 Hind gunship) played a key role in the defence of Freetown – however this was after the first 18 months in country and after the Abidjan peace accord. Neall wasn’t working for EO at the time of the events in the book.

          • roguetechie

            WOW,

            thank you so much for the in depth answer, and I share your respect for the man and the crew he flew with…

            What struck me even in my testosterone soaked barely post puberty and perpetually angry at the world mind state when I read the article about him in SOF was the way even SOLDIER OF FORTUNE couldn’t strip the respectful, earnest, and caring nature of the man out of the article!

            Honestly that one article left my world view shook…

            This was not what an airborne mercenary gunship pilot was supposed to be!
            I guess that is what makes me react so strongly to ignorant people who don’t even have the decency to do a cursory research into the history they so cavalierly turn into one of their liberal bigoted biased ignorant and uninformed diatribes against X or Y.

          • Nick Bicanic

            The quirkiest thing about Neall is that when you talk to him he’s this mild mannered slightly pudgy type who would not be out of place at your uncle’s backyard barbecue – but he killed more enemy soldiers than all the other EO guys combined. (by their own admission)

            As for breaking the stereotype of what a mercenary should be – I have met a number of infantry and special forces (SAS, SBS, SEALs, SF etc etc) over the years.

            Bravado aside (and yes Black tricked out Bronco in Venice Beach with license plate DEVGRU I’m looking at you ;)) operators by and large tend to be professional operators regardless of where they were trained. They look at the mission, the situation, analyse the mission parameters and operate accordingly.

            After years of getting honor, loyalty, camaraderie etc etc drummed into you – those values don’t miraculously disappear overnight.

            The whole stereotype of thugs of working for the highest bidder is in my opinion grossly inaccurate.
            I’m not suggesting it doesn’t happen. Clearly it does. I mean someone carries weapons in an aggresive context for drug dealers, arms smugglers etc etc.
            And some of those people likely have military training of some kind (either nation state or private militia)

            But in my personal experience most people have a fairly clear moral line of who they would and wouldn’t work for. Once that line is crossed there’s no going back – because no sovereign government in their right mind will ever hire you or any company you work for again.

            Of course figuring out who the bad guys are and who the good guys…well….that’s a WAAAAAAY more complicated problem.

            Especially when they are all bad.
            But if we do down this discussion – we’re gonna go way off into the deep end of the geopolitical and energy stability counter insurgency, natural resources grab rabbit hole…

            All things work out as I hope they will – we can have this discussion in the context of the Executive Outcomes movie, 2-3 years from now.

            Just buy bucketloads of books and we’ll go from there 😉

      • Mike

        You sound like someone who thinks we should have more “common sense gun laws”.

        • Sabertooth88

          Bwahaha based on what evidence, hombre? I’ve mentioned no politics

          • Mike

            actually, I believe you’re the ONLY one commenting on this article so far to bring up politics. 😉

          • Sabertooth88

            And the mentioning of the abstract concept of politics of no particular variety would have what to do with gun control exactly?

          • Mike

            Excuse me sir, you seem to be attempting to discuss something other than firearms, which is strictly forbidden on this website. Debating politics, or even the abstract concept thereof is distinctly un-firearm related… I’m going to have to ask you to cease and desist as I remove myself from this blasphemous conversation. smh.

          • Sabertooth88

            My question was to your accusation, yet you change topic. Nice troll.

          • Mike

            muahahaha

      • n0truscotsman

        ‘rather it has everything to do with mercenaries, not even legitimate government forces of any kind”

        1.) What in the sam-hell is exactly a “legitimate government force” in Africa?

        2.) IF they are contracted through your “legitimate government”, then that makes them “legitimate” right? See “STTEP” for reference.

    • Bill

      “Help” means different things to different people. How many “contractors” are helping Syrian refugees over the borders and barricades? There may be few, but where’s the profit? I bet that human traffickers looking for 12 year old sex slaves, narcotics cartels looking for easy mules, and ISIS recruiters are circling them like vultures; so many they probably need air traffic control.

      It’s a “cartoon” book because everyone under a certain age has only experienced gathering information by graphic symbols, and I don’t mean type or letters. They watched TV, computer screens, phones, tablets and so forth. My daughter can text faster than I can write.

      • roguetechie

        lol you mean like the UN mission chief at camp eagle was implicated in human slavery including sex trafficking as well as untold millions in diverted funds and or other shenaninagans?

    • 2 boo-coo

      Mercs are mercs and are just #hores with guns- they deserve no pity for anything that happens to them- like those Blackwater guys dangling from an Iraqi bridge

      • n0truscotsman

        Ill revert to a argument from friedman, maybe you can learn something,

        “In his
        testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want
        to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, “General,
        would you rather command an army of slaves?” Mr. Westmoreland replied,
        “I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.” Mr.
        Friedman then retorted, “I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers
        referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a
        mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are
        served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get
        our meat from a mercenary butcher.”

        so I guess troll harder next time, jackweed.

  • Wolfgar

    Any method that will tell what has and does go on in this world is OK with me. There is so much news and history deliberately kept silent especially with the younger generation, it is no wonder people seem to be confused with what is happening in the world today. Firearms are tools used in all the conflicts of the world and to leave first hand accounts of their use out of the firearm blog as to not upset hoplophobic’s seems childish. What better way to teach history to historically challenged people than a graphic novel. When my kids were in high school they were taught very little of the conflicts after 1945 so I gave them the book War In Peace by Sir Robert Thompson. A little better than a graphic novel but short and to the point. When I was a young boy they had graphic novels about Davy Crockett, Lewis and Clark, and all of our American ancestors given to us in grade school. I enjoyed them very much as most children then did.

    • Sabertooth88

      As a historian I fully agree with you about the need for people to be vastly more aware of post-1945 conflicts, but “based on true story” graphic novels are no way to actually educate people. I’m all for graphic novels as a medium for learning, but they need to be actually factual, not “based on true stories.” The words “based on” leave too much room for Soldier of Fortune fantasy.

      • Wolfgar

        So who is to determine what is fact and truth in history. The victors will have a different view than the conquered. I enjoy reading both perspectives. If I think I’m reading propaganda or exaggerations I’ll move on but I don’t get upset over it. I dislike all forms of censoring.

        • Sabertooth88

          You’re coming from the point of view that there is an objective truth in history, which there isn’t. You’re very correct in asserting that victors have a different view than the conquered, which is sides need a balance. Also what kind of research was done for this? Is the CEO who wrote this just pulling things from the top of his head? Did he look into the RUF at all? Or are they just whatever he experienced from them? Is there any context given for their situations? I highly doubt these things occurred in a graphic novel produced by a CEO for people who get excited about mercenaries. Speaking of using this to teach your kids history is just irresponsible.

          • Wolfgar

            If you think this graphic novel is factually incorrect then do the research and expose it for the fraud it is. You stated there is no factual truth in history so your making my case for me. It depends on what side of a conflict a person was on. This graphic novel is one mans opinion, or fabrication depending on which perspective you wish to see. I’m sure he will not give the RUF side of the story since he was the rescuer from his point of view. This is conjecture on my part since I have not read his graphic novel.

          • Sabertooth88

            Haha nice, you see there is still a caveat for something to be qualified as having any merit in truth, and that is documentable evidence and research. The simple fact that he might’ve been there does not give him the ultimate authority for any sort of truth, he still has to prove it. I doubt very much that this graphic novel will have a a works cited and bibliography at the back to buttress any of his claims.

          • Sabertooth88

            Also, I’d like to point out that my opposition to this graphic novel is by no means an argument against its publication or existence. I’ve no problem with these publications, but their inclusion on this website is out-of-place and fodder for groups who already are looking for reasons to smear the firearms community. Our discourse on the graphic novel’s historical merits was only the product of a suggestion that it would be an appropriate means to teach someone history. Perhaps it could have use as supplementary reading for someone who is in the process of learning about the many wars in Africa from the 1950’s thru 90’s as a product of decolonization and the involvement of mercenaries. What I’m really arguing about using this as historical evidence is that you should have read a few other books on the topic that expand your perspective, not just confirm preexisting prejudices.

          • Wolfgar

            I don’t agree with your concern with anti gunners as they are a case in physiological study in of them selves. They will never be satisfied with any form of firearms. I agree with you about expanding ones resources on historic topics. The world is not black and white in my experience.

          • roguetechie

            wait you mean the anti gunners who forced a sovereign nation to FIRE the only military force that could fight the RUF?
            Because the UN was there too, and so ineffectual that if one reads even THEIR OWN version of events the UN comes off as, at best a material supporter of the RUF considering the amount of personnel they PAID RUF TO RELEASE!
            Of course RUF declined to repatriate the guns, commo gear, vehicles, and ammo….
            Oh did I mention that Sierra Leone in the wake of being forced to fire EO got to experience the RUF successfully capturing the capital?
            So yeah let them get mad because we grind their pernicious and genocide enabling stupidity in their faces!

          • Wolfgar

            I would say having been there does give him some credibility LOL. During WW2 my neighbor was a field artillery observer under Patton in Europe. I guess using your logic I should dismiss all his story’s since they were not backed up with facts. I guess it is up to the individual to believe which fact or truth from another counts. Facts and proof did not help British historian David Irving when he came to a different conclusion than the authority’s approved facts of WW2. Since I wasn’t there when it happened I will read all sides to get a better picture.

          • Sabertooth88

            Did I deny any credibility? No, I did not. What I stated was that just because he was there, it doesn’t mean that as he saw it was actually how it was. His experience (if verifiable) is a valuable supplementary perspective on a greater picture.
            Also, I’d love to hear how David Irving didn’t use facts and proof…

          • Bill

            You are missing the term “novel.” Someone smarter than me wrote that history is written by the victors. I say it’s written by those who have the most money, or diamonds, or oil, or information.

          • 2 boo-coo

            Or control the media(Hollowhoax-derp)

    • BattleshipGrey

      While I agree with your statement, the phrase “historically challenged” is a nice way of putting it. Some people are historically challenged because they don’t care. Hopefully though this form of media will encourage people to get a start in history and perhaps even spur them on into more in-depth books.

  • Kev

    A handful of well trained men did what 2000 peacekeepers could not.

    • iksnilol

      I’d dare say 150 guys is a bit more than a handful.

      • kev

        that is true however you see were im going 150 is far less than 2000 and yet they allowed Sierra Leone have its first election, that was until the UN got involved and caused the country to collapse again forcing the United Kingdom to intervene.

        • iksnilol

          Yeah, I know, I was being difficult for sake of joke.

          UN = United Nothing

          That’s what we say where I am from. Blue helmet is a good excuse to get hurt.

    • n0truscotsman

      And that is why the only credible, effective force able to smash boko haram happens to be…former EO types…http://sofrep.com/40608/eeben-barlow-south-african-pmc-devestates-boko-haram-pt1/

      We can whine and complain about private contractors all we want, post propaganda (like what the media did with EO), see conspiracies where there are none (blackwater!), but there is a reason why they have existed since the classical age: sometimes politics and bureaucracy paralyzes a country’s ability to project force.

  • ORDERED!

  • Don Ward

    Now we just need someone to do a few IRA Mercenary Novels.

    What? Too soon?

    • Don Ward

      Oh. And for the record, I support this post and the content and am immensely happy to read something different that is interesting and not some silly .50 BMG derringer press release or a YouTube video someone saw on Facebook.

      More interesting firearm related stories like this TFB!

    • Dan

      You offend me sir, where is the editor to remove your post!!!! Lol

  • John

    Mmm. The timing of the graphic’s novel is interesting. It dovetails nicely with the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, a videogame that waxes philosophical about mercenaries and why we claim to need them. (Somebody did a cosplay of Revolver Ocelot a few posts below this one; he’s a supporting character in the Metal Gear series.)

    I wonder how much truth there is in this novel. Not only from the creators, but from the subjects themselves. Executive Outcomes in the 1990s was apparently like Blackwater today; top of the line, very expensive and not always concerned with human rights or verifying targets. I’ll have to read it.

    • Yallan

      Are you kidding? This is timed precisely with the refugee crisis in Syria and the escalating war against ISIL. Right now there are only a few special forces painting targets with lasers for their airforce. The next step would be a multinational mercenary/contractor force.

  • 2 boo-coo

    Yes- because putting power and wealth competely in corrupt govt officials’ hands and allowing them to hand-pick winners and losers works out so well- look no further than the USA

    • Dan

      Oh quit crying around about the U.S., stick to the topic at hand.

  • Grindstone50k

    Aaaaaaand politics in the comments again.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Currently watching the Shadow Company doc and it’s very informative. I can see the appeal of the job due to the pay and efficiency of PMCs. I just hope they vet the contractors before hiring them.

    • Nergyl

      They’re usually pretty selective about who they hire. I don’t know of any PMCs that will accept someone without military or police experience.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I’m not sure mercenaries are groups to be romanticized. Im not crazy about having the worlds largest private army, Academi, a couple hundred miles south of Washington, D.C.

  • Tassiebush

    Executive Outcomes had a a bit of bother back during the Bouganville separatist days with Papua New Guinea. I can’t remember the full story but it wasn’t legal in PNG and the Australian govt also siezed military hardware.

  • TJbrena

    I always wondered how a PMC like Executive Outcomes got so much hardware, especially AFVs and helicopters. They’re practically the template for the PMC as a private army in modern pop-culture, even if everybody points to what used to be Blackwater. And since for some reason PMCs are almost always bad guys or tools thereof in fiction as opposed to the recurring element of a heroic, ragtag group of mercenaries, it’ll be a nice change of pace.

    With regards to tackling more serious subjects in comics, I’d like to see the same kind of movement with animation, to be honest. Most animation oriented towards more “mature” demographics is either comedy or a mix of comedy with another genre. There are more “kid-friendly” cartoons with a semi-serious vibe than adult ones, such as the DC Animated Universe, and later seasons of The Clone Wars. The two Dead Space animated movies were neat, but those were an exception to the rule of adult-oriented animation being primarily comedic.

    I’m pretty far from a weeaboo/Japanophile. I don’t watch much anime, but the mix of lighthearted and more serious genres is something anime has over Western animation. I think of it as a cheaper – but not necessarily inferior – alternative to a more expensive and potentially SFX-saturated live-action show or movie with regular actors.

    It would be relatively niche as a medium, but I’d love to see – for example – a more serious counterpart to a cartoon like Archer (not that Archer isn’t great, or The Americans, 24, and early Burn Notice don’t exist) or an expansion of existing sci-fi universes like Alien(s), Firefly, Terminator, etc.

  • Nick,

    Thanks for commenting. I look forward to watching the documentary and reading the graphic novel. I know others may see comic books as “kid stuff”, but for my generation there have always been comics/GNs for all ages and audiences.

  • Nergyl

    Sounds like you’re going for a “this is how the EO guys see it” angle rather than some trite mall ninja schlock. If that’s so, I may well have to order this thing.

    Also, thank God you’re going at it from a different direction than Scahill. The world needs more actual journalists and fewer pseudo-intellectual hacks who belong on clickbait sites.

    • Nick Bicanic

      It’s not so much this is how the EO guys see it.
      I mean for sure I talked to the EO guys about what the EO guys actually did.
      It’s also – this is how the world saw it. A friend I went to college with worked at the ICRC (Red Cross) and was involved with helping draft the UN anti-mercenary legislation. (which sadly is well known only for being so convoluted as to actually make it borderline impossible to be prosecuted under)

      So I prefer to think of it as being my best effort at presenting what actually happened.

      • Nergyl

        I see. That’s even better, then. Consider me sold on the idea.

  • Sabertooth88

    I very much appreciate your chiming in on this, I only wish that the writer had made as eloquent of an argument for this as you had. Regardless, my objection to this was never, at any point, about the comic itself. Rather, my objection to it’s inclusion on this site is/was that this is by no means about firearms. The way you describe it is suspenseful and moving, yet the core is nothing about firearms, it’s an extended rescue mission staring mercenaries. I regret my crass usage of the word “crap” in my first post. Thank you for your perspective.