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Pride of Baghdad

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  20,897 ratings  ·  1,524 reviews
From one of America’s most critically acclaimed graphic novel writers – inspired by true events, a startlingly original look at life on the streets of Baghdad during the Iraq War.

In his award-winning work on Y THE LAST MAN and EX MACHINA (one of Entertainment Weekly’s 2005 Ten Best Fiction titles), writer Brian K. Vaughan has displayed an understanding of both the cost of

Hardcover, 136 pages
Published September 13th 2006 by Vertigo
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  20,897 ratings  ·  1,524 reviews

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(A-) 83% | Very Good
Notes: A kind of cave allegory on liberation, it has high fantasy elements, reflected in war-torn Baghdad’s unearthly terrain.
J.G. Keely
Jan 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics, reviewed
Despite the originality of the idea, and the wealth of symbolism and meaning such a story might have held, Vaughan did little with this book. His predictable plot, thoughtless characterization, awkward dialogue and overpowering allegory drained this book of any strength or beauty it might have had.

Start with some factual errors, such as antelopes being kept within sight of lions, sea turtles living in the Tigris, and zoo birds (which would have had flight feathers clipped) simply flying to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Pride of Baghdad is the story of four lions who escaped from the Baghdad zoo after a bombing raid and was inspired by actual events. It probably goes without saying it didn't end quite as well as The Lion King . . .

Dallas Commercial Photography

Although I was totally crossing my fingers that the male lion would have a voice like Scar . . .

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I was hoping the combination of a graphic novel (a/k/a pitcherbook) and the use of animals rather than people to tell the
Sep 03, 2014 rated it liked it
What a beautiful and sad story this is.

I found "Pride of Baghdad" while browsing the graphic novels at the library. It was inspired by the true story of four lions who escaped the Baghdad Zoo during the invasion of Iraq in April 2003.

We see the bombing from the point of view of the lions. When the war started, the keepers fled the zoo, and the animals who survived the bombs suddenly found themselves free. But one of the older lions is worried about the dangers that lurk beyond the gates.

Haunting allegory. I don't know whether to cry or rage.

I'm going to get political for a second. When I was in college, the university did this public installation with little white flags planted in perfect rows in the crisp green grass. The flags stretched for acres and acres, one flag for each Iraqi civilian needlessly killed during wartime. There were thousands. Walking among the nameless dead was harrowing to say the least. That's when I lost respect for my country.

So while this haunting
I did not know this really happened. "Inspired by a True Story"

I love the art work. This is a brutal story with heart. I love that the animals tell their own story. A group of 4 Lions are in the Baghdad Zoo when the Iraq War started. The chaos in the zoo is done well in this book.

There is a scene in a palace that take my breath away with the art. I wonder if that is acurate? This is another tell showing us the horrors of War and all the casualties that happen anytime we start killing each
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most adults.
My sister is stationed in Afghanistan after having been in Iraq a couple years earlier. I send her a care package about once a month and picked this one up on a whim when I was in Barnes & Noble to grab a couple of my favorite books to fit in the latest package.

I held this graphic novel back from that mailing for a few reasons. First, I didn't want to send something with a political message without having read it first. Second, I'm always on the lookout for new books for middle school boys
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seth T.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Sometimes, out of the blue, I'll ask my fifteen-month-old daughter: "How does the lion go?" She will then muster up a metric horse-ton of ferocity a give the best little squeak of a Roar that she can manage. It's pretty thoroughly entertaining. Or at least mildly entertaining. Or at least more entertaining than Pride of Baghdad.

It's not even that there' so much anything wrong with Brian K. Vaughan's WE4. Really, the thing is just rather, well, slight. Shave off 75% of its page count and toss it
Dec 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
How did this get on a list of quality comics along with Blankets and Persepolis? This book is complete crap. The story, characters and relationships are dull, shallow and predictable and lack any complexity whatsoever. And those are the books lesser flaws. Most concerning is the translation of human gender roles as conceived by patriarchy to the animal world, thus perpetuating the idea that patriarchy, heterosexuality, and the current gender role paradigm are the "natural" order of things. (If ...more
Nicolo Yu
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This week, the American occupation of Iraq ends as the last U.S. troops withdraw and their bases are turned over to the Iraqi civilian government. This event brings back to mind Brian K. Vaughn and Niko Henrichon’s graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad.

A modern fable set at the beginning of the American led invasion of Iraq, it was inspired by a true story of the fate of the animal abandoned in an Iraqi zoo. Some of animals escaped while their caretakers fled to escape incoming American forces.

Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

I REALLY liked this graphic novel. And after Vaughan's gratingly sexist "Y: The Last Man", I thought maybe Vaughan and I were having a falling out. But this just CLICKED for me. The characters - the story - how heartbreaking it was. It does end up alluding to rape (can we ever not use that plot device) and it gets political, but I enjoyed myself f quite a lot.
This short story started off as an animal fable of Aesop.
Soon it became a holocaust story : war, struggle for survival, rape, torture and violence. Especially violence among animals.
It aims to be a parable about life during wartime.
To me, it only succeeded partially in its aim. Because even if you take away the war, the story could have been pretty much the same.
To me, it's not the masterpiece others claim it to be. It's not Maus, by far not.
Jon Nakapalau
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brian K. Vaughan shows us war from the perspective of a pride of lions who escaped from the Baghdad Zoo after a bombing raid in 2003. Questions of survival and the true meaning of freedom are examined and presented in a way that may make you reexamine your current definitions.
Chelsea 🏳️‍🌈
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who enjoys beautiful artwork and a compelling story told in the form of a graphic novel
Shelves: 2008, graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Timothy Urges
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Hwy 1” by Brian Turner comes to mind:

It begins with the Highway of Death,
with an untold number of ghosts
wandering the road at night, searching
for the way home, to Najaf, Kirkuk,
Mosul and Kanni al Saad. It begins here
with a shuffling of feet on the long road north.

This is the spice road of old, the caravan trail
of camel dust and heat, where Egyptian limes
and sultani lemons swayed in crates
strapped down by leather, where merchants
traded privet flowers and musk, aloes,
honeycombs and silk
A war story seen through the perspective of a pride of lions, two females , a male and a cub, freed from the Baghdad zoo along with most of the animals after a bombing. They make their way through the city looking for food and meet various adventures along the way. Based on true events, the lions were eventually shot by American soldiers. Sad, but a nice meditation on freedom. Beautifully illustrated in full colour.
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is my second graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughan and though the plot was weaker than Saga I loved the art and the idea. It took me by surprise(especially the ending) and I enjoyed it very much.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Teresa Jusino
Aug 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readandreviewed
I'm a sucker for three things, it seems: Brian K. Vaughn, political graphic novels, and animals. I recently picked up a beautiful looking graphic novel I happened upon in a comic book store called "Pride of Baghdad" written by Brian K. Vaughn (writer of Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, and The Escapists). Its cover has a beautiful, close-up drawing of a lion's face, and Vaughn's name graces the top. When I read the synopsis on the back - a "based on true events" telling of what the streets of ...more
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is exceptionally thought-provoking, horrific, beautiful and enlightening all at once. I need to think how to say everything I feel about it so I'll probably update my review tomorrow for this, but suffice to say one of the most moving Graphic Novels I have read ever. If you've not read it, read it! It's beautifully illustrated and truly devastating too. Everything you could want. 5*s of course. More thoughts and a more concise review to follow soon!
4 Stars!

There were tears, I won't lie!
Sadly, Pride Of Baghdad just didn't work for me and is the first disappointing book i've read by Brian K. Vaughan, one of my favourite writers.

In 2003, four lions escaped Baghdad Zoo during the USA's bombing of Iraq. Vaughan and artist Niko Henrichon embellish the tale, but despite the relatively short length it's a fairly tedious read. The various animals in the book were given very human-sounding voices that contradicted their animalistic nature.

The book also falls short thematically. The
Adult comic book. Powerful, moving, harsh reality about war. Wonderfully done.
Alex Telander
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for my girlfriend’s birthday. She loves animals, especially lions and other felines.
And she likes reading graphic novels and has enjoyed everything she’s read from Brian K. Vaughan. So when I came across this book, I knew I had to get it for her.

She read it and enjoyed it. Now I’ve read it. And I enjoyed it too. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, but to be honest not many books are. This would have been a great and thought provoking story if they had used real people, in
CH _Kenya  Walker
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Pride of Bagdad is the first graphic novel that I read of it's kind. It begins with an explosion that destroys a zoo in Bagdad and leaves the animals free to roam about lost and confused. Told completely through the eyes of a group of hungry and confused lions this book takes you on an adventure as these lion's hunt for food, try to stay alive and try to deal with escaping from captivity. The element of personification is very prevelant in this story as the lion's go through a range of human ...more
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is about a family of four lions who escape the Baghdad Zoo during the American bombing of Iraq. Safa, an older female was once free but prefers a life of captivity and the security and food it provides. She feels loyalty to the keepers. Noor, mother of the cub Ali, wants to fight for freedom but doesn't understand its true cost. Zill, the adult male, doesn't feel strongly one way or the other. He simply wants to protect his family but captivity has made him soft. All will find that freedom ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
As a fan of Saga, I felt obligated to read this sometime. This is a quick read, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. Putting lions in the place of humans experiencing the consequences of war is an interesting tactic. Often you associate stories with talking animals with kids but this is so far from a kids book. It takes the whole "walking in someone else's' shoes" to a new level. It's hard for Westerners to imagine how it is to live in such a war torn area, but how about some zoo animals? ...more
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Brian K. Vaughan is the writer and co-creator of comic-book series including SAGA, PAPER GIRLS, Y THE LAST MAN, RUNAWAYS, and most recently, BARRIER, a digital comic with artist Marcos Martin about immigration, available from their pay-what-you-want site

BKV's work has been recognized at the Eisner, Harvey, Hugo, Shuster, Eagle, and British Fantasy Awards. He sometimes writes
“There's an old saying, Zill. Freedom can't be given, only earned.” 5 likes
“I hope there are other animals my age out there. I always wanted to kill a baby goat!” 0 likes
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