VIETNAM JOURNAL - A COMIC BOOK CREATED BY A MAN WHO LIVED IT

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Vietnam Journal Over the years I've had the privilege of interviewing a number of comic book creators from all walks of life. Some have been actors, some have been directors, and some have even been mentally ill or suffering from a debilitating illness. Today, however, I've been given the grand opportunity to interview a genuine veteran of the Vietnam War. So, without any further ado, please allow me to present to you my mate, Don Lomax, and his book...


Vietnam Journal On Amazon


1) What are your own origins, Don?   I was born in Central Illinois, circa 1944, which is a place commonly known as corn country. I've lived here, on and off, all of my 73 years, and from the looks of it, I’ll probably croak here too. Well, somebody has to.

2) What inspired you to create, ‘Vietnam Journal’?   I personally feel that this project was destined to happen. I grew up loving all comic books, including war comics like 'Sergeant Rock', 'Men at War', 'Howling Commandos', etc, so when I was drafted and sent to Vietnam in 1965, it didn’t take me long to realize that comics were fun -- yet real war wasn’t. While I was there I took notes and sketched the countryside, the people, and the events around me, thinking that if I ever achieved my dream of becoming a comic book artist I would try to tell the story of war in a more realistic way. That opportunity presented itself when Mike Catron, of Apple Comics, gave me the go ahead to create a war comic of my own.

Vietnam Journal
3) In your own words how would you describe this story?   'Vietnam Journal' is the story of a freelance Journalist, named Scott (Journal) Neithammer, who's reporting on the war for a intermittent check, on behalf of a publisher with little understanding on what the war was all about.

Sound familiar, 'Full Metal Jacket' fans? So it should, as I chose a journalist because the press during the Vietnam War had unprecedented freedom to report what was going on. They could go anywhere 'in country' and report on any action that was happening. Journal had a fondness for the average grunt in the muck and sweat, and the stories have his lowly Private’s eye view of the war.

4) What song would you say best represents this comic and why?   That is an extremely good question. Music was very important to the troops in the war. Anyone who has seen “Good Morning, Vietnam”, starring the late, great, Robin Williams, can get a feel of music's importance for the morale of the troops. 

If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend it. Personally, though, I would have to say 'Goodnight Saigon', by Billy Joel, best fits as my personal favorite.




Rip Torn
5) If you could get a celebrity – either living or dead – to promote your wares, who would you choose, and why would you want to choose this particular person?   That’s easy, Rip Torn... just take a look at my lead character to see why. When I was first devising the original series for my comic, series one, I always had these fantasies about who I would like to star in it should ever Hollywood come knocking at my door. My choice was Rip Torn.

Today he might be a little too old for the part, but then again, I’m a little too old too. 

6) What have you learnt about yourself through this endeavour?   Patience. It has been a long process, easily 30 years of hard, but satisfying work, and in some ways it has been a catharsis, keeping me relatively sane over the years. Not so for many of my brothers in arms. Since the war the suicide rate among Vietnam Veterans, among other Veterans, is much higher than the average American. I call on President Trump to look into the matter if he can tear himself away from his investigations into such pressing matters as the Obama “birther” controversy, or the millions of illegal voters, or gremlins hiding under the Lincoln bed. This matter is real and damn serious.

7) During your time in this field, what is the one thing that has kept you in good stead?   Take your malaria pill, keep your head down, your mouth shut, your canteen full, and don’t forget your condom. 

Vietnam Journal
8) If ‘Vietnam Journal’ had a motto, what would it be?   Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

On an end note, Don has informed me that while rummaging through an old trunk in his attic, he inadvertently came across a press card belonging to a man named Scott Neithammer. He believe's that the card should be returned to his daughter, Tina.  So, Tina, please feel free to contact Don on Twitter or Facebook, and he would be more than happy to return it.

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