You know what’s hard? Comedy.
I have a lot of respect for the writers of comedy, and especially those that have had to tackle hard topics such as war in their comedy. The writers of the famous TV show “M*A*S*H” did it well, and probably handled it the best. “M*A*S*H” is known for its comedy about war but it also tackled some hard times. The death of Colonel Henry Blake in a pointless off-camera attack let the audience know that while “M*A*S*H” was comedy, it wasn’t going to make war look fun and harmless.
Other episodes followed– the weird “dream sequence” episode, where characters confronted dreams about their fears and losses, the episode where the Army public affairs teams wanted to make a movie about the doctors at the war, which was supposed to be a patriotic show of support called “Yankee Doodle Doctor” but Hawkeye turned into a soliloquy about how each kid that ends up on the operating table loses something of himself.
Other war comedies followed. “Life is Beautiful” in 1997 was a comedy about a father trying to protect his son from the horrors of the Holocaust. More recently, “Jojo Rabbit” tackled childhood indoctrination into the hate of the Third Reich; the classic war comedy “Kelly’s Heroes” didn’t flinch from showing people getting killed in World War Two.
There are many examples of war comedy but in the end they all shared the same thing: at some point, in a war comedy, you have to confront the war part.
I always knew that somewhere along this journey some characters would die and some would be left permanently disfigured. To pretend this never happens does a disservice to not just the story and the characters, but to the real-world people who suffered in the conflict. Making war look like a fun adventure with no consequences does no one any favors, and as hard as it is to see characters go, it is even harder to think of the actual people that have gone in these conflicts.
We all left a part of ourselves in that foreign sand. Blood, tears, and body parts all soaked into that faraway land, and towards the end it was an experience we shared with the Iraqi soldiers who fought by our side, trying to build a better home for themselves from the chaos. In this way, some of us are blood brothers (even blood sisters) with those people. We all know, or at least know of, someone who didn’t come back from that war– either some of their bodies or their minds never completely came home.
So in this final scene, not everyone is dead; an anonymous platoon member is beginning to bandage Alvarez, for example. But Joe and his immediate circle has been pretty lucky during their years in Iraq, facing combat and sometimes death; the death of people that they knew but weren’t necessarily very close to. Now they won’t all get to go home as hoped.
It should, by now, come as no surprise that BOHICA Blues is going to wind down and come to a conclusion. I will produce an “epilogue” comic to be released in a few days, probably the 22nd. I am a writer that likes having an end to stories; I am not a fan of flogging things along just for the sake of doing so. This has been a six and a half year journey putting a humorous interpretation of a Reserve forces soldier from an regular town going to a crazy world.
Is BOHICA Blues done forever? No, I will probably still have ideas float to the top of my mind that I can’t wait to put to paper in the future. But the regularly-scheduled Monday and Thursday updates will be done, and I will post new comics when the mood strikes. I will also produce a spin-off comedy that focuses on the secret lives of the dogs that I introduced in the comic as well. But I have plans for other comics entirely, such as a science-fiction action-adventure series that is a reboot of an earlier work I did in the 1990’s. It will be much more of a serious drama, rather than a comedy.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting BOHICA Blues back in November of 2013, it is that… comedy is hard.
Take care out there, watch each others’ backs, and stay tuned for the epilogue. Thanks for your support over the years and I would be nowhere without you.