George’s Vietnam Story, Part I

2010 April 9
by Eve Gilbert

When I was still at Hunter College, working on my BA in History, I had this idea that when I graduated I would write a comic about people’s lives in history. I was torn between doing stories from the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, two subjects that are recent enough for a lot of the participants to still be alive. When I met George Ryan and found out he was a Vietnam vet, I knew I had met my first interview. For one, George is the coolest guy ever, one of those people you feel comfortable enough with to ask some intimate questions. He’s also a funny guy and I like the way he talks. After George, I’ve interviewed a couple of other veterans. Unfortunately, the process of drafting and drawing the comics takes so long—especially since I have pesky other duties like earning a living that suck up my time—that I’m still working on veteran number two’s story, a Florida ex-marine sergeant named Scott Camil. So far all my guys are hippie anti-war guys, so I need a right-winger to show another side of the picture. I am also looking for tunnel rats—the guys who went on underground search-and-destroy missions. Eventually, I want to finish a book of these stories, using different mediums and styles for different stories. What I also need is a few stories of Vietnamese people, since they are the ones most affected by the war. So I am planning on traveling to Vietnam and interviewing some ex-soldiers, both VC and ARVN and civilians. Anyway, it all started with my first veteran, George Ryan—in my book, undoubtedly a hero.

[This is Part 1 of a 2-part series, to be continued next week—ed.]

To be continued next week…

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