The Civil War we read about in school is a straightforward affair: North versus South, slave-holders versus the Emancipation Proclamation. What gets lost in this broad strokes approach is the fact that there were true believers and opportunists on both sides. There were deserters, doctors, and total fools. There were as many stories from the Civil War as there were soldiers and civilians and slaves who suffered through it.
In 2008, two comic book veterans, Chuck Dixon and Gary Kwapisz, found a common desire to publish "entertaining, historically accurate graphic novels set against the background of American history." This idea resulted in Civil War Adventure, a graphic novel anthology series that tells the story of the Civil War from as many points of view as possible. Some of the stories are fictional, others are drawn directly from private letters about the war: pro-slavery bushwhackers and anti-slavery jayhawkers both terrorize Bleeding Kansas, bored soldiers duel across no man's land, a nurse keeping a dying soldier alive long enough to dictate a letter home for him, black Union troops face their first battle. And nearly every story will reveal some hidden facet of the War Between the States you never knew existed.
Unable to get a publisher interested in Civil War Adventure, Dixon and Kwapisz founded their own company, History Graphics Press. Going the independent route allowed them to put the book they envisioned and work with a variety of artists. Also, if you order directly from the publisher, the books come signed with a sketch.
There's an incredible variety of stories in Civil War Adventure--some are funny, some are ghoulish, and some are will make you choke up. But every one shows the complexity of the supposedly cut-and-dried war we thought we knew.
(Cross-posted on my blog.)