Read Joshua Dysart & Alberto Ponticelli’s Living Level-3: Iraq Comic

In December 2014, comic book writer Joshua Dysart traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan a few months after the rise of ISIS a.k.a. Da’esh. The purpose of Dysart’s trip was to get a first hand look at the mounting humanitarian crisis. In conjunction with the World Food Programme, Dysart conceived a comic about the displaced civilians in Iraq and Syria, as well as the struggle to bring them food and security.

Via the Huffington Post, Dysart wrote “I immersed myself as much as I could in the world of my WFP guides and the people they serve. I traveled from Erbil to Dahouk to the Turkish border, then on to the edge of the Syrian border and back again, skirting Mosul for reasons both obvious and tragic. I would see thousands of Syrians and Iraqis who had lost everything. They were Muslims and Christians and Yazidis, Arabs and Kurds, mothers and sons and daughters and fathers. I would be welcomed without fail into their shipping containers, half-constructed malls and hastily built camp shelters they now called home. I would be told a hundred stories of loss.”

Dysart added that “the comic that came from that trip will be published on The WorldPost over the next four days, a chapter a day, thirty-five pages in all, and while it’s technically fiction, it’s all also true.”

The first two chapters of the comic, Living Level-3 have been posted. And while the main story is a fictionalized account of a humanitarian aid worker named Leila, the second chapter is solely the tale of a man named Khalad and his wife Hakima, former residents of Sinjar village. With the advance of Da’esh, Khalad and Hakima lose everything they have, including their children Naser and Shereen, as well as any hope that they had left. But circumstances arise that offer Khalad and Hakima a slim chance to reunite with their children.

The artist for Living Level-3 is Alberto Ponticelli, with colors by Pat Masioni, and letters by Thomas Mauer. The comic was conceived by Gioacchino Gargano, and created by Dysart, Jonathan Dumont, Joshua Dysart & WFP. The project was edited by Dysart and Robert Napton.

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Click over to the next page for the conclusion of Living Level-3 Chapter 2:

Photo Credits: World Food Programme