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SHOOTING WAR--Chapter 3: "Black Hawk Down"

08/28/2006 06:10 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Real life and a disastrous war continue to imitate art in this near-future webcomic...

The year is 2011. Gas prices are sky high in America, President John McCain's approval ratings are falling and the Middle East is getting bloodier by the day. As writer Anthony Lappé explains in the beginning of Chapter 3 of the near-future webcomic Shooting War, "everyone left, right, middle was screaming to get out of Iraq."

The star of Shooting War, blogging American journalist Jimmy Burns, literally lands hard when his Black Hawk gets blown out of the sky. He survives the crash and is approached by what appear to be friendly Iraqis. But it's a trick by a mysterious insurgent group that's trying to rally the warring Muslim factions into a unified front against American, British, Israeli, and Kurdish forces. The confrontation turns bloody in a hurry--and is captured live on Burns' SAT camera and uploaded to the Global News (the network so far to the right that it makes Fox look like Ned Lamont enthusiasts).

Shooting War is serialized free (and with just a couple of Google ads) on SMITH, a new online magazine about storytelling in its many shapes and forms. Dan Gillmor of the Center for Citizen Media calls Shooting War "a brilliant example of what could become a Web staple: graphic novels translated to a medium that is almost perfect for the genre. [I]t's addictive."

The webcomic is the creation of Anthony Lappé (the producer of an award-winning Showtime documentary about Iraq, BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire's Edge) and illustrator Dan Goldman (a founder of the online comic collective ACT-I-VATE). SMITH Magazine launched this webcomic and now Warner Books will be publishing a book version of Shooting War, which we expect to arrive in all its hardcover glory in late 2007. Gizmodo's new editor-in-chief, Brian Lam, recently told Time.com that "[Shooting War] shows the future of blogging as being more flowing, more conversational." I hope you'll check it out and let us know what you think, good or bad, either here or on the comments area of our site. If you're new to Shooting War, start with our intro video, which includes real audio Lappé recorded from the battlefield in Iraq and a soundtrack by DJ Spooky. SW3_2.jpg