Additional Book Information
Series: New York Review Comics
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
by Dash Shaw
CHOSEN AS ONE OF THE BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS OF 2021 BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE GUARDIAN, AND THE GLOBE AND MAIL
During the Civil War, many Quakers were caught between their fervent support of abolition, a desire to preserve the Union, and their long-standing commitment to pacifism. When Charles Cox, a young Quaker from Indiana, slips out early one morning to enlist in the Union Army, he scandalizes his family and his community.
Leaving behind the strict ways of Quaker life, Cox is soon confronted with the savagery of battle, the cruelty of the enemy (as well as of his fellow soldiers), and the overwhelming strangeness of the world beyond his home. He clings to his faith and family through letters with his sister, Fanny, who faces her own trials at home: betrayal, death, and a church that seems ready to fracture under the stress of the war.
Discipline is told largely through the letters exchanged between the Cox siblings—incorporating material from actual Quaker and soldier journals of the era—and drawn in a style that combines modern graphic storytelling with the Civil War–era battlefield illustrations of the likes of Thomas Nast and Winslow Homer. The result is a powerful consideration of faith, justice, and violence, and an American comics masterpiece.
On October 14, 2021, Dash Shaw discussed Discipline with comics critic Greg Hunter. This virtual event is part of New York Review Books’ ongoing series with Brooklyn’s Community Bookstore.
Click to enlarge images
A harrowing but nuanced Civil War epic. . . The blend of mournful and contemplative musings from Charles and Fanny, along with the raw, ugly, details of life during wartime, combine into a searingly grim yet insightful study. Shaw artfully captures the timeless crisis of idealism meeting painful reality.
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Shaw’s fluid, untethered lines rhyme with the book’s constant sense of movement as the journey of 17-year-old Charles Cox unfolds on the battlefield and beyond. The refreshingly aerated pages of Discipline often reminded me of a sketchbook: Pictures can repeat, as if they’re being worked out. . . Discipline isn’t as interested in delivering visual realism as it is in capturing the texture of emotion and feeling.
—Hillary Chute, The New York Times
Shaw . . . eschews panel-to-panel storytelling in favor of overlapping images that flow across pages redolent of an artist’s sketchbook, overlaid with text and narration.
—Anja Webb, Library Journal, starred review
A fascinating story. . . Dash tells it in an unconventional style.
—Gil Roth, The Virtual Memories Show