DMZ, by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli, is a comic book series from 2005 which recently (2014) has been published in collection form. The series works with the premise that the much anticipated Second U.S. Civil War occurs, and the battle line is drawn through New York City, transforming the island of Manhattan into a war zone. The chief protagonist is an embedded journalist who ends up stranded there and learns how to survive, and even thrive, in a very dangerous environment.

Published at the height of the Iraq War, the comic depicts war devastation like that which occurred in Baghdad, but happening in New York. The violence is sometimes spectacular, as shock and awe is visited upon an iconic American city, inviting the reader to indulge in a little schadenfreude - see, it can happen to you, America. But it is also sometimes gritty and personal, as the characters navigate the precarious social order of neighborhoods turned armed camps, perpetually under siege. A pervasive theme is that despite the extraordinary difficulties of survival in wartime, life goes on.

Not much background is given on the overall war. There is only a vague narrative of Middle America rising up and pushing the borders of its new Free State up to the west bank of the Hudson river. Presumably, if this is a red zone-blue zone war, then the Free State Armies are the red zone, and what is left of the U.S. of A. is the blue zone. But it's not likely that the factions within the United States will resolve their differences through conventional warfare. Rather, their conflict is unfolding in the context of the nation-state transforming into the market-state.


Give Me Liberty E Unus Pluribum
The Red-Blue Wars End of a Nation-State
Like to fantasize about the break-up of the United States? Try these scenarios.

This page copyright Steve Barrera 2014