Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Joe Bonham Project

What is the Joe Bonham Project? It is a group of illustrators dedicated to recording the faces and experiences of America's returning wounded warriors.

Who is Joe Bonham? Joe Bonham is the central character in Dalton Trumbo's 1938 novel Johnny Got His Gun. The WWI doughboy, Joe Bonham, somewhere in the meat grinder of the Western Front, was horribly wounded by the blast of an artillery round. All that remains of Joe is his conscious humanity and the absolute minimum of bodily functions to support awareness. He has no face, eyes, ears, mouth, arms, legs or genitalia. Joe simply is.

Through the pages of Johnny Got His Gun we follow Joe as he becomes aware of the extent of his injuries, grapples with the pure existential horror of these realizations and miraculously begins to reach back out into the world of his fellow man. Long before Dr. Elizabeth Kuble-Ross articulated and popularized the grief cycle, Dalton Trumbo's Joe Bonham walks us from denial to acceptance.

Joe's ultimate goal is to have himself placed in a glass box and toured around the country as a living example of the reality of war, and the victorious transcendence of the human spirit. His wish is denied, and Joe is ingloriously spirited away to live out his days alone and forgotten.

With the Joe Bonham Project we will keep the dedication, sacrifices and indomitable spirit of our wounded warriors present and accounted for.


  1. Mike -- This is a powerful beginning. Anyway that I can be involved and help, please let me know. -- Tara Tappert

  2. Amazing. This is a touching and well deserved project. Thank you for starting this.