The Sheriff of Babylon (2015 - 2016)

Dated Apr 15, 2023; last modified on Sat, 29 Jul 2023

The Sheriff of Babylon. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . . . 2015.


KING. I decided to do something set during my time at Baghdad. In terms of goals,I wanted to write something that wasn’t political or didn’t feel like homework, that wasn’t about whether it was good or bad to be there; I just wanted to write about what it was like to be actually there then.

Most comic book writers I’ve encountered have been anti-war. King is different in this sense.

CHRISTOPHER. [BANG.] Stop! Goddamn – God-dammit, fuck! Stop! STOP! [BANG.] She wasn’t doing anything. You don’t have to. Stop. I’m just trying – [BANG.]

Second time encountering the ambiguous citizen in a foreign army’s base. In Y: The Last Man , they hesitated and the pregnant woman turned out to be a suicide bomber, cementing Alter’s pro-war stance.

MAN. The truck is mine. My wife has no food, my children have no food. I will feed them with the truck. Some American whore will not change me on this.
SAFFIYA. I understand. But I think you have something confused. This “American whore,” I mean really. That is not right, is it? My grandfather was a great leader of Iraq. He founded the Baath party with Saddam, turning Iraq into something proud. Saddam killed him, of course, and my father, and the rest of the family. Leaving only me in some school in America. Watching it on the TV. For twenty years then, I worked to convince America to take this country. To let me return to my people. I gave myself for this. And they took it. And now I have Iraq. So a whore, then? Yes, I think so. But not American. There is also some more confusion. I did not come here to ask for the truck. I already have the truck. And your cousin, Ali, who helped, who drove? He is dead. And your little brother, Farid, he was the one who told us where the truck is, he is also dead. Oh, and your older brother, Hassan, the fat one. I almost forgot. Him, as well. Your wife and children are fine, of course. I have them. I will keep them safe. I hope that is some comfort. [BANG.] [BANG.] You should be comforted. At least they did not have to watch it on the TV. [BANG.]

NASSIR. I pray, Fatima, but I do not believe God listens. I follow Muhammad, but I do not know where he has walked.
FATIMA. You are saying these things to put it off, my flower. But you cannot put it off. It is here.
NASSIR. I am the servant of our great leader, Saddam Hussein. But where is our great leader, Saddam Hussein? I am a servant of America, our savior. But where is America, our savior?
FATIMA. Enough of this, husband. Go and do what you will do.
NASSIR. I am police, a man of the law, but there is no law. Fine.

AMERICAN DIPLOMAT. Yes, I believe the soldiers involved with Alla Al Sagar. We reviewed this incident on the 8th of July, I have said, yes? Very sad.
HASSAN. Ah, this is why the interest. I mean, how old was that poor girl these soldiers found? And what was done to her. Tsk. Tsk. The Americans do not worry about Saddam’s people anymore. They worry now about the others who see the things they have done and try to respond.

NASSIR. But the problem here is that the cut is on the wrong side, no? This man here is cut left to right; the man in your video is right to left. So I do not think it can be the same man. […]
CHRISTOPHER. We never did our own autopsies in the States. I don’t think I could tell which way a man was cut.
NASSIR. I cannot tell a cut, which way it is. I can tell when two Iraqi men are not the same Iraqi man. But will the soldier listen about this? I do not know, but I know he watches CSI like everyone. So I say the cut instead of the face.

SAFFIYA. It is a negotiation. Between myself and some Shia leaders over the telecom contract the Americans are handing out. It’s all a farce, really. They will threaten and whine. I will threaten and whine. Then we will agree to each buy 40 percent in each other’s business. Then, when all is done, we present the Americans with two proposals. Two fine competing offers. Then whoever they accept… Well, it is a fun farce at least.

TRAINER. Your man was killed, yes? Trouble, yes? These are men. Like your man. Boys. They are trying to live fine. They don’t want to be involved in this trouble, so they don’t answer some questions, maybe. I don’t know. But I know not answering, not having trouble. This is not lying. This is telling the truth.

NASSIR. Ah, to be a Sunni cop. Eh? Every case is the same. Find the right sheikh, let him bring you a man, bring that man to your boss. If the man is not connected to Saddam, he is your man. If he is connected, ask the sheikh for another man.

SAFFIYA. Saffiya was a princess. A jew, actually. Daughter of the king and married to the sheriff of the tribe. One day, she lay down to sleep and she dreamt of the moon. She saw it coming closer. Falling. Falling… Falling… Until she seemed to be holding the moon in her hands. When she woke, she told her husband of her dream. He said it meant she wished to marry his enemy, the prophet Muhammad, praised be his name. In anger, he struck her. On her face. Here. On the cheek. And then the prohet came. Muhammad came to their kingdom, his sword raised. He killed her father. He captured her husband, then killed him as well. After this, the prophet called for the princess, this girl. Only sixteen or seventeen. He said to her,: “Choose. Follow your kin into the sand or follow me into the embrace of the one true God. She chose God, of course. Right there. And they were married. She was Saffiya, she was the wife of the prophet, he listened to her, she became perhaps one of the greatest woman ever to live. A woman blessed later to save the prophet from near death. My mother named me after her. Americans made it “Sofia” after I was kept there. After Saddam murdered my family. But it was Saffiya. The princess who dreamed of the moon.

FATIMA. But for me, you have to understand, with Saddam, we could never get batteries. The sanctions from America stopped the batteries. And all I wanted was batteries. I didn’t like Saddam. I agreed with America. One-hundred percent. Then why couldn’t I have batteries? Is this justice, America? No, no, no.

COMMANDO. What… What? Where’s the gun? Where’s the gun? Where’s the gun… Where’s the gun… There’s a gun… I saw… Where’s the gun… Where’s the fucking gun?! Why are there so many scarves?!

HASSAN. Sometimes I think America is the only God whose will we must care about. With America, you can make the sky rain fire. You can move a man who will not move, just by pointing a finger.
SAFFIYA. The Americans have the most guns, Hassan. Having guns does not make you God.
HASSAN. I do not know, flower. What is and what is not God? What is a son of a tea boy to say about such things?
SAFFIYA. Hassan, you are one of the heirs to the Kurdish empire. Your father was no tea boy.
HASSAN. When I am with the Americans, I feel as Muhammad felt, I think. Sitting in Medina, looking two hundred miles across the sand to his home, his land. “There is Mecca, my Lord! Give it to me!"
SAFFIYA. This is not Koran.
HASSAN. Eh, Koran is what the commentators say it is. An imam told this to me when I was very young. Then he hit me across the face, so it must be true.

FRANKLIN. After a few months, she asked you to help her get information. Targets, places that would help in the case of invasion. You helped her, providing GPS for coordinates for several locations. Security installations, the houses of Saddam’s people. Locations you knew through guard duty you’d done on occassion. Ms. Aqani put your house on a list, places not meant to be bombed. Safe places we were to look out for. However, due to a bureaucratic problem in Washington… Your house was confused with some targets you had gotten. Resulting in the house being bombed when the coalition forces invaded Baghdad.

SAFFIYA. Hundreds of years ago, there was a Muslim who wanted to join Christianity and he told his Christian friend he was converting and his first act of converting was to go to Rome, the capital of the Christians. The friend was upset. He knew the capital was full of sin. Priests fucking each other. Fighting each other. Blood, sex. Everywhere. All the sins of Babylon. When the convert returned, the friend expected him to recant his conversion. The friend greeted the convert and expected this. But the convert said, “No, no, no. My faith is all the stronger now!” The friend was surprised. And he asked how this could be. And the convert said: “Any religion, anything, that still has believers in a land such as this… Well, this… This thing must be true."


  1. The Sheriff of Babylon #1. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Dec 2, 2015. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  2. The Sheriff of Babylon #2. The Things They Left Behind. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Jan 6, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  3. The Sheriff of Babylon #3. Here's Looking at You. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Feb 3, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  4. The Sheriff of Babylon #4. The Dream and the Desert. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Mar 2, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  5. The Sheriff of Babylon #5. From the Cradle. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Apr 6, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  6. The Sheriff of Babylon #6. God Shed His Grace on Thee. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . May 4, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  7. The Sheriff of Babylon #8. Let Us Go. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Jul 6, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.
  8. The Sheriff of Babylon #12. Jim from Ops. Tom King; Mitch Gerads. . Nov 2, 2016. Accessed Apr 15, 2023.