Michael Gove won’t like what follows.
But then, he probably thinks that comics are a waste of everybody’s time; children should be too busy reciting their times tables and adults should be sweating on the fracking site or slaving at the workfarehouse. Right?
Too bad. Following on from yesterday’s Beastrabban article about the forthcoming graphic story collection To End All Wars, I got in touch with top writer Pat Mills, and he told me about a couple more World War One-related comics projects that are likely to have Mr Gove boiling in his propaganda pit.
“Above the Dreamless Dead from First Second [publisher] … features graphic adaptions of WW1 poems, including my 10-page adaption with David Hitchcock of Dead Man’s Dump [by Isaac Rosenberg],” Mr Mills told me. “Amazing art!”
You can see some of the art above – albeit only the book’s cover. The other poems are:
All the Hills and Vales Along, by Charles Sorley; adapted by Kevin Huizenga
Ancient History, by Siegfried Sassoon; adapted by Liesbeth De Stercke
At the Time of “The Breaking of the Nations,” by Thomas Hardy; adapted by Anders Nilsen
Break of Day in the Trenches, by Isaac Rosenberg; adapted by Sarah Glidden
Channel Firing, by Thomas Hardy; adapted by Luke Pearson
The Dancers, by Wilfred Wilson Gibson; adapted by Lilli Carre
Dulce et decorum est, Greater Love Hath No Man and Soldier’s Dream, by Wilfred Owen; adapted by George Pratt
The End, by Wilfred Owen; adapted by Danica Novgorodoff
Everyone Sang, by Siegfried Sassoon, and Therefore is the Name of It Called Babel, by Osbert Sitwell; adapted by Isabel Greenberg
The General, by Siegfried Sasson; adapted by Garth Ennis and Phil Winslade
Selections from The Great Push, by Patrick MacGill; adapted by Eddie Campbell
I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier, Sing Me to Sleep Where Bullets Fall and When This Bloody War Is Over; soldiers’ songs adapted by Hunt Emerson
I looked up from my work, by Thomas Hardy; adapted by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen
The Immortals by Isaac Rosenberg; adapted by Peter Kuper
Lamentations: The Coward, by Rudyard Kipling; adapted by Stephen R. Bissette
Next War, by Osbert Sitwell; adapted by Simon Gane
Peace, by Rupert Brooke; adapted by Simon Gane
A Private, by Edward Thomas, and The Question, by Wilfred Wilson Gibson; adapted by Hannah Berry
Repression of War Experience, by Siegfried Sassoon; adapted by James Lloyd
Two Fusiliers, by Robert Graves; adapted by Carol Tyler
War, by Francis Edward Ledwidge; adapted by Sammy Harkham.
Above the Dreamless Dead will be released on September 23, almost exactly 100 years after the outbreak of the hostilities that inspired its authors. First Second books can be found on the web here.
That’s not all. Pat Mills told me of another project that could leave Mr Gove frothing with jingoistic fury.
The Beast mentioned in his article yesterday that Mr Mills produced, with the late Joe Colquhoun providing the art, what’s been hailed as probably the best British war comic ever: Charley’s War. This meticulously-researched, dedicatedly pacifist story ran from 1979 to 1985 in the British weekly Battle and has now been adapted into a series of collections from Titan Books.
Now, the writer has a new project – “in Charley’s War genre” – entitled Brothers in Arms. Illustrated by his Above the Dreamless Dead collaborator David Hitchcock, the piece is currently in search of a publisher. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for it to find a home.
Comics. They might be fun for kids – but they’ll also teach Michael Gove not to mess with history.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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