Tag Archives: Wilfred Owen

Trench poetry collection cements comics’ dedication to WW1 authenticity

The reality of war: This forthcoming collection, adapting World War One poetry into comics form, might teach Michael Gove a thing or two about factual accuracy.

The reality of war: This forthcoming collection, adapting World War One poetry into comics form, might teach Michael Gove a thing or two about factual accuracy.

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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Michael Gove highlights his own lies; Tony Robinson is right

Left-wing propaganda piece? Sir Tony Robinson (right) with Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder Goes Forth.

Left-wing propaganda piece? Sir Tony Robinson (right) with Rowan Atkinson in Blackadder Goes Forth.

A new development has occurred in the story of Michael Gove’s attempt to rewrite the history of World War One as a glorious display of “patriotism, honour and courage”.

This blog took Gove to task after he attacked one of Britain’s best TV comedies, Blackadder Goes Forth, for perpetuating “myths” about the conflict.

Now Sir Tony Robinson, who played Baldrick in the much-loved series, has weighed in to warn Gove against attacking teachers.

He told Sky News: “It’s not that Blackadder teaches children the First World War.

“When imaginative teachers bring it in, it’s simply another teaching tool; they probably take them over to Flanders to have a look at the sights out there, have them marching around the playground, read the poems of Wilfred Owen to them. And one of the things that they’ll do is show them Blackadder.

“And I think to make this mistake, to categorise teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful. And I think it’s particularly unhelpful and irresponsible for a minister in charge of education.”

Sir Tony added that it was “just another example of slagging off teachers.” He said, “I don’t think that’s professional or appropriate.”

Gove appears not to have the wit to answer on his own behalf. Instead a spokesman plunged him even further in the mire with the following: “Tony Robinson is wrong. Michael wasn’t attacking teachers, he was attacking the myths perpetuated in Blackadder and elsewhere.

“Michael thinks it is important not to denigrate the patriotism, honour and courage demonstrated by ordinary British soldiers in the First World War.”

Oh really? It’s fortunate Gove’s own words are available to be examined then, isn’t it?

In his Daily Mail article on Thursday, he wrote the following: “The conflict has, for many, been seen through the fictional prism of dramas such as Oh, What a Lovely War!, The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder, as a misbegotten shambles – a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite.

Here’s the juicy bit: “Even to this day there are left-wing academics” – in other words, teachers – “all too happy to feed those myths.”

Case proven. Gove is a liar, and he is trying to promote the teaching of lies to children.

Still, he has a vested interest in replacing history with propaganda. Imagine what his own entry in the history books will be. Something like: “In the wake of the financial crisis, the Conservative Party tried to win electoral victory by blaming the disaster on financial mismanagement by the then-ruling Labour Party. When this, and a pledge not to interfere with the National Health Service, failed to inspire the electorate, Tory leader David Cameron seized power in a backdoor deal with the Liberal Democrats, led by Nick Clegg – a man who was to become little more than a puppet in Cameron’s hands. Once installed in Number 10, the tyrant set his lieutenants to work: Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt turned the health service over to private hands. Iain Duncan Smith made benefit claims impossible to sustain, driving thousands of claimants to destitution and death. And Michael Gove reduced the education system to a means of indoctrinating the nation’s young with pre-approved disinformation designed to make them compliant fodder for the new corporatist state.”

… and that doesn’t even begin to describe the Betrayal of Britain that started in 2010!

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