06.2) War Comics set in WW II-Modern Age


The Modern Age of Comic Books is more or less from the 1980s to the present. The quantity of comics set in WW II in the Modern Age is less than the Silver Age of Comics. However, the quality of Modern Age WW II war comics is far higher than during the Silver Age.

Berlin #1 by Jason Lutes deals with Berlin in the period just before WW II. This is a collection of small stories that the reader already knows will culminate in the biggest story in the history of the world i.e. WW II. There is an Upstairs, Downstairs aspect to Berlin as the comic book shifts from a conversation by Hitler in issue 17 to a sailor trying to cheer up a Jewish friend with a jig in issue 18.

Berlin – The Seven Dwarves (Cinebooks) has detailed art and follows the story of GIs during WW II.

 

Dogs of War (Scholastic) includes three stories about three different dogs set in three different wars including WW II.

Garth Ennis is THE Modern Age WW II writer and has written the following WW II comic books Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Vertigo), Adventures in the Rifle Brigade: Operation Bollock (Vertigo), Battlefields (Dynamite), the Unknown Soldier V3 (Vertigo), War Story (Avatar), War Stories (Vertigo), and World of Tanks (Dark Horse).

The first war comics of Garth Ennis are Adventures in the Rifle Brigade (Vertigo) and Adventures in the Rifle Brigade: Operation Bollock have a unit of misfits trying to find one of Hitler’s testicles. The Rifle Brigade was edgy dark humor for comic books when the series came out but has not aged well. The characterization is too broad for adults and too dark for children. The fact that the old tired Dirty Dozen trope is being used yet again doesn’t help.

Battlefields (Dynamite) uses indirect, understated characterization to explore the dynamics of interesting characters in interesting situations as shown in Battlefields – Night Witches #1.

The same character reappears in the last series Battlefields – Motherland #1 and has changed dramatically since her first appearance in Night Witches.

Garth Ennis takes an interesting character and makes the character even more interesting in Unknown Soldier V3 #1 (Vertigo).

War Story (Avatar), War Stories (Vertigo) and World of Tanks cover a lot of the same territory and are not as good as the stories in Battlefields.

Japan may or may not have a huge library of war comics in Japanese dealing with WW II but this series of articles limits itself to material that has been published in English. Message to Adolf by Osamu Tezuka follows the lives of three men named Adolf including Adolf Hitler.

Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa deals with the aftermath of Hiroshima. The author of the comic book is a Hiroshima survivor.

Maus (Penguin Press) by Art Spiegelman is about The Holocaust and is generally considered one of the top five comic books ever created.

Operation: Broken Wings, 1936 (Boom) is an espionage thriller set in pre WW II.

Pin-up (Dargaud) is a Euro-comic that uses detailed art and intricate plot lines related to various GI flyers in WW II except for the last volume which is about the Cold War. There is also a subplot about Pin-Up gal back in the US that acts as a model for a comic book strip called Poison Ivy. The Poison Ivy model resembles Bettie Page.

Star Spangled War Stories V2 (DC) introduced G. I. Zombie.

The Pacific Air Farce (Bamboo) uses cartoon art to look at WW II using dark humor.

 

Wayne Vansant has written and illustrated several books set in WW II including Bombing Nazi Germany, Knights of the Skull – Battle Group Peiper (Caliber), Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, and The Battle of the Bulge.

 

World War 2 Tales (Chester the Crab’s) is a graphic novel designed to teach students about WW II.

Next 07) War Comics set in the Korean War

War Comics

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