03) War Comics set in the American Civil War


Jonah Hex (DC) was an officer in the Confederate Army but his comic book mostly follows his adventures as a bounty hunter. I have to add that Jonah Hex is one of those rare comic book heroes that gets beat up and knocked out on a regular basis. In this sense, Jonah Hex resembles Will Eisner’s the Spirit. Jonah Hex turns himself into the Union Army because of the red clay on his boots and some detective work from a Black Union soldier, is wrongly branded as traitor to his fellow Confederate soldiers in Weird Western Tales V1 #29.

Jonah Hex then arms his fellow Confederate prisoners but this goes totally wrong as well.

Chuck Connors in the TV show Branded decided to prove his innocence in a similar situation. Jonah Hex on the other hand decides to cynically accept his lot taken on the disreputable profession of bounty hunter and thus establishes himself as DC’s foremost Western anti-hero.  Ironically, Jonah Hex ends up being actually branded, rather than figuratively branded, with the “Mark of the Demon” by Apaches in Jonah Hex V1 #8.

Jonah Hex ends up being stuffed and mounted after death in DC Special Series-Jonah Hex Spectacular V1 #16. Is this some sort of punishment for Jonah Hex choosing to be an anti-hero instead of going the Chuck Connors hero finding justice route?

Loveless (Vertigo) has another Civil War vet as an anti-hero. Wes (Wesley) Cutter returns to his hometown and shoots fellow veterans, denounces God and kicks out Union soldiers occupying not just his hometown but his front porch.

The English version of the French comic book Un chariot dans l’Ouest (Dupuis) is titled Blue Coats (Cinebook). The title has been received well and while I like the detailed and slightly panoramic art that is unusual in a juxtaposition with cartoon art but I find the humor rather crude.

Marvel comics produced a very good historical series about the American Civil War which includes Epic Battles of the Civil War 1: Bull Run, Epic Battles of the Civil War 2: Shiloh, Epic Battles of the Civil War 3: Antietam and American Civil War-Epic Battles of The Civil War 4: Gettysburg.

In my opinion the best overall documentary Civil War graphic novel is Battle Lines-A Graphic History of the Civil War (Hill and Wang) by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Author, Illustrator) and Ari Kelman.

The best graphic novel for educational purposes is The Civil War I and II (Chester) by Bentley Boyd. A more specialized Civil War read by Bentley Boyd is Civil War Confederate Leaders (Chester).

 

Wayne Vasant has created two excellent graphic novels that are more specialized reads including Grant vs Lee and The Graphic History of Gettysburg (Zenith Press).

Next 04) War Comics set in the Spanish-American War

War Comics

Advertisements