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New AHRC film looks ahead to the 2014 WW1 commemorations

Date: 02/08/2013

In August 2014, candlelit vigils will be held across Britain to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

With the anniversary just a year away, a new film by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), is shining a light on a fascinating research project that reveals how long-forgotten comic strips from 1914-18 contributed to the origins of modern international popular culture – both military and civilian.

Professor Jane Chapman and her team of researchers at the University of Lincoln are uncovering comics from the UK, Europe, Commonwealth countries, the USA, and exploring their unique depiction of epic events of the First World War and their influence on the public consciousness and cultural heritage.

Examining attitudes to war as expressed through comics strips, as well as the various national, political and social tensions they conveyed, the researchers are uncovering the kind of views that comics offer in specific aspects of world war history. These sources can show a unique form of insight into depictions of heroes, enemy and victims.

Amateur cartoon artists in the trenches had to beg and borrow paper; iodine and paint brushes, normally used by medics for wounds, were sometimes used to create comic strip colour. Professor Chapman adds: these popular communications were the armed forces Great War equivalent of today's mobile phone citizens' journalism.

Professor Chapman says: The harsh realities of trench warfare create a poignancy of humour through pain: ordinary people, including soldiers were producing their own newspapers, and some were creating early comic strips when they were surrounded by suffering and death threatened.

The AHRC's film offers a glimpse ahead to 2014 which will see Professor Chapman and her teams curate a major exhibition of WW1 comics at the Cartoon Museum in London, and a further on exhibition on WW2 comics follows in 2015.

Watch the AHRC's film on Comics and World Wars

'An amateur newspaper from the trenches, produced as citizen journalism in 1918 : the artist changes opinion about the War experience after he receives his de-mob notice.'

Courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

Note to editors:

For further information, please contact: Emi Spinner, AHRC: 01793 416020 e.spinner@ahrc.ac.uk

For images, quotes or interviews please contact Prof. Chapman: jachapman@lincoln.ac.uk, tel. 07899955585.

  • More information on can be found on the University of Lincoln website
  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to the AHRC Website.
  • The University of Lincoln is a research-based university with quality teaching and excellent career prospects for its graduates. Academics and students at the University carry out major research for the benefit of society across a wide range of areas, and a business ethos pervades the entire range of programmes, from science and technology courses to arts and humanities, with emphasis placed on ensuring that what our students learn is up-to-date, research-informed and relevant to employers.
    Opened by Her Majesty The Queen, the University's main campus in Lincoln was the first new city centre campus to be built in the UK for decades. More than £140 million has been invested in the stunning Brayford Pool campus that has transformed a city centre brownfield site, revitalised the area and attracted investment from the retail, leisure and property sectors.

Details of Copyright for images appearing in the film.

  • 00.02 Female leg, dachshund, written pages – from Saunders, Andy (2004) Jane A Pin-Up at War, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Leo Cooper.
  • 00.05 Wonder Woman – Caption: Wonder Woman saves a US Air Force pilot from certain doom! From Sensation Comics #1, 1942.Publisher: DC Comics,
  • 00.06 Colour comic strip, little girl's face, boy on swing – p. 7 Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2008) Parolles D'Etoiles: Mémoires d'enfants caches, 1939-1945, Soleil Productions
  • 00.08 Outline man with rifle – Journal cover of Australian Journal of Communication, Vol. 39 (3) 2012. The University of Queensland
  • 1.08 Semi naked prisoner with hoe over shoulder, camp guard with rifle – Unpublished manuscript: ‘To those who laughed’, by William Foster Norton Churchill illustrated by R.W.E. Harper. Cambridge University Library, Smuts Librarian for South Asian & Commonwealth Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 1.16 Cover of The Anzac Book – Men of Anzac (2010) The Anzac Book, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  • 1.46 Pages, single panel, silhouette of man. Page 25 Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2008) Parolles D'Etoiles: Mémoires d'enfants caches, 1939-1945, Soleil Productions.
  • 2.25 Hand drawn cartoons of soldiers, shaking hands, digging, running etc. – from the trench publication Ca Ne Fait Rien held at the Australian War Memorial Research Centre
  • 2.35 Man with rifle, ‘the ideal’ and ‘the real’ p. 13 Men of Anzac (2010) The Anzac Book, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia War Memorial.
  • 3.04 Monochrome comic strip, including image of man in the middle panel- p. 25Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2008) Parolles D'Etoiles: Mémoires d'enfants caches, 1939-1945, Soleil Productions.
  • 3.08 Man on a cross – cigarette cards by Raemaeker – War Reserve Collection, Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DR. Tel: 01223 765690
  • 3.20 Almost naked Jane ‘Hey fellows! Look who’s here!!!’ Saunders, Andy (2004) Jane A Pin-Up at War, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Leo Cooper.
  • 3.21 Page in a book ‘Jane’s journal by Pett’(as above)
  • 3.25 Page of b & w Jane comic strips Saunders, Andy (2004) Jane A Pin-Up at War, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Leo Cooper.
  • 3.29 Jane: A Pin Up at War – book cover and half a picture of back of red headed girl, Wanda's head. Saunders, Andy (2004) Jane A Pin-Up at War, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Leo Cooper.
  • For Wanda B and W: National Library of Australia; Wanda colour images: National Archives of Australia, John Ryan Collection.
  • 3.33 Fuzzy comic strip in colour, Wanda and soldier National Archives of Australia, The John Ryan Collection, see above
  • 3.36 Comic strip in colour, 3 panels, Wanda on a rope National Archives of Australia, The John Ryan Collection
  • 3.40 Sailor grabbing Wanda From: Shiell, A (ed)(1998), Bonzer: Australian comics 1900-1990, Victoria: Elgua Media, pp. 69-80
  • 5.39 Vertical comic strip, ‘ways to catch Darlans’!! - Daily Worker (UK) 14th December 1942 p. 2 People's Press Printing Society,
  • 5.44 Tiny colour cartoons, mainly death, cigarette cards Raemaeker – War Reserve Collection, Cambridge University Library
  • 5.46 Comic cartoon of soldiers gathered round Christmas box – The picture is by David Barker, Xmas Day in Gallipoli (1915), unnumbered page on the back of contents page in Men of Anzac (2010) The Anzac Book, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
  • 5.55 Front cover of Parolles D'Etoiles, yellow with little girl – Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2009) Parolles d'etoiles Mémoires d’enfants cachés, 1939-1945, Librio, Paris
  • 6.05 Picture –mother and daughter looking at each other p. 7Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2008) Parolles D'Etoiles: Mémoires d'enfants caches, 1939-1945, Soleil Productions ,
  • 6.12 Mother and daughter in photographer's studio comic strip, (As above)
  • 6.19 Little girl's face, yellow background, cover of Parolles D'Etoiles Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2009) Parolles d'etoiles Mémoires d'enfants cachés, 1939-1945, Librio, Paris, see page 1
  • 6.23 Little pictures, soldiers in winter cigarette cards by Raemaeker – War Reserve Collection, Cambridge University Library
  • 6.36 ‘To those who laughed’ front page Unpublished manuscript: ‘To those who laughed’, by William Foster Norton Churchill illustrated by R.W.E. Harper. CUL.
  • 6.38 Man in cell laughing, (as above)
  • 6.41 Turning pages and b & w cartoon of ‘The Wanda Comic’, Wanda standing at the side as men fight. National Library of Australia (1984)
  • 6.54 Soldier in snow cigarette card by Raemaeker – War Reserve Collection, Cambridge University Library
  • 6.56 Detail of the cover of the Anzac book Cover of The Anzac Book – Men of Anzac (2010) The Anzac Book, University of New South Wales
  • 6.58 Wonder woman – same as above, p. 1
  • 6.59 Little girl on yellow background cover of Parolles D'Etoiles Guéno, Jean-Pierre & Le Tendre, Serge (2009) Parolles d'etoiles Mémoires d'enfants cachés, 1939-1945, Librio, Paris,

 

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