Comics and World Wars: A Cultural Record
This 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’.