Current research

The twentieth-century phenomenon of total war left behind many traces. From the first acts of war in 1914 and 1939 onwards, comic strips were widely produced and distributed in order to visualize the conflict, and thus also to contribute to mobilizing the public. In this way, the parties involved presented their views on the events, underlined their motives for military action and demonized their opponents to varying degrees. In neutral states as well, such combinations of texts and images expressed the positions and views of these societies. Against this background, comic strips played a major role as a means of both propaganda and entertainment.

Researcher: Prof. dr. Kees Ribbens
Intended publication: Articles
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After the two world wars, comic strip authors continued to be inspired by events and characters from the war period. In this way even post-war generations in various parts of the world became familiar with more or less factually accurate representations of the war history. Especially military events on land, at sea and in the air received a lot of attention. In more recent decades, the attention of the audience, consisting of both young and adult readers, widened up to include the Holocaust, the fate of individual victims of persecution and other civilians in comics and graphic novels.

This project examines how the world wars are represented and interpreted in the popular medium of comics, and looks into the ways in which these narratives are connected to the broader historical culture. Specific attention will be aimed at how these often nationally framed stories relate to the transnational consumption of many such comic books.