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“To End All Wars” World War One anthology final cover revealed

To End All Wars Final Cover by Lizzy Waterhouse
To End All Wars Final Cover by Lizzy Waterhouse

This slipped through our radar last month – our apologies to the editorial team. It’s the finished cover for the upcoming World War One anthology To End All Wars, which will be released later this year by Soaring Penguin Press, introduced by Charley’s War co-creator Pat Mills.

Painted by Lizzy Waterhouse, it’s her first foray into any kind of comic art, and the editors take their entire hat collections off to her homage to World War One war artists. The cover is a wraparound and draws attention to the many facets that made World War One the hell on earth it should be remembered as.

A page from "Dead in the Water" for To End All Wars. Story by Ian Douglas. Art and letters by Stjepan Mihaljevic
A page from “Dead in the Water” for To End All Wars. Story by Ian Douglas. Art and letters by Stjepan Mihaljevic

The To End All Wars books covers a wide range of themes, away from the usual focus on the Western Front. “We have dramatic reconstructions of the war in the Atlantic that could have come straight out of Steve Ditko’s vault of horror” outline Jonathan and Brick on the project’s web site. “We have the story of combatants’ affection and need for pets in the trenches, related exclusively in pictures . We have the obligatory war poet’s story, but that of a Welsh hill farmer rather than some bit of posh who’s been done to death. And we have a feminist take on the controversial Mata Hari and the very personal story of an author’s search for their great grandfather’s memorial.

“We have low humour, high drama, weird fantasy, even a couple of love stories and sincere tributes. We take readers to East Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Turkey, and we are non-partisan, with narratives from the ‘other side’ of the conflict, not least that of the greatest unofficial war artist of all time.”

Edited by Jonathan Clode and John Stuart Clark (aka the artist ‘Brick’), the anthology will feature by contributors who include Brick, Jonathan Clode, Michael Crouch, Steve Martin, Sean Michael Wilson, Matt Soffe, Ian Douglas, Petri Hänninen, Sarah Jones, Bex Burgess, Chris Martinez, Stjepan Mihaljevic, SAM Richards, Lotte Grünseid , Chris Colley and Alex Wilson.

• See also: “To End All Wars” – the story behind a new World War One comic anthology

“To End All Wars”, World War One comics anthology finalized

 

 

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“To End All Wars” – the story behind a new World War One comic anthology

To End All Wars Provisional Cover
Provisional Cover for the anthology

Feature by Jonathan Clode

When the British government unveiled its plans for the centenary of the Great War last year, many of us shuddered with the expectation it would be a flag waving exercise, glossing over what Harry Patch, the last survivor of the war, called ‘organised mass murder’. Recent expressions of disdain by our Education Secretary Michael Gove have cemented the fear that the truth will be drowned in a mire of jingoism.

Over the years, comics about World War One have been few and far between. We all know Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s Charley’s War, published in Battle, and, perhaps, Jacques Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches, but in recent years little else of note has been produced. Most of my writing experience has been in anthologies, so when I expressed my concerns it was suggested I develop a World War One anthology to mark the coming centenary.

Not knowing how to go about this resulted in a handful of emails and a couple of blog posts. In a matter of days, a host of writers and artists from all over the world had been in touch, eager to contribute. Some knew less about World War One than others, and none of us were experts, but the desire to develop a story suggested everyone wanted to know more. Having never edited anything in my life, I was lucky to have Brick, author of Depresso, offer to ride shotgun throughout.

To End All Wars, which will be published by Soaring Penguin in July, was conceived as a humble effort to commemorate the countless lost and ruined lives, as well as tackling some of the myths and half-truths about ‘The Great War’. Early on, we set our stall out to cover as many aspects of this astonishing and horrific conflict as possible, basing each story on fact but giving our writers and artists the freedom to take them to wherever their imaginations desired. Scroll through the list of contributions and you will find an extraordinary breadth of subject matter and ways of telling.

The Letter by and © Brick
The Letter by and © Brick. Artwork for To End All Wars.

We have a dramatic reconstruction of the war in the Atlantic that could have come straight out of Steve Ditko’s vault of horror. We have the story of combatants’ affection and need for pets in the trenches, related exclusively in pictures. We have the obligatory war poet’s story, but that of the Welsh hill farmer, Hedd Wyn, whose story is rarely told, even in his homeland. And we have a take on the controversial Mata Hari, the story of class conflict in a POW camp, and the very personal narrative of an author’s search for their great grandfather’s memorial.

A page from "Between the Darkness" - story by Petri Hänninen and art by Neil McClements.
A page from “Between the Darkness” – story by Petri Hänninen and art by Neil McClements.

We have low humour, high drama, weird fantasy, even a couple of love stories and sincere tributes. We take readers from the Home Front to East Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Turkey, and we are non-partisan, with narratives from the ‘other side’ of the conflict, not least that of the greatest unofficial war artist of all time, Otto Dix.

The challenge of bringing together 26 stories (far more than we originally intended) has been immense, particularly for inexperienced editors unsure how far we dare push contributors. Seeing the final product come together is a testament to the talent and passion of the 40 plus writers, artists and letterers who have given their time for no financial reward; all proceeds from the sale of To End All Wars will be given to Medicins Sans Frontières.

A page from Die and Become - story by John Stuart Clark and art by Sarah Jones.
A page from Die and Become – story by John Stuart Clark and art by Sarah Jones.

Everyone involved came to this project knowing very little about World War One, so perhaps most importantly, it will stand as an acknowledgement of the nightmare inflicted upon the world between 1914 and 1918, and the atrocities all of it’s people, allegiances aside, were forced to endure.

Ultimately, when you’ve read To End All Wars, we hope at the very least you will put it down and think, I must find out more about the truth of World War One.

• For more information on the project, visit: http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com

• Pre-order To End All Wars from amazon.co.uk

• Soaring Penguin Press: www.soaringpenguinpress.com

About Jonathan Clode

Beguiled by comics in his infancy, young Jonathan Clode took to writing them once he was sure he’d grown up. He has written the one shot Anabolic Chicken Vs Mutant Bull, has contributed to the second issue of the Outré Anthology and has a story appearing in the Beyond Bullying comics collection. He also has a penchant for basketball and flannel shirts. He has never edited anything before, but luckily he seems to rather like being consumed by huge amounts of work.

Categories
Creating Comics downthetubes Comics News Featured War Comics

“To End All Wars”, World War One comics anthology finalized

The Letter by and © Brick
“The Letter” by and © Brick. Art for the To End All Wars project

Work is proceeding apace on finalizing To End All Wars, a collection of short comic stories set during World War One, edited by Jonathan Clode and John Stuart Clark (aka the artist ‘Brick’)

The anthology, first mooted back in January, will feature over 20 stories, with the Pleece Brothers making a bid for last slot.

2014, as if you needed reminding, marks the centenary of World War One. In years gone by, comics about World War One and Two were commonplace in the UK, but only Commando remains on the news stand. However, in France and Belgium they are still produced and very much revered.

“My goal is to revive and reinvigorate this part of the genre,” says Jonathan, “and in doing so commemorate the lives and deeds of those men and women who were affected by ‘the war to end all wars’.”

Jonathan’s brief was simple: a call for  stories each ranging from 6-10 pages in length, he subject matter anything that relates to World War One, “as long as it is honest and does not seek to glorify war.

“Anyone who has read ‘Charley’s War’ by Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun will know what I’m going on about!” he says.

Of course, To End All Wars won’t be the only World War One related project out there in the coming months. Titan Books are to re-release the entire Charley’s War series that inspired many of the contributors to this new anthology in print, while Egmont will publish it digitally. Christopher Menaul’s film Summer in February has just been released and Joe Sacco’s fold-out diorama The Great War, fixing on 1st July 1916 is out now in the US. The stage adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong is now touring UK theatres.

The beauty of the To End All Wars project is the range of themes it covers, away from the usual focus on the Western Front. “We have dramatic reconstructions of the war in the Atlantic that could have come straight out of Steve Ditko’s vault of horror” outline Jonathan and Brick on the project’s web site. “We have the story of combatants’ affection and need for pets in the trenches, related exclusively in pictures . We have the obligatory war poet’s story, but that of a Welsh hill farmer rather than some bit of posh who’s been done to death. And we have a feminist take on the controversial Mata Hari and the very personal story of an author’s search for their great grandfather’s memorial.

“We have low humour, high drama, weird fantasy, even a couple of love stories and sincere tributes. We take readers to East Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Turkey, and we are non-partisan, with narratives from the ‘other side’ of the conflict, not least that of the greatest unofficial war artist of all time. Personally we can’t wait to see it all wrapped between covers we can get a hold on!

French Soldier sketch from Between the Darkness by and © Neil McClements
French Soldier sketch from “Between the Darkness” by and © Neil McClements

“And one other thing that is exciting… most of our contributors are either novices or relative unknowns in the comics game, yet they are putting in turns that eclipse most of what passes for graphic narrative these days. What’s more, they are working their pinkies to the bone for no greater reward than the satisfaction of involvement in a landmark publication slated to be released at a unique moment in history. All power to them and their dedication!”

27 stories will feature in the anthology with contributors that include Brick, Jonathan Clode, Michael Crouch, Steve Martin, Sean Michael Wilson, Matt Soffe, Ian Douglas, Petri Hänninen, Sarah Jones, Bex Burgess, Chris Martinez, Stjepan Mihaljevic, SAM Richards, Lotte Grünseid , Chris Colley and Alex Wilson.

“Each story is rooted in fact,” says Jonathan, “though where our writers have chosen to take their stories continues to impress for the sheer adventure of their imaginations.”

More information on the anthology, the creators involved and some of the art here