Scott Chantler, the artist whose Northwest Passage made such a splash a few years ago, wrapped up his work on his latest historical graphic novel, Two Generals, in June. (Here is a nine-page preview he put up for TCAF.)
Two Generals is a non-fiction graphic novel set in World War II and based on several primary sources: the 1943 diary of Chantler’s grandfather, his friend Jack Chrysler’s letters home, and the war diary of the Highland Light Infantry of Canada. The book is due out in October, but Chantler has just set up a research blog to document both his own work on the book and all the research he put into it—along the lines of the notes in the annotated edition of Northwest Passage, he says, but a lot more of it. For those of us who love digging into the past, this looks like a gold mine, and I for one can’t wait until he starts adding content. (Those of us who are kids at heart can while away the time with his delightful children’s graphic novel, Tower of Treasure.)
Making fun of history has been a good gig for quite a while. I grew up reading Richard Armour’s fractured retellings of history-book standards, such as It All Started with Columbus, and of course Mad Magazine was a reliable source of misinformation. (The Marx/Marx Brothers and Lenin/Lennon confusion lingered for an embarrassingly long time, thanks to them.) And then there is Blackadder, a show whose humor content scales directly with the viewer’s knowledge of British history.
Mock history has proven to be a fertile vein on the web as well. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love Kate Beaton’s Hark, A Vagrant. Reading her irreverent takes on historical topics is sort of like sitting in the back of class drawing moustaches on the Founding Fathers.