Combining individual memory & collective memory? Classics Illustrated’s representation of World War II

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


WWII is widely remembered and represented. Keeping the memories of
this international conflict alive, both within academic and popular
history writing, occurred largely within various national frameworks. On
the one hand, in the immediate post-war world many stories appeared
about the great events of the national war history, about heroes
embodying national pride in dark times. On the other hand, more recent
representations of WWII chronicle a wider variety of individual destinies,
in which personal victimhood (especially concerning the Holocaust) is
emphasized. Comic books from the first postwar decade and recent
graphic memoirs illustrate the tension within this developing memory
In this presentation I will discuss a well-known comic strip, World War
II, anonymously published in 1962 as Special Issue of the famous
educational series Classics Illustrated (Gilberton Inc.). This widespread
American comic was translated into several Western languages during
the 1960s. On the basis of this transnational example, I will analyze what
role (authentic or fictitious) personal narratives and eyewitness stories
of famous protagonists and lesser-known individuals play in both text
and image when representing a global conflict. In what manner are
individual memories incorporated in what appears to be a collective
transnational memory and what is the significance of authentic quotes
in this context? While answering these questions, I will reflect on the
reception of these comics in various cultural contexts, related to other
popular war representations from this period.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 2017
EventComics and memory: NNCORE 2017 Conference - Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 19 Apr 201721 Apr 2017


ConferenceComics and memory
OtherInternational conference of the Nordic Network for Comics Research (NNCORE)
Internet address


  • Comics
  • Memory
  • Collective memory
  • visualisation
  • World War II


Dive into the research topics of 'Combining individual memory & collective memory? Classics Illustrated’s representation of World War II'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this