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Merging Fact & Fiction in War Comics: Diversity, Identity and Social Injustice

Donald, Iain; Austin, Hailey; Pittner, Fruszina


Hailey Austin

Fruszina Pittner


This abstract discusses how war comics portray the historical record through a theoretical and conceptual textual model - the 3A Framework (3AF) which considers the representation of historical accuracy, authenticity and account (Donald & Reid, 2023). The chapter will consider the impact of British war comics lauded for their portrayal of war including Charley’s War (2007) and White Death (2014), exploring how critically acclaimed and commercially successful comics are accepted as authentic. Using the 3A framework, we query their account, establishing what constraints exist when creating comics about real-world conflict. The framework considers the objective features that appear within the narrative (Account); current understanding and critical perspective on historical narrative and detail related to the content (Accuracy); and what the comparison between the comic’s account and the identified historical discourse contributes to the historical perspective (Authenticity).

We will present our creative practice as war comic creators, including the opportunities and challenges of working within publisher, community and subject-matter constraints. Hailey has published historical fiction Commando stories for DC Thomson, focusing on diverse characters based on real people (“Hailey Austin Archives” 2022). When discussing the Commando series, we will consider the historical influences that helped inspire and create more diverse stories for one of the UK’s longest-running and most successful war comics. Iain and Fruzina developed the community-oriented comic 5:47 - Shot at Dawn (2016) for the Great War Dundee project. We will discuss how the historical record was delicately presented for the story of a young soldier executed for desertion during the First World War. We will then consider how as creators we can balance the 3A framework to create historical fiction that feels authentic, where we choose to merge fact and fiction, and how we apply our 21st-century lens and sensibilities to represent past conflict and society.


Donald, I., Austin, H., & Pittner, F. Merging Fact & Fiction in War Comics: Diversity, Identity and Social Injustice. In Battle Lines Drawn: War Comics since 1914

Deposit Date Jul 1, 2024
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Book Title Battle Lines Drawn: War Comics since 1914
Contract Date Oct 31, 2024