Captain America’s dramatic debut [in 1941] was a call to arms,
Urging the nation to unite against foreign aggression. By the spring
of 1941, as the U.S. mobilization was well underway,
comic books had already gone to war.
Use the tabs above to learn about comics that explore war. Included in this guide are graphic novels and comics. Comic strips and political cartoons are not covered. The guide is by no means exhaustive. There will likely be more comics that cover the topic than the titles we’ve chosen as representative examples, but we hope this will give you a good place to start. Happy researching!
‘68 (Image) (2011-present)
The zombie apocalypse hits during the Vietnam War. The comic follows the survivors, both military and civilian, in both Vietnam and the United States.
Army Attack (Charlton) (1964-67) Some issues are online.
Covers multiple wars.
Army War Heroes (Charlton) (1963-1967) Some issues are online.
Covers multiple wars.
Attack (Charlton) (1958-84)
Covers multiple wars.
Battlefield Action (Charlton) (1963-1983). Some issues are online.
Covers multiple wars.
Blazing Combat (Warren) (1965-66)
Blazing Combat ran for only four quarterly issues. It’s anti-war stance was considered very controversial at the time of publication. The most controversial story, "Landscape," set during the Vietnam War, is said to have stopped key distributors from selling the title.
Commando: For Action and Adventure (DC Thomson & Co)
A British comic book magazine that covers multiple wars.
Fighting Army (Charlton) (1965-78) Some issues are online.
Vietnam War was occasionally featured (nos. 66 and 135 in particular).
Fightin' Marines (Charlton) (1968-73; nos. 78-108)
The title covers multiple wars. Vietnam is featured in the story of Shotgun Harker and Chicken.
G.I. Combat (Quality, then DC) (1952-1987)
This American comics magazine covers multiple wars. Vietnam is featured in "The Bravos of Vietnam."
The ‘Nam (Marvel) 1986-1993
Follows a fictional soldier, Private First Class Edward Marks as he experiences real events that occurred during the Vietnam War.
Our Fighting Forces (DC) (1954-78, particularly 1966-67; nos. 99-105)
This title covers multiple wars. Issues 99-105 follow Captain Phil Hunter, a Green Beret during the Vietnam War, who is searching for his twin brother Nick, a pilot shot down by the Viet Cong.
Vietnamerica: A Family's Journey (Random House, 2011) Borrow through The Circuit
This graphic novel memoir tells the story of G.B. Tran, the son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America during the fall of Saigon. Tran describes how he learned his tragic ancestral history and the impact of the Vietnam War on his family while visiting their homeland years later.
Vietnam Journal (Caliber Comics) 2009-2011 Borrow through ILL
This 8-part graphic novel looks at the Vietnam War through the eyes of a war journalist as it chronicles the lives and events of soldiers on the front line during the Vietnam War
Vietnam Journal: Volume 1- Indian Country
Vietnam Journal: Volume 2 - The Iron Triangle
Vietnam Journal: Volume 3 - From the Delta to Dak To
Vietnam Journal: Volume 4 - M.I.A.
Vietnam Journal: Volume 5 - Tet ‘68
Vietnam Journal: Volume 6 - Bloodbath at Khe Sanh
Vietnam Journal: Volume 7 - Valley of Death
Vietnam Journal: Volume 8 - Brain Dead Horror
9-11 (Dark Horse) (2002)
Artists respond to 9/11 in these two collected volumes. Proceeds benefit The World Trade Center Relief Fund, Survivors Fund, September 11th Fund, and the Twin Towers Fund.
9-11: Artists Respond, Volume One
9-11: The World's Finest Comic Book Writers & Artists Tell Stories to Remember, Volume Two
9-11 (self-published) (2002-16)
In this 7-issue comic, Colin Upton shares his experiences with the 9-11.
9-11: Emergency Relief (Alternative Comics) (2002)
Comic artists respond to 9/11 in this collected volume. Proceeds benefit the American Red Cross.
9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation (Hill and Wang, 2006)
Approved by the original 9/11 Commission, this graphic adaptation shares the events of 9/11 and the Commission's findings in graphic novel format.
A Moment of Silence (Marvel, 2002)
This collection of four stories was inspired by true stories from 9/11. Proceeds benefit the Twin Towers Fund.
Amazing Spider-man (Marvel) (2001; no. 36)
“The Black Issue.” In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Spider-Man and other heroes stand in shock feeling sorrow in the aftermath of an event they were powerless to stop.
Captain America (Marvel Knights) 2002-04; volume 4)
The story starts on September 11 2001. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York, Captain America helps cleaning up the rumble of the World Trade Center towers, and gets confronted by Nick Fury, who wants to send him off to find the source of the terrorist attacks.
Heroes: The World's Greatest Super Hero Creators Honor The World's Greatest Heroes (Marvel, 2001)
64-page book of illustrations that pay tribute to those who attempted to save lives on 9-11. Proceeds benefit the Twin Towers Fund.
I Love New York (Linsner.com) (2016)
Comic artist, Joseph Michael Linsner, shares his personal account of 9/11. Proceeds benefit the American Red Cross.
In the Shadow of No Towers (Pantheon, 2004)
Artistic, Art Spiegelman, shares an account of the terrorist attacks and aftermath, including the political uses to which they have been put.
Unthinkable (Boom! Studios) (2009; nos. 1-5)
After 9-11, best-selling author Alan Ripley joins a government think tank consisting of the most imaginative minds in diverse fields. Their job is to think of nightmare scenarios and crippling terrorist attacks so the government can safeguard against them. When the think tank folds, the attacks start to happen.
Coming Home: What to Expect, How to Deal When You Return from Combat (Ceridian Corporation, 2008)
It is intended for educational purposes for military members, veterans, and family members. The novel centers around three main characters, each previously active-duty members in the military dealing with the transition of coming back home. The struggles of the transition from combat back to family life are shown through each of the character's individual struggles. ~from Publisher’s website
The Docs (Naval Health Research Center, 2010) Online
Written by a Navy doctor and a combat psychologist, "The Docs" follows four expeditionary Navy Corpsmen, Petty Officers from both active duty and reserve components, who are deployed with Marine and Seabee combat units. The story watches them manage emotionally impactful events and combat stress emergencies, home front issues, and even boredom. In addition, they face the stigma of seeking mental health care in their patients and in themselves, and learn of their need to care for one another. The goal for this story is to provide an entertaining and community-appropriate message of the importance of caring for caregiver, and the responsibility we all share in that endeavor. ~from Publisher’s website
The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time (Andrews McMeel, 2005)
A collection of the Doonesbury strips from a seven month period that chronicle the wounding of B.D. in Iraq and his experiences along the road to rehabilitation.
Shooters (DC/Vertigo, 2011)
Shooters is the story of Terry Glass, a warrior whose spirit and soul have been hardened in countless battles. When a horrible accident shatters his world, Glass finds himself waging a private war on several fronts--against his career, his marriage, and ultimately his faith. ~from Publisher’s website
TOI Solider Project (Online)
The TOI Soldier Project's universe is designed to give combat veterans a safe environment to heal their PTSD symptoms. Our company designs an avatar to give our clients the opportunity to share their real war stories anonymously initially through a comic book series. The introduction of our coloring book series will allow customers and potential clients to become more interactive with our product giving them the freedom to tell their own tales. ~from Publisher’s website
The War Within: One More Step at a Time (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2006)
A continuation of The Long Road Home: One Step at a Time.
A web-based storytelling tool that provides an engaging, empowering way for Service members and veterans to tell their trauma story visually. The Warrior Stories Platform can be used as an adjunct to evidence-based care for combat trauma and PTSD. The Platform can also be used in Graphic Narrative Processing, or as a recreational activity in individual or group environments. ~from Publisher’s website
Willie & Joe: Back Home (2011)
In the summer of 1945, a great tide of battered soldiers began flowing back to the united States from around the globe. Though victorious, these exhausted men were nevertheless too grief-stricken over the loss of comrades, too guilt-ridden that they had survived, and too numbed by trauma to share in the country’s euphoria. Most never saw a ticker-tape parade, or stole a Times Square kiss. All they wanted was to settle back into quiet workaday lives without fear. ~from Publisher’s website
You'll Never Know: A Graphic Memoir. (Fantagraphics Books, 2012)
A graphic memoir of the author’s relationship with her World War II veteran father, and how his war experience shaped her childhood and affected her relationships in adulthood. ~from Publisher’s website
Axe, David. “Pentagon Plots Comic Book Therapy for Troops.” Wired, April 29, 2001.
Blumberg, Arnold T. "Cold War and Graphic Novels, The." Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: History, Theme, and Technique.Hackensack: Salem, null. n. pag. Salem Online. Web. 11 May. 2016. <http://online.salempress.com.libproxy.sdsu.edu>
Collie, K., A. Backos, et al. (2006). ʺArticles ‐ Art Therapy for Combat‐Related PTSD: Recommendations for Research and Practice.ʺ Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association 23(4).
Coman, Anthony. "The War Genre in Graphic Novels." Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: History, Theme, and Technique.Hackensack: Salem, null. n. pag. Salem Online. Web. 11 May. 2016. <http://online.salempress.com.libproxy.sdsu.edu>
SDSU Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has some, but not all, of the comics mentioned in this guide. Please contact us and we can pull the comics ahead of time for your use.
Location: SDSU Library & Information Access, Library Addition Room 4410