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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > DECEMBER 2016 > Visions of conflict

Visions of conflict

Two graphic novels find different approaches to life during war


The Case of Alan Turing: The Extraordinary and Tragic Story of the Legendary Codebreaker

Arnaud DeLalande; Éric Liberge, ill.; David Homel, trans.

Arsenal Pulp Press

Such a Lovely Little War

Marcelino Truong; David Homel, trans.

Arsenal Pulp Press

HISTORY MAY be written by the winners, but it’s often drawn by whomever is able to wield a pen. Cartooning and graphic memoirs like Maus and Persepolis have been able to deliver particularly subversive takes on some of history’s most despotic regimes. This fall, Vancouver’s Arsenal Pulp Press is publishing a pair of comics in this mode, each translated from the French by two-time Governor General’s Literary Award winner David Homel. Both books deal with life during wartime, although their specific forms achieve very different results.

The Case of Alan Turing is a graphic biography that charts the life of the British mathematical genius who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code during the Second World War, and in doing so laid the groundwork for the first computer. Turing’s story hit cinemas two years ago in The Imitation Game; this biography covers fresh ground in its use of newly declassified documents that detail the inner workings of Turing’s lab at Bletchley Park. Turing’s fate is tragic; while his efforts brought about a swifter end to the war, he was later tried and sentenced by the very government he fought for because he was a homosexual. The tale is one of a rebel, whose status as a gay man and outsider propelled him against authority within the secretive world of British code-breaking camps.

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