Wayne Vansant’s non-fiction graphic novels for the Zenith Graphic History line continue to impress, just as the sixth (and final, for now) volume, The Battle of the Bulge, is released. The prestigious art book dealer Bud Plant has listed The Battle of the Bulge, The Red Baron, Bombing Nazi Germany, and Normandy as ‘recommended’ in their online catalog.
Vansant’s clear drawings make it easy to tell one plane from another, and distinguish between different people in the story. He packs a lot of relevant information into the text boxes, and includes maps and other extras. This would be an excellent introduction to entice young people (and adults) who don’t know much about World War I aerial operations into reading further.
Biographies and autobiographies are often told in graphic novel form and can be both interesting and informative – many other subjects have also been explored. Non-fiction graphic novels can be a good story, an excellent introduction to a subject or a different way to explore a topic of interest.
True adventure and the legendary figure of Manfred von Richthofen (the infamous Red Baron), come together in this book. It is a biography, a concise history of WWI and early military avionics, a discussion of military strategy and includes illustrations with remarkable attention to detail, especially in the illustration of aircraft.
Although the Zenith Graphic History series is aimed at readers of all ages, much attention has been paid to the appeal of the books to kids and young adult readers. School Library Journal reviewed The Battle of the Bulge in their November magazine (digital version available here – Book Verdict Pro subscription required), and blog Time Travelling With Kids included The Red Baron in it’s list of November recommendations for readers aged 10 – 13.
Vansant is also known for several works of historical fiction, including the recent Katusha Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War. While Vansant is currently working on the third volume of Katusha, Caliber Comics released a collection of his French Legionnaire hero, Battron in 2013 and last month released a new collection, Knights of the Skull, a “trilogy of gripping war tales of the infamous German Panzer divisions”.