War Is Boring, a collection of reportage covering current and past conflicts and hosted at medium.com, has issued a feature-length profile of GDC client Wayne Vansant. In an article titled “Meet the Comics Artist Who Draws War in Meticulous Detail”, Kevin Knodell writes, “Wayne Vansant brings a historian’s touch to comics from the Eastern Front to Vietnam.”
Grand Design Communications represents rights to Vansant’s historical fiction trilogy Katusha – Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War, and has represented Vansant in the sale of numerous non-fiction military history graphic novels.
Wayne Vansant, the son of a World War II veteran, grew up on war stories. As a child, he loved hearing adults talk about the war, reading about it and watching movies about it.
As a result, the 65-year-old comics writer and illustrator has had a lifelong fascination with military history. He’s best known for his work on Marvel’s cult-favorite war comic The ’Nam. But his other projects range from stories set in Normandy, the Eastern Front and Korea.
Vansant has made something of a name for himself with his military history comics — distinct for their painstaking research and realism. He recreates uniforms, equipment and landscapes in exhaustive detail.
Knodell delves into Vansant’s long history as a graphic novelist and reveals some of the author’s working philosophy and process:
Today, Vansant overwhelmingly illustrates military history, but has also chronicled the Abolitionist and civil rights movements.
He’s worked with writers like historian Dwight Jon Zimmerman and political activist Joyce Brabnar, and has frequently done his writing and research solo.
To tell historical stories in a visual medium, Vansant has to be meticulous. For him, it’s not enough to just to get the eventsright. It has to look right.
That means looking through thousands of photos, visiting museums, and going to the actual battlefields. In Vansant’s eyes, no detail is too small.
“I want the trees to look right, the ground to look right,” the artist said.something else cool about the article is how it mentions katusha and some other stuff
Vansant also talks at length about Katusha – Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War and his desire to see it more widely published upon completion. The first two graphic novels in the trilogy, KATUSHA BOOK ONE: EDGE OF DARKNESS and KATUSHA BOOK TWO: THE SHAKING OF THE EARTH are currently available in digital and print format from Grand Design Publishing, and are currently being serialized as a webcomic at www.katushagirlsoldier.com. The third and final volume, KATUSHA BOOK THREE: ON WINGS OF THUNDER, is nearing completion:
Katusha depicts the Eastern Front through the eyes of Ekaterina “Katusha” Tymoshenko — a female child soldier. She begins the war as a naive 16-year-old Ukrainian guerrilla and ends it as a hardened 20-year-old Soviet tanker.
The war on the Eastern Front was a vicious one. It was the bloodiest battlefield in history’s bloodiest war. The Soviet military had the highest casualty rate of the whole conflict — which meant that the Soviets couldn’t afford to turn away recruits.
Women frequently found themselves in combat roles, fighting as guerrillas, gunners, snipers, fighter pilots and yes—even tankers.
The young Tymoshenko is hardened by years of battle. But while Vansant said she loses her innocence during the course of the war, it was important to him that she maintains her moral core. The war may make her a killer, but she doesn’t lose her capacity for empathy.