War Is Boring profiles Wayne Vansant

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.

Knodell writes:

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.

War Is Boring1253

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.

I MARRIED ADVENTURE 75th Anniversary DVD out now

Grand Design Communications represents graphic novel rights to Osa Johnson’s classic autobiography I MARRIED ADVENTURE, and the Johnsons seem to be popping up everywhere these days – Huffington Post just included “Osa” as one of “14 Baby Girl Names Inspired By Strong, Adventurous Women“.

But I MARRIED ADVENTURE wasn’t just a best-selling book – several months after the book was released and became one of the best sellers of the year, a film version also titled I MARRIED ADVENTURE was released.  The Johnsons were seasoned filmmakers already, so it made perfect sense to compliment the release of Osa’s book with a movie too.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the release of the film, Alpha Video has teamed up with the Martin and Osa Johnson Museum to release a new DVD edition of I MARRIED ADVENTURE, being sold on Alpha’s Oldies.com website.  Here’s how Oldies.com describes the special edition:

Actual footage is artfully blended with dramatic recreations in this amazing documentary which presents the adventures of American explorers Osa and Martin Johnson. Based on the 1940 best-selling book of the same name, this fascinating film follows the exploits of the Johnsons as they travel the primitive wilderness of Africa and the South Seas during the late teens through the mid-1930s, recording all their expeditions. From Borneo to Nairobi, captivating nature photography captures a wild lost world. Narrated by Jim Bannon, best remembered for playing Red Ryder in four films between 1949 and 1950.

This 75th Anniversary Edition of I Married Adventure is brought to you by the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum, dedicated to preserving the legacy of these two remarkable naturalists. A bonus postcard of Osa Johnson is included.



The Comics Alternative interviews GRAPHIC CLASSICS artist Joe Ollman


Comicsalternative.com, the website of the podcast featuring “Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics!”, has an interview with cartoonist Joe Ollman about his work on GRAPHIC CLASSICS and more.  Grand Design Communications is the digital and foreign rights agent for GRAPHIC CLASSICS


Ollman has contributed to multiple volumes of GRAPHIC CLASSICS.  His first Graphic Classics appearance was as a co-illustrator of “Roads of Destiny” in Graphic Classics: O. Henry.  He soloed on “The Premature Burial” for Graphic Classics: Edgar Allan Poe, and an adaptation of “Dracula” for Graphic Classics: Bram Stoker.

An accomplished graphic novelist in his own right, Ollman’s works include MID-LIFE (Drawn & Quarterly, 2011), SCIENCE FICTION (Conundrum, 2013), and the recently published HAPPY STORIES ABOUT WELL ADJUSTED PEOPLE (Conundrum, 2014).



KATUSHA goes daily in webcomic debut

Wayne Vansant’s epic war story KATUSHA, GIRL SOLDIER OF THE GREAT PATRIOTIC WAR is being made available to read for free at katushagirlsoldier.com.  KATUSHA tells the story of a farm girl from Ukraine who becomes a Red Army tank commander during World War II.
KATUSHA webcomic screenshot
A coming-of-age story told against the backdrop of the bloodiest conflict in human history, the 1941-1945 Eastern Front between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, KATUSHA is created by writer/artist Wayne Vansant (Marvel’s THE NAM, Zenith’s Graphic Histories series). Inspired by the experiences of thousands of women who served in the Red Army as pilots, snipers, tank drivers, and other roles, it forms a sprawling epic that will total three volumes and over five-hundred pages upon completion.

The first two graphic novels in the series, 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. The webcomic version of KATUSHA will serialize both, adding a new page every day, with BOOK ONE completing in June and BOOK TWO completing at the end of 2015. The third and final volume, expected in print in mid-2015, will begin serialization in January 2016.

KATUSHA has received praise from critics and comics professionals. History magazine Armchair General Magazine included KATUSHA in its “Stuff We Like” column. Pat Mills, writer of the legendary British war comics series CHARLIE’S WAR has praised Katusha for dealing with a chapter in history that’s been overlooked in the West. Garth Ennis, writer of PREACHER and WAR STORIES (which includes THE NIGHT WITCHES, a story about Soviet women pilots) said of Katusha, “It’s great to see the story of the Soviet women tankers kept alive. Wayne Vansant has done a magnificent job with these first two volumes of Katusha; I look forward to reading more.”

Print editions are now available from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other online retailers. Ebook editions are available to consumers through ComicsPlus, Google Play, Kindle, and (soon) Comixology, and to libraries though Overdrive and iVerse.  The webcomic version will be available on the Katusha website, and pages will also be posted on Facebook, Tapastic, VKontakt, and Google+.

KATUSHA BOOK ONE opens with young Katusha’s graduation from her tenth and final year of school. The next morning, Sunday June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union. The young woman and her family escape to the forests to begin a partisan war against the German occupiers. In KATUSHA BOOK TWO, Katusha and her sister Milla join the Red Army and are sent to tank school. Trained to operate the mighty T-34, Katusha fights from countryside to cities and learns the steep price to pay for victory.

Vansant has chronicled history in comics format since 1986. He was the primary artist for Marvel’s acclaimed Vietnam War title, THE ‘NAM, and he has recently returned to historical fiction with his three-volume series KATUSHA, an epic of the eastern front of World War II. He has researched, written, and illustrated many non-fiction graphic novels on subjects including the Korean War, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, and the Battle of Antietam. Since 2013 Vansant has released six non-fiction graphic novels through Zenith Publishing. Vansant is a native of Georgia and served in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War era.

Phil Cross and Ronn Sutton talk to CBC Radio about LUCIFERS SWORD MC

On the February 12 edition of the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s show “All In A Day”, host Alan Neal interviewed the creators of the recently published LUCIFERS SWORD MC graphic novel, writer Phil Cross and artist Ronn Sutton.  The two, joined by Phil’s wife Meg,  talked about the process of creating a graphic novel inspired by Phil’s life in motorcycle clubs the Gypsy Jokers and the Hells Angels.

LUCIFERS SWORD MC was packaged in part for publisher Motorbooks by Grand Design Communications.

Click on the image below to listen on the CBC website!cbc lucifers sword


I MARRIED ADVENTURE inspires fashion, design around the world

GDC represents graphic novel rights for Osa Johnson’s famed autobiography, I MARRIED ADVENTURE, a book which has provided inspiration to dreamers ever since it was originally published in 1940.  In Spring 2014 the book was the inspiration for design firm Better Shelter’s display at the “Legends of La Cienga” design event, and in 2015 the Johnson’s story will provide inspiration for no less than three clothing lines, and for one more, very unexpected, accessory:


aje collection

The Australian clothing brand Aje is currently featuring clothes inspired by Osa Johnson in their Spring/Summer 2014/2015 line. Their latest offerings include Adventurer Blazer, Escapade Skirt, Explorer Shorts, and Trail Skirt.  Edwina Robinson, Design Direcgtor for Aja told Coco Republic’s Field Notes website how the brand found inspiration in the life of Osa Johnson:

We create our collections for strong, bold women – and they don’t come braver than the first female adventurer Osa Johnson. In the early 20th century she was famous for exploring exotic faraway lands such as Borneo, the Congo, Africa; authoring books and creating films to share her amazing adventures with the world. After researching Osa, we fell in love with the woman who was as comfortable walking the  red carpet in couture as she was trekking through the Serengeti in a safari suit, and we wanted to tell her story through our SS14/15 collection ‘AJE Married Adventure’. Osa Johnson completely epitomizes the Aje brand.


It was recently announced that both Woolrich in the U.S. and Colenimo in the U.K. will have Spring/Summer lines, likewise, inspired by Martin and Osa.

As reported in the Women’s Wear Daily story “Woolrich John Rich & Bros. RTW [Ready to Wear] Spring 2015”:

American explorers Martin and Osa Johnson informed the Woolrich John Rich & Bros.’ sporty spring lineup for women.  Designer Monica Lardera imagined the pair traveling to today’s Africa, which led to a striking, whimsical giraffe pattern − “a new dot,” she said at the showroom presentation − worked as a print on a cashmere-and-cotton-knit cardigan and a cotton poplin suit.  Other patterns, such as a zigzag for a twin set, nicely complimented the vibe.


Colenimo’s collection, titled “SS15 − One Million Feet of Adventure” is profiled on colenimo.com:

For Spring Summer 2015 Colenimo presents a collection inspired by explorer and film maker Osa Johnson. A Kansas born adventuress who captured the minds of America in the early 20th Century with her fearless lust for discovery.  Embracing life at full speed, she was equally at home in the Savannah or on the red carpet, always exuding a quite confidence. With her husband she shot over a million feet of film bringing to many their first glimpses of untouched exotic distant lands, animals and people.  Informed by Osa’s practicality, poise and elegance the collection is comprised of Irish linen unstructured tailored jackets, trousers and skirts in pale grey, indigo and natural white. Water resistant raincoat made from ‘Typewriter’ urethane coated cotton. Pure silk crepe hand pleated dresses and blouses. Vintage cotton men’s shirting fabric tops.  A Wide-brimmed pork-pie sisal hat, dip-dyed organic woad-indigo silk tops and scarves.  Vintage beige gabardine unstructured tailored jacket and shorts, and Irish linen checked and striped dresses.

The Colenimo brand is popular in both the U.K. and Japan. This new line will include an “Osa rain coat” and “Osa Johnson trouser.”

bum bumpattern

So, you’re probably wondering what’s available for younger Johnson fans. Cotton Babies and bumGenius have that covered (pun intended) with a new limited edition cloth diaper called Martin. Their “Walk on the wild side: Martin” promotion reads:

Forged after a true wildlife explorer,   Martin exhibits adventure, risk, courage and strength. Capturing the bold yet majestic characteristics of a tiger, this eye-popping print includes a striking mix of black, white and Mirror. Fierce and revered, Martin was created for any little scout. Martin Johnson was a photographer, a filmmaker, a naturalist, an author, but most of all − a voyager. From Africa to the South Pacific Islands, he embarked on various adventures with his wife by his side, researching and studying the wildlife and people of distant lands.  Through photography, books and films, their findings captivated people all over the world and inspired the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Martin has been unleashed in bumGenius and Flip Cloth Diapers. Capture this wild print before it is extinct! Cotton Babies’ newest design captures the fun and adventurous side of life!

New graphic novel LUCIFERS SWORD MC, packaged by Grand Design, out now

Lucifers Sword MC: Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club, an explosive new graphic novel written by Hells Angels leader Phil Cross (with Darwin Holmstrom) and illustrated by Ronn Sutton is out this month in stores across North America.  Grand Design Communications worked with publisher Motorbooks in developing the book, presenting the publisher with a number of artistic options from which they selected Sutton, and working closely with Sutton to deliver the book on a tight schedule.

Pop culture blog Booksteve’s Library has Ronn Sutton’s official press release with the full story:

Artist RONN SUTTON draws high-octane adventure inspired by the life of outlaw biker PHIL CROSS in the new graphic novel LUCIFERS SWORD MC.
January 15, 2015 – Lucifers Sword MC: Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club is the new 96-page high-octane graphic novel now available from Motorbooks.
Lucifers Sword MC is a gritty, fictionalized, insider look at life as a 1960s U.S. biker club member. Written by Hells Angel member Phil Cross and illustrated by former Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and Starbikers comic book artist Ronn Sutton, the graphic novel takes readers on a wild ride from the late 1940s through to the 1970s.
The characters in Lucifers Sword MC are fictionalized, but based on the real bikers – including Cross, who appears as the club’s prospect, Frenchie. As fans of the TV show Sons of Anarchy know, a prospect is a rookie member. Readers experience rough-and-tumble club life first-hand through Frenchie’s eyes.
Artist Ronn Sutton did an enormous amount of research before taking pencil to paper. He watched Sons of Anarchy as well as classic movies such as The Wild OneEasy Rider and Angels Die Hard. He also read magazines like In The Wind and books like From Gypsy Joker To A Hells Angel (Cross’ autobiography) and Hells Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangsby Hunter S. Thompson.
After the research, the real work began. “This is the biggest project I’ve worked on in my 40-plus year career as a comics artist” Sutton says. “For five months I drew 15 hours per day, 7 days a week, trying to do my best work ever.”
Sutton illustrated Lucifers Sword MC in the traditional comic book method, drawing in pencil first and then inking with black India ink. The graphic novel has a full colour cover and black-and-white interior. Sutton made dramatic use of black and white so action jumps off the page.
Motorbooks’ Lucifers Sword MC: Life and Death in an Outlaw Motorcycle Club has world-wide distribution and is available in bookstores, comic book shops and via Amazon online.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phil Cross has been an active member of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club for over 43 years. His autobiography From Gypsy Joker to a Hells Angel (2013) is also available from Motorbooks. This is Cross; first graphic novel, co-authored and edited by long-time motorcycle enthusiast Darwin Holmstrom.
ABOUT THE ARTIST: Ronn Sutton (www.ronnsutton.com) is based in Ottawa, Canada. He has been drawing comic books for decades, including a nine-year run illustrating Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. The over 200 comic stories Ronn has drawn include Fear Agent, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Honey West, The Phantom, his creator-owned Starbikers as wel as horror, humor, adventure, historical and romance comics.

Medium.com calls Vansant’s BATTLE OF THE BULGE “…a fine work of comics. And it’s pretty great as history, too”!

botb_mediumKevin Knodell reviewed Katusha creator Wayne Vansant’s latest non-fiction graphic novel, Battle of the Bulge, on the Medium.com blog “War is Boring”. Knodell praised Vansant’s in-depth exploration of one of histories great battles:

Vansant’s enthusiasm for history is apparent. His renderings of soldiers’ equipment and uniforms are painstakingly detailed. His research is impeccable, accurately capturing the battle’s sweeping scope.

His script moves easily from soldiers fighting and dying in the snow to generals laying complex plans and politicians crafting grand strategy.

Vansant’s comic shows how military campaigns rarely go as planned, owing to logistical snarls, poor weather and personality clashes between commanders.

Meanwhile on the ground, the fighting is brutal and bloody—and Vansant’s art never lets you forget it.

Both sides in the Battle of the Bulge executed prisoners, but the German crimes were particularly cruel. The book shockingly depicts the Malmedy Massacre, in which the Waffen SS gunned down 80 American prisoners.

The Battle of the Bulge is a fine work of comics. And it’s pretty great as history, too. I highly recommend it.

Vansant is in good company.  Other “war comics” creators that have been reviewed by Medium.com include Jacques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney, Shigeru Mizuki, and Harvey Kurtzman.

Grand Design Communications packaged Battle of the Bulge and five other non-fiction graphic novels by Vansant for publisher Zenith Press’ “Graphic Histories” series.  GDC represents worldwide rights to Vansant’s graphic novels Katusha Book One: Edge of Darkness and Katusha Book Two: The Shaking of the Earthand published both books in digital and print-on-demand editions in 2014.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a happy and safe 2015 from Grand Design Communications.


Wayne Vansant’s non-fiction graphic novels continue to gain praise and readers

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 Germanyand Normandy as ‘recommended’ in their online catalog.


A review of The Red Baron on the Historical Novel Society website notes,

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.

The Gawler Public Library in Gawler, Australia included The Red Baron in it’s recent focus on non-fiction graphic novels, noting that:

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”.

%d bloggers like this: