‘Disaster Drawn’: Why War And Comics Mix

Hillary Chute's 'Disaster Drawn' is about war comics and the art of witness. (Courtesy of Harvard University Pres)

Hillary Chute’s ‘Disaster Drawn’ is about war comics and the art of witness. (Courtesy Harvard University Pres)

Before the age of photojournalism, wartime reporters illustrated scenes of violence in order to bring the reality of the front lines to their readers.

These days, photos convey these images, but visual artists still depict the tough truths about war and violence in comic books and graphic novels.


Hillary Chute, visiting professor at Harvard University. Author of “Disaster Drawn: Visual Witness, Comics, and Documentary Form.”


The Boston Globe: Hillary Chute On Using Cartoons To Tell Real Stories About War

  • “Contemporary cartoonists writing about the Middle East are part of ‘a really long, proud history,’ she said, dating back to ‘newspapers during the Civil War when photography wasn’t as efficient for capturing images of war’ and beyond that, to the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century.”

PMLA: Comics As Literature? Reading Graphic Narrative

  • “Comics — a form once considered pure junk–is sparking interest in literary studies.”

Mother Jones: The Art of War: An Interview With Joe Sacco

  • “Joe Sacco occupies a unique spot in the no-man’s-land between underground cartoonists and war correspondents. By presenting his firsthand reporting from hot spots like Gaza, Sarajevo, and Iraq in gritty black-and-white comics, Sacco has won over serious fans of comics and nonfiction alike.”

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