UPDATE: Volumes 7 and 8 out now
Many comics have used the events of World War II as a hook around which to weave some magical storytelling, but most come from the perspective of the combatants. It’s arguable that some of the best and most memorable comics of the last century, however, focus on the victims. The first is Art Spiegelman’s Maus. The second, Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen.
Nakazawa was a seven-year-old boy, living in Hiroshima in 1945, when an atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Although Barefoot Gen is a fictional account of what happened before, during and after the explosion, Nakazawa’s own experiences feed directly into the narrative.
Starting on the day the bomb dropped, the books follow the events from the perspective of Gen, a young boy surviving in the face of insurmountable suffering. While his mother and her baby also survive the attack, life during and after the bomb is hard for the family. Through the course of the series they face black-market gangs, radiation sickness and the horror of the wholesale destruction of the town. But it isn’t all bleak – Gen’s character grows into a caring young man, eager to learn and grow from his experiences, despite the hardships he’s suffered and the price he’s had to pay for the actions of others.
|Volume 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima
|Volume 2: The Day After
|Volume 3: Life After the Bomb
|Volume 4: Out of the Ashes
|Volume 5: The Never-Ending War
|Volume 6: Writing the Truth
|Volume 7: Bones into Dust
|Volume 8: Merchants of Death