Sat. May 25th, 2024

revisits the most terrifying and current anti-war cartoon.

By ki0nk Apr9,2024
News

Raymond Briggs combines the most delicate compassion with some of the most vehement denunciations of nuclear weapons.

There was an album that was really popular during the middle of the 1980s, and if you were a teenage boy or girl of that decade, you might remember it. ‘When the Wind Blows’ by Raymond Briggs was a best-seller, and it was also a regular fixture in all types of school environments, including libraries, schools, and classrooms. This antinuclear comic was a must-see in bookstores because of its pacifist spirit and soft-colored aesthetic. In addition, it was a regular fixture in all of these places.

This album, which appears to be kind, is actually a brutal plea for pacifism that has no problem showing the rawest images by surprise. Blackie Books has reissued this album in order to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of its first and only publication in our country, which took place in 1984. This is only two years after the album was initially published. It is for this reason that we suggest that if you approached him at school expecting a reassuring fable with a moral, the concluding piece of it might have stayed with you.

The plot is quite straightforward: a retired English couple going by the name of the Bloggs are frightened after hearing on the news that a nuclear assault by Russia is about to take place. In neither a hasty nor a sluggish manner do they initiate the preparations necessary to safeguard themselves from the potential nuclear winter attack.

When they compare the stressful worldwide political environment of the early eighties with the Second World War that they experienced when they were younger, their naivety contributes to the profound disinformation that they receive from the institutions around them. The end effect is a story that is tranquil, with humor that is almost traditionally used, and it exudes an awfully tense calm up until the point where it reaches its tragic conclusion.

A novel that would have been impossible without the very personal touch of Briggs, who is most well-known for his stories for children, which are not exempt from having gruesome elements. It is evident in ‘When the Wind Blows’ that Briggs’ gentle and almost naïve style is a part of the traditional British school of caricaturists. This is evident in the grotesque portraits of the opposing sides, which contrast with the peaceful domestic scenes in the novel. In the novel, the Bloggs discuss both how to protect themselves from radiation and how to organize turns to urinate in a basin in the event that the bomb falls at some point.

This edition, which was released by Blackie Books, is identical in terms of size and format to the one that was distributed in Spain in the 1980s; however, it includes a few additional features. It features an introduction written by Paco Roca and an epilogue written by Daniel López Valle, despite the fact that it acknowledges and appreciates Rosa Montero’s superb translation of the time period. In February of 2003, Paul Gravett conducted an extensive interview with Briggs for The Comic Journal. This interview was an extensive one.

Every one of these texts is extremely helpful in putting Briggs’ work into context and underlining its significance. Roca and López Valle place an emphasis on their artistic values, which include the appearance of “When the wind blows” as a peculiar oasis of sensitivity among a multiplicity of comics that discussed the nuclear holocaust, but in the key of action and sarcasm.

Additionally, they highlight the historical context in which they are situated. Understanding the extent to which the Cold War was at a very sensitive point helps to gain a concept of how ludicrous and lethally adorable the reactions of the protagonists are to the horrifying reality that surrounds them. Although this issue is not needed to enjoy the novel, it is helpful to have this understanding.

When it comes to the work, however, the interview is where the real meat and potatoes are extracted. It is there where Briggs’s influences are traced, more in the long tradition of British satirical comics than in children’s stories (even though his fame comes from there) and also where valuable data is discovered, such as that the Bloggs, protagonists of the story, are based on their parents … and that ‘When the Wind Blows’ was not the first story that Briggs drew about them (nor would it be the last, since he would also publish ‘Ethel and Ernest: A True Story’, already directly based on his real parents). Additionally, he discusses a few adaptations, beginning with a radio soap opera and finishing with a play. He begins with those adaptations.

In addition, there is the well-known animated picture that Jimmy T. Murakami (‘The Magnificent Seven from Space’) directed during the time of the album’s release and which was distributed in the same quantity as the album itself. Through Movistar Plus+, you will have access to the fantastic music that was composed by Roger Waters and features a primary theme that was composed by David Bowie.

With its gloomy combination of traditional animation and stop motion for the “realistic” scenes, it connects perfectly with the original comic and makes it abundantly clear, just like the original comic, which easily enters the list of the best books published in 2024, that there is no everyday or endearing situation that can cushion the horrors of war.

When the Wind Blows is a graphic novel that was published in 1982 and was created by the British artist Raymond Briggs. It is widely recognized for its criticisms made against the preparations for nuclear war that were released by the government. From the perspective of a retired couple named Jim and Hilda Bloggs, this graphic novel recounts their trip through the process of surviving a nuclear assault on Britain that was launched by the Soviet Union. The book is designed in a cartoonish style. Following its publication, the novel was subsequently adapted for a variety of forms of entertainment, including a stage play, a radio drama, and an animated film.

The Bloggs, a couple who were introduced in the novel Gentleman Jim, are the protagonists of this latest installment in the series. On a particular afternoon, the couple is listening to the radio when they hear a message that warns of a “outbreak of hostilities” in three days’ time. While the two are reminiscing about the Second World War, Jim immediately begins the construction of a fallout shelter.

He does this in line with a Protect and Survive leaflet that was issued by the government and that he has obtained from a public library. Their recollections are used not only for comedic effect but also to demonstrate how the geopolitical situation has altered. However, they also demonstrate how nostalgia has obscured the horrors of war when it comes to nostalgia. Jim’s hopeful perspective and his unwavering conviction that the government knows what is best and has the issue under full control are recurring themes throughout the story. Hilda’s efforts to continue living her life as if nothing has happened are also essential to the story’s progression.

During the course of their preparations, the action is interrupted by two-page dark illustrations. The first illustration depicts a nuclear missile on a launch pad with the label “MEANWHILE, ON A DISTANT PLAIN…”, the second depicts a squadron of Warthogs with the label “MEANWHILE, IN THE DISTANT SKY…”, and the third depicts a nuclear submarine with the label “MEANWHILE, IN A DISTANT OCEAN…”

As soon as they hear that enemy missiles are flying for England, the Bloggs are able to make it inside their shelter just in time to avoid a nuclear explosion. They remain inside the fallout shelter for the entirety of the first day; but, on the second day, they begin to have aches and pains throughout their bodies and continue to feel exhausted, which is a sign that they have already begun to be exposed to radiation. They begin to move around the house, putting themselves in danger of being exposed to additional radioactive material.

Without being deterred, they make an effort to carry on with their lives as if it were the Second World War all over again. Upon arrival, they discover that the house is in a state of disarray, with both the water and the electricity being switched off. They come to the conclusion that they are only need to remain in the fallout shelter for a period of two days, rather than two weeks, on the third day, due to the fact that they misinterpreted the guidance that was provided in the government pamphlets.

When they go outside, they discover that their garden and most likely the entire area has been reduced to a wasteland. There are dead trees and grass in their garden, and there are no sounds such as the trains that would normally be running. Hilda also believes that the bomb has caused an improvement in the weather, as the day is bright, hot, and nearly cloudless. This is in contrast to the nuclear winter that was depicted in the film. They become aware of the aroma of meat being cooked while they are out, but they are ignorant that the odor originates from the burning bodies of their neighbors.

This results in gentle comedy as well as darker undertones, such as Jim and Hilda’s obliviousness to the idea that they are possibly the last people left of their acquaintance. Also, Jim and Hilda exhibit a significant amount of perplexity regarding the serious gravity of what has occurred when the nuclear assault occurs. To give one example, people remind themselves on multiple occasions that they need to go out and get supplies.

]They are forced to resort to collecting rainwater as the story unfolds and their emergency water supply runs out from the beginning. Even if they are wise to boil it, it is still tainted with radiation, and as a result, their condition is becoming increasingly more bleak as they begin to experience more of the effects of radiation sickness. As soon as the bomb goes off, individuals begin to experience symptoms such as shaking and headaches. And then, beginning on the second day,

Hilda begins to experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hilda’s gums start to bleed on the fourth day, and she discovers blood in her diarrhea, which the medical staff misidentifies as haemorrhoids even though it shouldn’t be there. On the sixth day, Jim also exhibits bleeding gums; both of them are experiencing blue bruising, but they mistake these for varicose veins during the examination. When it comes down to it, Hilda’s hair starts to fall out. From that point forward, she is adamant that they return to the fallout shelter and wait for assistance to arrive, even though it never arrives.

In the final scene of the novel, which takes place on a gloomy evening, Hilda demands that Jim, who has currently lost all of his optimism, should pray. Jim begins to speak passages from Psalm 23, which Hilda finds to be quite pleasing. He then moves to The Charge of the Light Brigade, whose militaristic and ironic connotations distress the dying Hilda, who weakly urges him not to continue. However, he forgets the lines and switches to The Charge of the Light Brigade at that moment. The final line, “…rode the Six Hundred…”, is completed by James, whose voice mumbles away into oblivion as he concludes the sentence.

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