Thursday, May 03, 2012

Gallipoli: The Landing

Making a timely appearance on newsagents' shelves prior to this year's ANZAC Day memorial services (25th April) was a new Australian comic book, Gallipoli: The Landing, written by Hugh Dolan and illustrated by Mal Gardiner. At just over 100 pages, this comic is an undeniably ambitious attempt to convey the scale and complexity of Britain's ill-fated seaborne assault on Turkish shores during World War I, wherein the bravery, tenacity and heroism of Australian and New Zealand troops gave rise to the 'ANZAC legend', and whose exploits were seen as a defining moment in the early history of the recently-federated Commonwealth of Australia.

The credentials of the comic's creative team are impressive; Hugh Dolan (author), a retired Australian military intelligence officer, previously wrote about the campaign in 36 Days: The Untold Story Behind the Gallipoli Landings, while Mal Gardiner (illustrator), is a twenty-year veteran of the Royal Australian Navy and a self-taught artist. The comic-strip segment of the magazine totals nearly 90 pages, and is supported by an extensive bibliography, along with extracts from historical documents (diaries, military reports, etc) which supplements information conveyed at key points of the visual narrative.

It is not my intent here to review the comic at length, due to constraints of time and space, but it is worth noting that this is not the first time the story of Gallipoli has been adapted to comic-book format; Macmillan Library (Australia) recently published The Anzacs and the Battle for Gallipoli (written by Melanie Guile and illustrated by Bruce Mutard) as part of their Stories from Australia's History series, while Australian Visual Education issued The Story of ANZAC (ca. 1958) as part of their ground-breaking series of educational comics intended for Australian schools and libraries. That this one battle should receive such consistent attention from local comics publishers attests to the campaign's historical significance in Australian public life.


MalGee said...

Curious to know how people have been viewing the book - good, bad or indifferent? First time published artist wants to know!


comicoz said...