It’s not often remembered now that Spain was a dictatorship easily the equal of Mussolini’s Italy well into the 1970s, tolerated by the United States in the name of anticommunism. In the aftermath of their brutal civil war and WWII, during which Spain was officially neutral but did little to disguise its Axis sympathies, many families were broken up. Often, this was the result of one or both parents being interned for political reasons. Carlos Giménez’ Paracuellos (IDW, available in April 2016), translated into English by Sonya Jones, is a very revealing first-hand account of growing up in one of the Auxilio Social homes that existed to take care of children who were left orphaned by this or whose parents were otherwise unable to take care of them - a dimension of history all too often neglected by academic accounts.
Starting with the defeat of the United States by the Axis Powers and the liberation of interned Japanese-Americans (whose captivity in the book’s timeline is much more brutal than in our own) by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1948, Peter Tieryas’ United States Of Japan (Angry Robot, 2016) is an exciting story and an excellent look at a world that might have been.
I’ve long been interested in alternate history and things of that ilk, so when I first heard the premise of Victor Gischler and Tazio Bettin’s The Order of the Forge published by Dark Horse Comics, I was intrigued. And, upon reading the trade paperback comprised of the first three issues, I was riveted from the beginning.
2015, of course, is the 65th anniversary of the original publication of Charles Schulz’ iconic comic strip, Peanuts. While it’s easy to take the strip for granted given how long it’s been a fixture on the comics page, it’s by any reasonable standard a cultural phenomenon of immense influence on the world of comics, as well as so much else in popular culture. The stunning, multi-artist Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz, published by KaBOOM! manages to do it well-deserved justice. It’s an awe-inspiring read, conveying very deftly how such a seemingly simple, but nonetheless deeply insightful, strip about the interactions of a group of small children could not only keep going for decades but inspire creativity in artists even after its author’s death.