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This is a major turning point in the history of comics, World War II. This period of time not only changed comics as we knew them, but also other areas in graphics such as propaganda posters. Now mid to late 1930's we've seen the birth of the modern comic book. Due to the war as well we're also now seeing the birth of war comics. An obvious example of this as I'm sure many of you have already guessed is Captain America Comics in 1941 (before American involvement in the war).  Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby who worked for Timely Comics, which of course has now become Marvel Comics. He gained amazing popularity and is often fighting the Axis powers in World War II. 


Around this time in Japan has been rebuilding itself, its political  and economic infrastructure was changing. Whilst American occupation disallowed art or published material that glorified war or the Japanese military. This policy though didn't block the publication of manga and so this form of design really took over by storm over there. Print had become much cheaper in both America and Japan now so printed forms of entertainment were very popular. This is where we see the birth of a character you may be familiar with, Osamu Tezuka's Mighty Atom, or what you might now call Astro Boy.  


Now here's something interesting, what the American comic was doing was 'patriotic justice', mysterious superpowers, often cosmic origins. But Astro Boy was really something else, sure his powers were scientific being an android boy. But instead of fighting for justice, he fought for peace, and that is a key difference with Tezuka's work. Astro Boy was always very innocent in nature, and he battled evil and hoped to turn them to good. Tezuka has influenced the world of modern manga forever. 

Astro Boy was largely about prejudice and racism, whether humans could ever coexist with another kind of sentient life [such as self-aware robots] and also the question of whether people would ever stop using technology toward evil ends like war and crime.


Osamu Tezuka 


Back in America, Charlton Comics, and the original Marvel and DC studios were still producing comics based on the US military, the Vietnam War of course boosted their popularity. So we were seeing both traditional war comics and superhero comics. Around 1945 towards the end of World War 2, this is what we've seen more characters we all know now in modern American Comics, and this is what has been happening:
  • Captain America stopping a bomb loaded plane, but crashing into the Arctic (later found by the Avengers)
  • Human Torch killing Hitler in self defense
  • Magneto incarcerated by Auschwitz concentration camp.
  • Wolverine as a commando for the Canadian Army.
  • Superman punching Hitler.



Over in Japan things were a bit more subtle but propaganda nonetheless! Sure there were depictions of war in some manga, but it largely focused on just boosting troop morale and encouraging valor. Also trying to undermine the morale of enemy troops: 


Manga was such a huge influence in the war that artists such as Ryuichi Yokoyama (creator of Fuku-chan) was sent into war zones to create manga for their troops. Ironically the Americans also used Manga to help them in the war. Taro Yashima was an artist who left Japan and settled in America. His comic at the time told the story of a peasant soldier who died in the service of corrupted leaders, and this comic was often found on the corpses of Japanese soldiers on the battlefield. The power of manga and comics to affect human abilities is incredible indeed. 

I realized that comics was the medium I could work in, because it had no limitations and it encompassed aspects of every other medium.

David Mack


Sources: superherohalloffame.com - Superhero hall of fame and museum, scifiblock.com -A beginners guide to Astro Boy, www.comicvine.com - World War II, www.tenkai-japan.com - Suiho Tagawa Norakuro Manga Museum, www.quotesoncomics.com
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:iconbudzillakingofbeer:
Budzillakingofbeer Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2013   Traditional Artist
Belt him one for me, Superman!!:dance:
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:iconazabachesilver:
AzabacheSilver Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice Article!
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:iconhavkatt:
Havkatt Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hey, thanks for writing, I really liked it.
I wasn't even aware that the influence of war were this clear.
But I was wondering, since most of this seems to be based on WW2,
wouldn't WW1 have triggered something in comics? Based on wikipedia most american
comics didn't become very popular until later. Could it've been that WW1 was what
gave the artists an idea and concept in the first place?
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:omfg:

Cool article--I didn't know the Japanese side at all.
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:iconcharlene-art:
Charlene-Art Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That was a really interesting read - I never thought of comics and manga this way
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:icongeek96boolean10:
geek96boolean10 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great read. Astro boy, however, not only fought for peace. A good part of the stories are about him trying to live a somewhat normal life, except with some superhuman characteristics. Tezukas work also portrays the future in a way that you van still recognize, such as cars with wheels, buttons and lights in computers, as well as good-ol-fashioned clothes.
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:iconichigomintbunny:
IchigoMintBunny Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This was pretty cool ^^
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:iconatlas0:
Atlas0 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Neat article!
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:iconotaku-geek7:
Otaku-geek7 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Very informative. :) Thank you for writing it.
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:iconaceykunn:
Aceykunn Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student General Artist
MANGA FOREVER! <3 this is amazing~
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:iconbeavisjr:
Beavisjr Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012
Funny how America actually provoked Japan to war yet they blame it on other things. And then comics come along cause of the war....hm....In my opinion how they have "THESE KIDS DO BAD THINGS CAUSE OF MOVIES AND VIDEO GAMES" even though its the parents; Next its going to be all about books and comics sabotaging "THEIR WEAK MINDS CANNOT HANDLE THE POETRY BOOK FALLING UP."
Then again Books will be extinct in about a year if not less with all this technology and when the world comes to the end and no more internet what are you going to do now? Get a book one may suggest but I'd think those are gone now. Here in my city and ones around it has their libraries closing left and right.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Actually...no, I won't be baited. :B
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:iconnichrysalis:
Nichrysalis Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Wat is this I dont even never seen so much trollbait in one run-on sentence. :iconfreeinternetplz:
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:lmao:
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:iconbeavisjr:
Beavisjr Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012
I: ty for internet.
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:icontheubbergeek2:
theubbergeek2 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012
I will always remember how Tetsuo Hara in Souten no Ken,s first volume shown clearly and without hiding things that the Second sino-japanese conflict was bad, that Pu Yi was a puppet and all...

Contrarly to popular clichés, japaneses are not blind to their past.,..
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:iconsevenofeleven:
sevenofeleven Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012
Thanks for the interesting article.
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
You're welcome, thanks for reading! :D
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:iconsappokei:
Sappokei Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student Digital Artist
As said by many, it was an interesting read, except I feel like it could've been concluded better, perhaps with your own thoughts/opinions?
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Ah right, perhaps my conclusion could have been more delicate, I wasn't sure how to end it in all honesty. I try not to put my own opinions into it purely because I wanted to talk about the history. :lol:

But I'll definitely keep that in mind!
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:iconsappokei:
Sappokei Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Ah yeah I had a feeling you were trying to avoid it, but I wasn't sure. Nice use of a quote to conclude though
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:iconfunxnxsilly:
Funxnxsilly Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Great read. It's something actually important!
Thank you I'm going to look into this.
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I agree, it's a serious time of change for not just comics and manga, but graphics as we know it today. :)

You're welcome! I may be covering more around this period of time in future articles. ;)
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:iconfunxnxsilly:
Funxnxsilly Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Exactly!

Well if you do tell me !
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Just keep your eyes on this space, there's a lot of good articles coming up this month! ;)
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:iconvexnir:
vexnir Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
A really good, interesting read! Thank you for sharing it, I feel like I learned something new.
Especially seeing that I am interested in both WWII and comics.
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
It was my pleasure! It was an amazing time for comics, it really helped to define the direction of modern comics as we know it!

We got plenty more comics and manga articles this month, watch this space!
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:iconuchuubranko:
uchuubranko Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student General Artist
A truly interesting read! Thank you so much! :la: :heart:
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I'm glad you enjoyed reading it! It was my pleasure, you're welcome! :D
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:icongreenerylv01:
greeneryLV01 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student General Artist
Interesting read. Makes me feel like I should go find more information about the subject.
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
It's a great period of time for graphics, the war changed a lot of design as we knew it.

I wish I could go into more detail but it's difficult summing up decades of history. ;)
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:iconenbi-to-miruku:
Enbi-to-Miruku Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Student General Artist
This is really well written. It was a good read. Thank you for putting your efforts into writing something so meaningful~ :heart:
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Aw thanks I'm glad you enjoyed reading it! :D

I'll have more articles up this month!
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:iconsraffa:
SRaffa Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional General Artist
So far, one of the best series of articles I've ever seen on dA!
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2012  Professional Filmographer
D'awwww thank you!! :iconmeowlaplz:
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:icon20tourniquet02:
20Tourniquet02 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing!
That was an article worth reading!:la:
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:iconkingmancheng:
kingmancheng Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it! :D
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:icon20tourniquet02:
20Tourniquet02 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome!:hug:
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