Discovery of WW1 graphic novel might re-write history books

A German cartoonist’s account of life in an Australian WWI internment camp is being claimed as the world’s first-known autobiographical graphic novel.

Traditionally, it’s believed that ‘graphic novels’ are a relatively recent phenomenon, with American cartoonist Will Eisner’s 1978 book A Contract with God, and Other Tenement Stories generally acclaimed as the first of the genre.

However, the previously unknown Voyage and Adventures of a Good Little German in Kangarooland, a five-part autobiographical graphic novel dating from 1916-1919 and recently donated to the University of Adelaide Library’s Special Collections, might just rewrite the history books.

Unlock Padlock Icon

Like this content?

Become a Member and unlock unlimited Access today

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts