The Comic Book War by Jacqueline Guest
Back in the 1940s, it was hard to get a hold of the best comic books in Canada. During World War II, the War Exchange Conservation Act prevented those books from entering the country. As a result, a Canadian comic book industry sprung up. Without the mainstream competition from the states, it was successful and the golden age of Canadian Comics was born. Once the war was over, it was hard for Canadian books to keep up with the popularity of Superman and the other comic books that had been unavailable for years. As such, in 1946, the golden era was over.
When I first picked up this book, I had no idea what it was. The title intrigued me though so I had to check it out. It turns out that it was a work of historical fiction for young adult readers. It’s a great story though even if it does start out with a dreaded cliche: a young boy sees a meteorite hit the earth near his home, finds it and takes it home, then magical things start to happen.
The magic is that the comic books he buys from the local store seem to be featuring his brothers who are off fighting the war. He is convinced that his favourite heroes on the page are protecting his family overseas. He needs to buy those comics as soon as they come in, so he takes up a job delivering telegrams. Many of those telegrams are delivering bad news to families about soldiers who will never make it home.
Overall, this was a good read that I think students will enjoy. It can tie into a unit on history and visual arts too. There is a great study guide available via the author’s website if you would like to use this piece of historical fiction in your classroom.
Download the study guide – PDF
Visit the author’s website – JacquelineGuest.com
Teaching Tips – chasemarch.com/teaching-tips/