Comic Review: We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust (IDW)

IDW reprints accounts of the Holocaust of the Second World War, as they were originally presented through the comic book medium, in the new hardcover collection We Spoke Out: Comic […]

IDW reprints accounts of the Holocaust of the Second World War, as they were originally presented through the comic book medium, in the new hardcover collection We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust.

We Spoke Out is a reminder of the important role that comic books played in educating the general public about the horrors of the Holocaust, especially during the 50’s.

During the 1950’s in the US, efforts were being made to improve post war relations with Germany. It was later discovered that Nazi war criminals were living quiet lives in America, under full knowledge of high government officials. In addition, little was being taught in US schools about the death of millions of European Jews in Polish and German concentration camps at the hands of Hitler’s Nazis.

The stories contained in We Spoke Out were originally published in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. There are stories from EC Comics, Marvel, DC, and other publishers. Collectively, they ring with an impressive voice of truth.

Included is the classic short story “Master Race”, from EC’s 1955 comic Impact #1. Written by Al Feldstein, and illustrated by Bernie Kriegstein, it deals with a survivor of the Holocaust who encounters a Nazi war criminal in the New York subway.

There are approximately 17 other comic stories in We Spoke, ranging from war stories to Batman and Captain America stories. All are related to the atrocities of the Holocaust, the death camps, or war criminals at large. With one exception: the final factual story, recently illustrated by Neal Adams, deals with an artist’s struggle to regain control of drawings she did while in a Nazi concentration camp.

The book has a foreword by Stan Lee, and words by Neal Adams, Rafael Medoff, and Craig Yeo. In addition, each comic story is introduced with ‘behind-the-scenes’ anecdotes of how the story was produced, making the reading of this volume educational at another level.

The visuals are simply scans of the original printed comic pages. In any other context, this simple reproduction would not be acceptable to today’s audience. However, the ‘unvarnished’ treatment of the original comic pages seems appropriate in We Spoke Out: as in: this is how it really was!

IDW, We Spoke Out: Comic Books and the Holocaust, $49.99 for 288 pages of content. Not rated.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!