Attentat 1942 is a narrative role playing game that tells the story of the Nazi occupation during World War II through a multi-media mix of interactive comics, historical footage, and documentary-style interviews with survivors.
Where do you hide illegal leaflets once you learn the Gestapo is coming? Do you cooperate to save your own life? Or do you resist to protect your family and neighbors? Players contend with difficult and nuanced decisions forced upon average citizens facing extraordinary circumstances.
The game was developed at Charles University and the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. The survivor interviews were resesarched by historians, and revenues from the purchase of the game go towards additional historical research.
Attentat 1942 was a hit in the Czech Republic, earning many awards when it was released there in 2015. Now, the game is opening up to a wider audience and is scheduled for release to English-speaking audiences in September.
At long last, the Wonder Woman movie is arriving in theaters this weekend. The bracelet-wearing, truth lasso-wielding crusader has appeared in comics for 75 years and has been a symbol of empowerment for women since her inception.
Thankfully, comic creators have also teamed up to create comic books based on real women who have accomplished great feats of their own. They, too, can inspire and empower girls and women to deploy their strengths and talents to make their mark on this world. Here are 22 real-life women who have been depicted through the medium of comics:
The Nobel Prize winner is the focus of two graphic biographies about her amazing life and research. Lauren Redniss consulted with scientists, atomic bomb survivors, and Curie’s granddaughter for her book Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, which not only chronicles Curie’s work in science but the impact of her discoveries several decades later. Meanwhile,the Graphic History series, dedicated to publishing educational comics for kids, released Marie Curie and Radioactivity in 2007, and was created by Connie Colwell Miller, Scott Larson, and Mark Heike.
Frederika “Friedl” Dicker-Brandeis
Before World War II, Dicker-Brandheis was an artist who had studied at Bauhaus. When she was sent to the Terezin concentration camp in 1942, she secretly organized art and other educational classes for the children imprisoned there. Unfortunately, she was eventually sent to Auschwitz where she was killed by the Nazis.
Susan Goldman Rubin depicts the life of this incredible woman in her graphic biography Fireflies In The Dark: The Story Of Friedl Dicker Brandeis And The Children Of Terezin. Included in the book are photographs and reproductions of Dicker-Brandeis’ work and that of her students, during their time at Terezin.
The subject of our episode 5 of our podcast, Ada Lovelace was a mathematician that wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s computer designs. What’s even more amazing is that Babbage’s computers were never built. Sydney Babua assembled a gallery of both real and imagined adventures between the two geniuses in her book The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.
Zora Neale Hurston
One of eight kids in an African-American family from Alabama, Hurston studied at Howard University and Barnard College (where she was the only black student) before becoming a famed novelist and folklorist most known for Their Eyes Were Watching God. Peter Bagge employs bright colors and a distinct cartoon style to portray one of the greatest writers of the Harlem Renaissance in Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story.
Bagge also employs his cartoon style with his treatment of Sanger’s life in Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916. She also founded the American Birth Control League that eventually became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Bagge follows her several decades until her death after the invention of the birth control pill.
When Blackwell applied to Geneva Medical College, the dean and faculty were not sure if they should admit her. They put it to a vote with the 150 male medical students, requiring that the vote had to be unanimous. They voted in the affirmative, though some accounts suggest the men thought it a joke. Trina Robbins, Cynthia Martin, and Anne Timmons’ Elizabeth Blackwell: America’s First Woman Doctor was created to teach elementary students about this important milestone in equality and education for women.
Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón’s Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography provides a lot of context for a well-known life story. They start with the childhood of Frank’s parents Otto and Edith and trace the family’s story through the rise of the Nazi party, World War II and the tragedy of the Holocaust.
Jane Gooddall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
Jim Ottoviani and Mary Wicks tell the tale of three women who dedicated their lives to the study of gorillas and chimpanzees in Africa in Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. Spoiler alert: This is the book we’re reading for the next episode of our podcast.
Emmy Noether, Lise Meitner, Rosalind Franklin, Barbara McClintock, and Hedy Lamarr
Once again, Jim Ottoviani takes us along for a look into the lives of influential women from various walks of life in Dignifying Science: Stories About Women Scientists. In addition to the listed women above, Ottoviani takes another look at Biruté Galdikas, and we also get his take on Marie Curie’s life.Several women artists contribute the illustrations to this book.
Zelda was a multitalented artist engaging in dance, painting, and writing. She hung out with Hemingway, Stein, and Parker and traveled throughout Europe and Africa. Her tumultuous marriage and struggle with mental illness are well-documented, but Tiziana Lo Porto and Daniele Marotta’s Superzelda: The Graphic Life of Zelda Fitzgerald by Tiziana tells the whole story of this gifted woman’s life.
Known as “The Motorcycle Queen of Miami,” Stringfield was the first Jamaican-American woman to ride a motorcycle across the continental United States solo. She also served as a motorcycle dispatch during World War II. Joel Christian Gill gives her amazing story the graphic novel treatment in Bessie Stringfield: Tales of the Talented Tenth, No. 2, the second installment in his black history series.
Doris Eaton Travis
Travis joined the famed Ziegfield Follies at the age of 14, dropping out of school after the 8th grade. After performing on Broadway for almost two decades, she retired and became a dance instructor. Later in life, she moved to Oklahoma and became a rancher. She also returned to her education, graduating from the University of Oklahoma at the age of 88!
Travis would live for another four years after the publication of Lauren Redniss’s Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies.
Duncan was a dancer who advocated a more natural flow of versus rigid techniques, which would eventually usher in the era of modern dance. She opened dance schools for girls to teach them her philosophy of dance. Six of her students became known as the Isadorables. Sabrina Jones’ Isadora Duncan: A Graphic Biography explores Duncan’s life, which included many scandals and a tragic death on the French Riviera.
Renee escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna, eventually ending up in New York City. She found work as an illustrator for Fiction House, who was in need of replacements for their male artists who were drafted into military service during World War II. Trina Robbins outlines her life’s arc in Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer.
Pénélope Bageiu examines Elliot through the point of view of the singer’s family, friends, and collaborators in her book California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & the Papas. The result is a tender look at the joys and struggles of a music star whose life was cut far too short.
Readers follow a reporter who is researching an article on the legendary singer to mark the 30th anniversary of her death. Holliday’s well-documented struggles are placed in context of childhood poverty, abuse, and racism in Carlos Sampayo and Jose Muñoz’s Billie Holliday.