Sunday, 5 August 2012

Cringeworthy Comicbook Moments: Hansi

A lot of you know the cover,

But how many of you may have read the comic... might be significantly smaller. I'm going to hold up on my notes until the end of the comic, but I'm going to give a little intro here first. Back in the 1970s the comicbook company Spire released several comics intended to spread evangelical Christianity to the young people of the time. These ranged from comics about innercity preachers teachin' folk to stop stabbing people, and takin' crack...

To cases of what could basically count as AntiSoviet propaganda, more on that later.

What most of you might not know, and what I learnt only recently, is that the comics is actually based on the account of an actual woman's life. Of her growing up in Nazi Germany before moving to the US after the war and being reintroduced to Christianity via her foster mother. I haven't actually read the book, though I have a feeling the comic isn't THAT an accurate adaption, considering Hansi in the comic is a deadeyed blonde with plaits and the real one looked like this,

Let's get started, shall we?

Scans from here:

Okay, Notes
 - Interestingly, Hansi doesn't actually seem to release that Nazism is bad in the comic for reasons other than it being "anti-Christian". Which is itself somewhat misinforming as although they were attempts to indoctrinate Nazism into the state religion of Germany and Austria, AND numerous priests were killed for speaking out against them, the majority of most Nazis were nominally Catholic (for the love of God don't take this to mean all Catholics are Nazis!).

- Is it me, or does Hansi come off as being kind of stupid in this? She seems very easily lead by whoever makes her life easier.

- Also, Hansi being the ONLY woman who isn't raped by Soviet soldiers (a very real thing that happened as revenge for the things the Nazis did on in their Eastern Front) kind of seems a bit... I don't know. Obviously I don't think that she should have been, but it seems something in the same line as her not loosing tons of weight and her hair remaining perfect through the whole ordeal. Some kind of skeevy "the protagonist most be pure!" thing going on...

- Although Allied soldiers didn't go to the extremes of their Soviet comrades when it cames to occupied Axis territory, and it's perfectly safe assumption that the guys she met were perfectly nice, "taking advantage" wasn't something purely used by the Russians did. For example, what happened in American of Japan for example.

- More a comment on the art this one, but does anyone else find Hansi's deadeyed staring and expressions kind of creepy? Also, she doesn't seem to age. Seriously, she looks the same in the late Thirties as she does when she arrives in the US in the... 70s? 60s? It's hard to tell.

- Re: Hansi's emmigration to the US must have been a pain if the "were you ever a member of the Nazi Party" thing was already standard in the visa forms was standard by that point. - Again, being a Nazi and being a Christian aren't mutually exclusive, despite what the comic seems to be saying.

- The punctuation seems to be added more by the handfull than I'd expected. Remember what Terry Pratchett said about people who used multiple exclaimation points?

- Remember Folks, America is good because it's a Christian nation, while the Soviets will steal or wreck your stuff, rape your women and put you in a labour camp! Man, it's a good thing America didn't get up to anything bad during the Cold War, otherwise I'd suspect that this is unevenly weighted propaganda!

 Seriously, I'm a guy who likes America for the most part, and it's baffling to me that the message in this comic is less about who Christianity gives people hope etc. but more that you don't feel like a complete person unless you're both Christian AND American, while at the same time lecturing people on their consumerism either for the purposes of saying less "consume less" and more "You don't know how good you've got it!". Agh!

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