Authors: Pierre Veys & Carlos Puerta
Age: 12 years and up
Size: 21.7 x 28.7 cm
Number of pages: 48 colour pages
Publication: July 2014
Price: £6.99 inc. VAT
In the skies of France during the Great War, a red-painted fighter is chasing a British SPAD. The relentless German pilot eventually wounds his opponent mortally, and lands near the downed Briton to watch him die, confessing his delight in war and victory. Ten years earlier, a young Manfred Von Richthofen is attending a military academy in Berlin when, during an incident with classmates, he comes to realise he has an unnatural gift…
This is fantastically drawn -more water colour painted(?)- book and Carlos Puerta is a name I'll look out for in future. Exquisite.
But the story I have a problem with. I've just looked through a couple of my history books and even carried out a quick online check. Veys creates a persona for Richthofen of a sociopath. Almost psychopathic -he follows down an allied pilot he has wounded and gets pleasure from watching the man die. He is also shown being violently psychopathic -even smashing his skull-head walking stick into a woman's face. WHERE...THE....HELL did Veys get this from? I just phoned a friend who studied von Richthofens early life and described what is in this book. He was dumb-founded.
Anyone who has done research on von Richthofen knows that he was "typical officer class" -a hunter, horse-rider, a bit arrogant and if you leave aside the propaganda book he was forced into writing while in hospital and which he distanced himself from later, he soon lost the brash arrogance of having shot down and killed a fellow human being.
So, the art I love but I in no way like this fictionalisation of someone to make them what they evidently were not. The Austro-Hungarian Empire the German Empire and Turkey were the "bad guys" of World War One (let's get accurate and stop saying the all-encompassing and inaccurate "Germany" all the time) but there were as many horrors committed by the Allies as them and if you are going to start fictionalising things then make that clear rather than present it as a fact.
Art great but first ever (!) bad review of a Cinebook title for story.