International Aces is a four volume graphical novel series which depicts the true stories of World War 1’s top fighter pilots. Independently created by artist Chris Geary, International Aces was released this year to commemorate 100 years since the First World War. Split into 14 short stories, each chapter tells the tale of a specific fighter pilot who has come to achieve the title “Ace”.
I have never read a war comic before I came to International Aces. Nor have I exposed myself to extensive amounts of literature based on true events, for I have always doubted its immersive value. However, International Aces is proof of my ignorance. I have come to realise through reading International Aces that “point of view” is a most prominent element within story telling. As a reader who is accustomed to analysing the connotations of imagery and character progression within fiction, it is highly refreshing that the entertainment does not come from simply the imagination, but additionally by the information given through narrative. Historically accountable, International Aces is full of pieces from World War 1 that have been cleverly spliced into the scripting, which already flows on top of heavily researched factual detail unravelling the careers of the Aces. From Edward “Mick” Mannock’s rules for fighter pilots, to Rene Paul Fonck’s quotable confidence, they all make an appearance to compliment this semi-fictional piece to provide a truly interesting commentary.
The educational scripting has a great synergy with the art style. A simply thought out black and white continuum, with the drawings reminiscent of golden and silver age comic work. The imagery is as accessible as it is beautifully refined. Capturing the honour and sought out glory, as well as the ever-present trauma that comes with being a fighter pilot. As a commemorative piece of art, I’m assuming Chris Geary did not want International Aces to limit itself just to the comic book community. International Aces holds insight that would intrigue novelists, history enthusiasts and aspiring learners alike. I found myself researching into the featured Aces long after I had finished the graphic novel.
The war comic was promoted at several air shows over the summer. Some of the profits made are being put toward to the RAF Benevolent Fund, who has also been promoting the project on their own site. The heart and hard work of Geary and the publishers at Inkshot deserves to be recognised. Geary has recently been nominated at the UK Agile awards for his contribution to Commitment, another graphic novel. It is clear that the quality of production throughout these graphic novels remains pristine, and International Aces is no exception. A combination of careful research and prudent writing has aided the characterization in bringing these iconic figures of World War 1 back to life respectively. With the 100 year anniversary of World War 1’s breakout approaching, International Aces will make for a fine dedicatory piece. War has not been used as a gimmick in this four part series, but rather for education and insight, served in a most innovative fashion.
Find out more about International Aces and get a copy of your own at Inkshot.com.