Compiled by comics artist/writer Neal Adams, Holocaust scholar Rafael Medoff and comics historian Craig Yoe, We Spoke Out: Comic Books And The Holocaust is a collection of comic book stories from over the past sixty-five years that taught young readers about the real-life horrors of the Nazi genocide. Dr. Medoff’s introduction, The Holocaust in Comic Books, points out that long before high schools began including Holocaust studies in their curricula, the most exposure American pre-teens and teens got about this chapter in history was through comics. And not just war comics either.
Included in this volume are the following:
- “Master Race” (Impact #1, March-April 1955): A Holocaust survivor’s sudden recognition of a figure from the past on the subway provokes terrible memories. But terrible for whom? Writer: Al Feldstein. Artist Bernie Krigstein
- “Desert Fox” (Frontline Combat #3, November-December 1951): Writer/editor’s Harvey Kurtzman’s debunking of the heroic, noble image that people had, post-WWII, of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Rommel’s complicity in Nazi atrocities is especially emphasized. Artists: Harvey Kurtzman (pencil breakdowns), Wally Wood (finished pencils & inks).
- “Experiment in Fear” (Eerie #9, May 1967): A Nazi doctor gets his comeuppance after performing horrible experiments on prisoners. Writer: Archie Goodwin. Artist Gene Colan.
- “The Mad Master of The Murder Maze!” (Captain Marvel #19, December 1969): CM’s alter ego Rick Jones moves into an apartment complex where the occupants are electronically watched & treated like lab animals. Only Rick’s neighbor, a Holocaust survivor, realizes the truth. Writer: Roy Thomas. Artists: Gil Kane (pencils), Dan Adkins (inks).
- “Night of the Reaper” (Batman #237, December 1971): During Halloween, while tracking Nazi war criminals in Rutland, Vermont searching for one of their former compatriots, a prison camp commandant, Batman discovers somebody else is stalking -and murdering- the Nazis one by one. Writer: Denny O’Neil. Artists: Neal Adams & Dick Giordano.
- “Walls of Blood” (Blitzkrieg #2, March-April 1976): The bloody & brutal destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, as seen through the callous eyes of Nazi soldiers. Writer: Robert Kanigher. Artist: Ric Estrada.
In addition to these and other stories focusing on the Holocaust, there’s also “The Last Outrage”, a six-page story from 2008 by Medoff & Adams (with Joe Kubert) about the sadly futile efforts of artist and Holocaust survivor Dina Babbitt to reclaim her paintings from the Auschwitz Museum.
We Spoke Out is a powerful and educational work that’s not for the faint of heart. Anyone who thinks the Holocaust can’t happen again may want to first read these stories. As long as history stays remembered, it stands little chance of being repeated.