Conflict then; trauma now: Reading Vietnam across the decades in American comics
European Journal of American Culture
This paper will consider the shift in representations of the Vietnam War in American comics, concentrating specifically on the shift from gung-ho violence and patriotism to nuanced personal narratives of trauma and the psychological impact of conflict. I will compare and contrast three comics series: The 'Nam, a Marvel series that ran from 1986 to 1993; The Punisher Invades 'The 'Nam, a cross-over series that comprises two arcs over five issues in 1990 and 1992; and Garth Ennis & Darick
... is & Darick Robertson's Punisher: Born (2003), an origin story that positions trauma as a survival tool within theatre. Vietnam as a conflict event and a cultural touchstone has affected the way we view violence in the 21st century.I discuss how comics has measured and represented the shift in positioning of violence and conflict from earlier wars through Vietnam to the present day. I close by asking to what extent our tools and tropes for representation of violence have changed and ask if there remain some last strands of continuity from pre-Vietnam violence texts.