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Above The Dreamless Dead (US, 2014)

above the dreamless dead ©Respective Authors
Series: Anthologies & Collective Works

Publisher: First Second

Published: August 2014 (first edition)

ISBN/print: 978-1-62672-065-7

Size/binding: hardcover with dust jacket (22 x 15.5 cm)

Cover: George Pratt (jacket)/Isabel Greenberg (inner)

Title: Dead Man's Dump

Editor: Chris Duffy

Artist: David Hitchcock

Above is the outer dust jacket illustration, below is the inner cover illustration:


As the credit pages are very dense, exceptionally here is the detailed table of contents as displayed in the book (click on the pictures to obtain an oversized view):


This is the first collaboration between Pat Mills and David Hitchcock that sees print. They have adapted in 10 pages Dead Man's Dump poem written by Isaac Rosenberg. I usually stick to being factual in this blog, but I find David Hitchcock shades of grey art really gorgeous.

This book is one of the commemorative collective work including Pat Mills participation in the year of the centennial of the Great War.

David Hitchcock has kindly authorized me to post the original art of his pages here (click on the pictures to obtain an oversized view):

page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10

Here are David Hitchcock comments for each page:
  • page 1 - Dead Man's Dump is a WW1 trench poem, adapted by Pat Mills and I. Pat wanted to mirror the scenes in this first page, introducing the reader to the futility of the battlefield and General Haig's luxurious chaufeur-driven, approach to his safe, out of harm's way, base of operations. I recently unearthed all ten pages for this story.
  • page 2 - Left panel - as the cart wends its way through the dead to lay the barbed wire... Right panel - Haig approaches the comfort of his chateau.
  • page 3 - the top panel was copied from an actual aerial photo of the war torn battlefield. Second panel - Haig enters his opulent dining room about to be served a feast.
  • page 4 - as Haig tucks into his steak he is joined by the spirit of the dead from Page 2. Pat was very specific about the injuries, so that the reader could connect these guys to those killed on page 2. Haig is oblivious to the suffering.
  • page 5 - no comment.
  • page 6 - the continued struggle on the battlefield and below Haig doing the paperwork, officially stamping out the existence of the fallen. All pages are for sale. This one has a paste up photocopy of the area map, which Pat asked that I use.
  • page 7 - the stretcher bearers attempt to help the dying, whilst Haig continues to stamp out lives, a photo of his wife on the desk. Haig returns to his sanctuary, showcasing his past conquests. Those on the battleground continue to fall in the relentless barrage.
  • page 8 - and the first look at the dead man's dump of the poem title. Here Haig's sleep is interrupted by a realisation of the mass genocide he has set in motion.
  • page 9 - beneath Haig's feet, in the dead man's dump lies a soldier fighting for his last breath, succumbing to fate, his expression reflected in the general's fitful sleep.
  • page 10 - did you notice the barb wire cart in the background of the previous panels? Here it is about to trample over the newly stacked corpses. The second panel is a likeness of Isaac Rosenberg, the soldier who wrote the poem in the trenches. They just manage to avoid the pit at the last minute as the soldier's spirit leaves his body. Final panel- a shell shocked Haig lies awake, before returning back to sleep, oblivious. This was an extremely effective way to give this poem a real message. Pat Mills is the godfather of comics. Nuff said.

David Hitchcock works can be bought contacting the artist through his Facebook page.

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