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Raymond Briggs: When the Wind Blows

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Publication date5/07/2021
Host publicationHandbook of Comics and Graphic Narratives
EditorsSebastian Domsch, Dan Hassler-Forest, Dirk Vanderbeke
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages16
ISBN (electronic)9783110446968
ISBN (print)9783110446616
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameHandbooks in English and American Studies
PublisherDe Gruyter


In 1982, Raymond Briggs released his first graphic novel, When the Wind Blows, which tells the story of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, as they prepare for and attempt to survive a nuclear war, based on real governmental information: the Protect and Survive pamphlet, designed to be issued to householders across the UK in the event of a war. In doing so, Briggs uses the story to offer a damning critique of the trust placed in the government and the use of nuclear weapons, through representing the effects of such a disaster on an ordinary married couple. This chapter will firstly situate the graphic novel within its historical context, before analyzing the text to show how Briggs uses this medium to question the role of weapons, war, and the government, drawing the reader into the personal story of one couple and their attempts to implement the advice found in official government literature that they believe will help them survive a nuclear war, and using this to offer a critique of the attitudes of the population, the government, and of nuclear war itself, through the narrative, the visual imagery, and the peritextual information that surrounds the novel. © 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.